Achieve Your Bucket List in the Coming 52 Weeks

Hello again! How that my speaking engagement is complete, I can write again.

Do you have a bucket list? Do you have yearly goals? In Lawrence and my life, November is traditionally our goal setting month. