12 Tips to Make 2012 Your Breakthrough Year

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”  ~William Jennings Bryan

Every morning in 2011, before I left my room, I read this quote. It became my personal motto.

And today, when I look back on 2011, I can’t help but smile. A smile that’s part satisfaction, part gratitude, part “holy shit I can’t believe that happened“.

A happy mix of swagger, humbleness, and incredulousness.

***

2011 was my breakthrough year.

It wasn’t all rainbows & butterflies, and it wasn’t perfect.

I made mistakes, I was a jerk at times, and I did some stupid shit.

But overall, I really stepped up my game. I figured out my life’s purpose, and went after it big-time.

I earned my Master’s of Business Administration (MBA), started my Master’s of Optimal Living, built this blog, competed in an epic race, and made some life-changing discoveries.

I challenged myself to become more, to create more and to achieve more.

It was a hell of a year.

***

In retrospect, I can pinpoint a few strategies that have helped me tremendously along the way. Today I want to share these with you.

Apply them to your life, and I promise that 52 weeks from now you’ll be looking back on 2012 with a big smile on your face, and you’ll be geared up for a great future.

*Please note that this is my way, and there are certainly other ways. Pick & choose what feels right to you.*

***

Ready? Here we go!

***

1) Seek Superhealth

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~Buddha

Health is the foundation of everything else.

But merely being healthy isn’t enough. We want more…We need more!

In the Oxford dictionary, “health” is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury.

That’s why you need to seek “Superhealth”, the state of being full of energy & mojo, feeling our best and looking our best. (my definition)

How do you do that?

1) Eat really well (don’t worry, it’s actually fun & tasty)

2) Exercise everyday (if even for 15 minutes)

3) Reduce your alcohol consumption (no need to go sober-cobra, but let’s cut back the crazy hangovers)

The result? You’ll feel better, more inspired, more confident, and you’ll put yourself in a position to make great things happen.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing a lot about healthy eating, nutrition, and fitness to help you achieve Superhealth. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to know more about, please let me know. 

2) Supercharge Your Morning

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~Marcus Aurelius

At some point this year, I started meditating first thing in the morning. Then I added a bit of yoga. And soon, I realized that by the time I walked into the kitchen, I was feeling so good I didn’t need coffee anymore. That was a breakthrough in itself.

Then I listened to Tony Robbins’ “Get The Edge” program, and he was adamant that first part of our day is the most important. It sets us up for either a day of endless energy, or a day of sluggishness.

I now do what I call my Hour of Power every morning, which consists of 15 minutes of meditation, a 10 minute “gratitude” run, 15 minutes of yoga, a cold shower, the best breakfast in the world, and a cup of matcha green tea. By the time I sit down at my computer, I feel like 3 million bucks.

What’s your morning like? Do you rush through it, or do you use it as a springboard towards an amazing day?

Make the first 15, 30, or 60 minutes of your day a sacred part of the day, and you’ll open up to a whole new world of possibilities.

3) Write Your Ideas Down

“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” ~Francis Bacon, Sr.

Every year, countless good ideas go wasted. We have a flash of brilliance, but before we know it, it’s gone, and all we’re left with is excuses and “what if’s”. Bleh.

To prevent this tragedy from happening, you need to get in the habit of writing down your ideas.

Whenever something pops into your head, immediately grab your journal and write it down. Put as many details as possible.

And boom, just like that, your idea has landed into the physical world. It’s tangible now, and you’ve already taken a step in the right direction. Yay!

4) Take Action!!!

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think of it. Go out and get busy.” ~Dale Carnegie 

Writing down ideas is a starting point, but it’s really just that. From there, you need to TAKE ACTION.

This is soooooo critical. I can’t emphasize it enough.

Simply put, there are 2 types of people in this world.

Type 1: Those who have ideas, think about them, and do nothing. (Most people)

Type 2: Those who have ideas, get busy, and make them happen.

This year, I upgraded from Type 1 to Type 2. It has totally transformed my life.

Where do you stand right now? Be honest.

If you want to make 2012 your breakthrough year, you have to become a Type 2 person (if you aren’t already).

This year, once you have an idea, write it down, and *right away* take an action towards making it a reality.

Whether it’s calling or e-mailing someone, writing a draft proposal, etc, get the wheels in motion and before long you’ll be rolling towards a kick-ass year.

5) Take Productivity Seriously

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” ~Thomas Edison

If you want to break through in 2012, you will need to FOCUS.

This means, when you’re working on your projects, you’ve got to get in the zone. Treat work time as a sacred moment.

Put your cellphone on airplane mode. Don’t check your email. Don’t check Facebook.

We live in a world that makes it harder and harder to focus, but to make magic happen, it’s imperative to shield yourself against distractions.

***

Learning some productivity principles is also very helpful.

Read up on the 80/20 rule, and Parkinson’s Law, and apply them to your work.

Make a To-Do list everyday, and eat the ugly frog first. That means, tackle the most daunting, challenging task first.

***

Do all these things, and you’ll achieve the crown jewel of productivity: creating higher-quality work, and doing more of it in less time.

6) Put in the Work

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” ~Vince Lombardi 

I wish I could tell you that there’s a shortcut to success, but there isn’t. And if you’ve found one, please let me know!

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2011 studying super-successful people, and I’ve found one great commonality. They work damn hard.

Some of them are very talented, some, not so much, but every single one of them has put in the massive effort to get where they are now.

Personally, this makes me really happy because it shows that talent is overrated. Hard work gives each of us a chance to shine and make a dent in the universe.

As my homeboy Henry David Thoreau once said, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”

Here’s the secret though: hard work creates a positive feedback loop. You start working hard, and soon great things start happening in your life. You get better grades, your blog gets more hits, you get more sales, whatever.  And that feels real good.

So you want more, and you work even harder, and soon you’re on a roll.

7) Rest Up!

“Human beings are designed to pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy. That’s how we operate at our best.” ~Tony Schwartz

The other side of the “work hard” coin is that you have to rest hard. No one is superhuman (yet!). Our body & our brain just wasn’t designed to go for long periods of time working without rest.

In this video, Energy Management expert Tony Schwartz advises to work like a sprinter. Work as hard as you can for a short period (30-90 minutes) then rest up for a few minutes. And rest hard.  Go for a walk, meditate, do some stretching, do some deep breathing, whatever. Totally tune off.

Then come back, focus, and focus again. Then rest. And on & on. You’ll get a lot more done over the course of a day, and it will be higher-quality work too.

Never let yourself get run down. So often, I see students go for epic 12-hours-straight study sessions. They look exhausted, their eyes are all bloodshot, and I bet they don’t learn too much either.

***

Equally important is to SLEEP. According to Schwartz, 95% of people need 7-8 hours per night. Less than that, and it has a profound negative effect on our cognitive performance and our mood.

Whenever I hear young entrepreneurs brag that they’re working 18 hours a day, I can’t help but laugh. That’s just silly. It might work for a week or so, but it’s not sustainable. Sleep is key to long-term performance.

I’ve become an avid napper this year, and if it’s possible for you, I really recommend you try and make it a habit. It’s a great way to reenergize and get a second fresh start to the day.

***

Whatever you do, remember that rest is essential to producing our best work. And it’s fun too, so why miss out on that part of the success formula?

8) Learn, Learn, Learn and Apply!

The growth of the human mind is still high adventure, in many ways the highest adventure on earth.”  -Norma Cousins

At some point this year, I realized something that really lit a fire under my ass.

*Knowledge + Action = Power*

The moment you figure out what you want to excel at, start devouring books, audiotapes and videos (whatever medium works best for you) about it.

We’re so lucky, we have all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips, why not take advantage of it?

***

But learning is not enough. You’ve got to TRY NEW THINGS.

When you read something cool, whether on this blog, or elsewhere, don’t just sit and think “wow, that’s cool.”  Try it out. Make an experiment out of it. Spice up your life. 

As Tony Robbins says, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

There are a lot of knowledgeable people out there who don’t accomplish anything. Be a person who knows a ton, and who applies it to make big things happen.

9) Take 30-Day Challenges

One of the greatest discoveries I made this year is the power of 30-day challenges. They’re great for 2 reasons:

1) They’re the best way to form a new habit.

2) They spice up our life and make a month memorable.

I took 3 30-day challenges last year: the Cold-Shower Challenge, the Muscle-Gain Challenge, and the Speed Reading Challenge.

But this year, I’m stepping it up, and will be taking a different 30-day challenge every month. That’s right, 12 30-day Challenges. It’s going to be a big year.

As I’m writing this, I’m 4 days into my 30-day “Free-writing” Challenge (letting my mind flow and writing down my thoughts for at least 1 page every day). So far so good.

If you want inspiration to get you started, check out this list of 30 Challenges for 30 Days.

Seriously, if you’ve never tried a 30-day Challenge, do it. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and you’ll have a great story to tell.

10) Tame the Beast of Fear

“I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” ~Tim Ferriss

Aaahh good ol’ fear. The emotion that separates the best from the rest.

The way I see it, fear is like a wild horse. If we don’t control it, it throws us off and we falter. But if we can tame it, harness it, it becomes one of our greatest allies.

Whenever you’ll try something new, something that can be a step up into the life you dream of, you’ll feel fear. It’s normal. Everyone does.

It’s what you do next that will shape your future.

Don’t let fear control you this year. Tame that beast, make it your friend, and watch your life soar.

11) Do What You Truly Love 

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” ~Steve Jobs

What more can I say?

12) Dream Big & Shoot for the Stars

“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” ~Marianne Williamson 

I really believe that greatness is in all of us. But to make big things happen, we first need to envision it, and we need to *believe* it’s possible.

As some guy named Henry Ford once said, “Whatever you can conceive, you can achieve.”

It doesn’t cost any more to dream big than it does to dream little, so why not have fun and let our imagination go wild?

If you put in the work, persist, constantly improve, learn from your mistakes, take risks, and believe in yourself, you can accomplish extraordinary things. You really can.

***

*Bonus* The Top 5 Resources That Helped my Breakthrough

1) Tony Robbins’ Personal Power II Program

2) Brian Johnson’s Optimal Living 101 Course

3) Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Notes

4) Chris Guillebeau’s book The Art of Non-Conformity

5) Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Workweek

***

2012 is going to be a massive year. Some people are going to rise to the top, and some are going to be left in the dust.

Make this YOUR year my friend!  Step up your game, and make your mark in the world. Life’s too short not to shine.

Here’s to making 2012 a year we’ll forever remember!

Cheers,
Phil

PS What’s the one thing you KNOW you need to do this year to make it your breakthrough year?

 Please share this post, because that’s how more people can have a kick-ass year!

***

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Posted on : 5, Jan 2012

35 Comments

  • Wow Phil your tips are awesome. The 2 that I really want to embrace in 2012 are Supercharge your Morning and Take 30 Day Challenges.

    I am already an early riser (usually around 5:30am) and I have a range of different morning routines BUT I really like the sound of your one. I use my morning time for a range of things from exercise, to writing, to preparing my food for the day etc.. But I know I would really benefit from making that time ‘quieter’ and slower. I really want to embrace meditation and yoga in the mornings as well as listening to a great audio to prepare m mind for the day.

    You have inspired me to use a 30 day challenge to achieve this. I have no doubt that committing to this type of morning practice for 30 days would transform my life.

    Thanks!

    • Thanks Connie!

      Combining the 30 Day Challenge and Supercharging your Morning.. what a lovely idea!

      It’s great that you’re already rising early.. (It’s actually one of the things I want to do to -all the great Optimal Living teachers recommend rising with the sun.. but I love being up late.. uh oh!), but this will make it even better.

      I’m excited for you, I’m sure this will bring great benefits to your life. Good luck & let me know how it goes!

  • This is one of my favourite posts of yours. Like Connie, numbers 2 and 9 stand out for me. I already get up early too, usually between 5.30 and 6am on weekdays, and between 6 and 7am on weekends (depending on what time I went to bed the night before). I love the peaceful feeling of being up early – it’s as if you’re the only one awake in the world. It’s also satisfying to get up early, accomplish something, and know you’ve been productive before many other people were even out of bed! I developed a morning routine that I love in 2011. I start my day by stretching, then I have a glass of hot water and lemon before doing my daily yoga practice for about 20 minutes. I have an orange juice and a green tea before eating my breakfast, then I like to do some reading before I have to start the rest of my day. At the moment, I’m taking a similar 30-day challenge to you. For the past few mornings, I’ve been visiting https://750words.com/ straight after finishing my yoga, before doing anything else. I write 750 words about anything. It’s a total stream of consciousness. I love getting my thoughts out before starting my day. Now, if I had more time in the mornings, I’d love to incorporate a daily run, but I have to be out of the house for work by 7.30am. Hopefully my work situation is something that’ll change in 2012. Which brings me to tip number 4. Taking action has to be a focus for me this year. I’ve been thinking and dreaming for long enough. I need to see real change now.

    Thanks for the link to the ’30 Challenges for 30 Days’ article by the way – there are some great ideas in it! I’m inspired by your idea to do a 30 day challenge each month. I might have to follow suit!

    • Hey Rebecca!

      That’s an awesome morning routine you’ve developed already- really cool. I’ve got a few tricks to make that morning run even more beneficial (they’ll be in a my upcoming eBook- due date late January).

      It really sounds like you’ve got all the foundations to make it your breakthrough year, now it’s time to open your wings & fly!! Make it happen! :)

  • Hi Phil, hi readers,

    Great article as usual!
    As I told you: I started with a year of challenge and… so far so good ! 5 days with morning meditation. Not the best meditation I guess, but i’m loving the quiet time and peace it provides… so I think this will stick throughout the year.

    12 very good advices! I’ve already planned on working on several of them: dreaming big, taming the fear, early rising, superhealth, and of course : the challenges. 2012 is going to be kick ass, partially thanks to your blog so once again: thanks for the inspiration and knowledge.

    And i’ll make sure to share with you my (french) blog about my challenges. Maybe I can return the favor and inspire you in a way.

    Take care,
    Gilles

    • THanks Gilles!

      You’re the one who inspired me to do the 12 challenges in 12 months, so thanks! You’re already returning the favour :)

      Stay patient with the meditation, it’s a long-term process. As long as you’re trying, and you feel relax.. you’re doing well.

      I have a feeling it’ll be a big year for you, you definitely have all the right intentions, keep me posted on the developments!

      Cheers!

  • Love it!

    “Eat the ugly frog first” … that made me howl! and so true. I’m printing off your list and taping it to my fridge … seriously good stuff.

    One thing I have found, for me, is to keep most of my thoughts and actions private, unless asked. Not everyone is going at the speed of me, or on their own life’s path yet, and well, not everyone understands it. Or it may invoke fear or resentment in them. It is hard for me because all this life sh*t really works and I want to share it! But hey, I write it all up in my blog and (links to yours and others) and if they want to tap into stuff, it is there for anybody who wants it.

    I think that is why it is critical to connect, via internet or however, with other like-minded folks … they get it!

    Thanks, Phil. All the best for 2012.

    • :)

      You inspired me to print off the list too- even though I wrote it, I still have to discipline myself everyday to do it, and some days it’s harder than others :P

      Yeah it’s not easy not to be able to talk about all this stuff.. but maybe you need to start surrounding yourself with people who “get it”? It’s not easy, but as we evolve our social circle kinda needs to as well…

  • [...] Please check it out, and let me know if you have any other tips you would have added to the list. 12 Tips to Make 2012 Your Breakthrough Year | TheFeelGoodLifestyle.com Let's make 2012 a kick-ass year my friends! Phil Reply With Quote   + [...]

  • Phil, I’m inspired by your list & I’m going to put these tips in action! I’m currently on a 21 day healthy living challenge and now I want to incorporate my own Hour of Power into my routine. Definately interested in more challenges and I am interested to see which ones you will be picking out for yourself. I like the idea of Free-Writing everyday :)

    One of my biggest goals for this year is overcoming my fears and trying something new every month. I have put off a lot of things over the past few years and are ready to overcome the fear and JUST DO IT! I am excited for all the adventures I will be pursuing in 2012.

    Thank you for posting such good wisdom!

    • Thanks Emily :)

      21 day healthy living challenge- great way to kick off the new year! Let me know how your morning routine evolves, I’m always curious to hear about others’ awesome ways to supercharge their morning.

      The greatest things in our life are always right on the other side of fear.. if you can step up and start overcoming that this year, wow, it’s going to change everything! I dunno if you’ve seen it yet, but here’s a post I wrote a while ago that might help you out http://www.thefeelgoodlifestyle.com/how-to-master-fear-7-lessons-from-the-worlds-greatests.html

      All the best & keep me posted!

  • Awesome work Phil!!

    Had my first cold shower this morning! Wasn’t easy, but with your recommended breathing techniques I pulled through and am looking forward to the next 29 days and beyond!!! I was at a Real Estate Social Media conference last month and the lecturer had been doing the cold water showers for about 2 years – he told the whole room this and everyone thought he was nuts! A lot of “why would you do this?” or “he musn’t have paid his hot water bills!” haha. Even today I feel more awake than I would this time of morning.

    2012 is the year for change! It’s time to go from a Type 1 to a Type 2 NOW! All those years waiting for something to happen, you NEED (not want) to go and grab it with both hands if you want true happiness and fulfillment.

    I am putting in place today my 30 day Fitness Challenge – Exercise every day – am off to Thailand next month and would like to bring back the old beach body. Will also read up on the meditation and yoga aspect – sounds like it has a lot of benefits.

    Like others have said – Just Do It! All that fear and anxiety you worry about on a day to day can be crushed if you just go out & DO IT!

    Thanks Phil – you have inspired me for 2012!

    • Awesome Ryan, so happy to hear that the post lit a fire under your ass.. which you can now cool off with the cold showers :P

      You’re definitely off to a great start, and the cold shower is actually an awesome way to learn to just DO IT!

      If you keep pushing ahead and taking action all year, you’re going to have a stellar 52 weeks I have no doubt about it!

      Let me know how it goes, and enjoy Thailand!! SPent a month there a couple years ago and to this day it’s one of the Top 5 months of my life!!

      Cheers!

  • Hi Phil, Its indeed a great post. And I’ve decsided to move from step 1 to 2 this year. I wish us successful 2012

    • Thanks Theodore, let’s make it happen brother!

  • This is awesome. This is really perfect for me right now (and for a couple of my friends, too, who are in the same boat!). I quit my corporate job last year and I’m still in a whatever stage about what I really want to do. I really feel that quote by Tim Ferris on Number 10 because I know exactly what I need to do, but I just can’t do it. Now I feel I can really do it. Like most of the people who commented here I really love the Supercharge Your Morning and 30 Day Challenge ideas. I’m gonna start with those!

    Truly awesome post, Phil. Thank you! I’m gonna share this with my friends and on my blog.

    Have a great day! :)

    • Thanks a Lei and very glad to hear that this was a “right place at the right time” type-of-thing.

      I know how you feel- getting the ball rolling is the hardest part, but once you do, all sorts a good things start happening.

      Not only do you start seeing you project build, but also your skills, your confidence and… the universe starts to help you too. You get unexpected emails from ppl who want to work with you, support you, etc.. It’s really cool.

      Good luck & let me know if I can help you out in any way!

  • Thanks a Lei and very glad to hear that this was a “right place at the right time” type-of-thing.

    I know how you feel- getting the ball rolling is the hardest part, but once you do, all sorts a good things start happening.

    Not only do you start seeing you project build, but also your skills, your confidence and… the universe starts to help you too. You get unexpected emails from ppl who want to work with you, support you, etc.. It’s really cool.

    Good luck & let me know if I can help you out in any way!

  • [...] I wrote in my 12 Tips to Make 2012 Your Breakthrough year, this year we all need to take action more. Thinking, planning and strategising are all nice & [...]

  • Number 11…

    “What more can I say?” ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!

    Excellent, excellent post man! It was great to get to know you in 2011 and I have a feeling for the 2 of us… 2012 will be the BREAK OUT YEAR!!!

    Surfs up!

    • Haha hells yeah! Stepping things UP for sure. Bursting out onto the scene!

  • Hi Phil I just discovered a new product you might want to check out. It’s called Ageless Secret Gold. You may not need it now but you will.

  • The morning is the best part of the day. Reminds me of another Thoreau quote: “The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night… All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, “All intelligences awake with the morning.”

    Awesome post.

    • Nice, I agree! I want really try and start waking up early now.. That first hour is so magical if you combine it with the morning light!

      Cheers :)

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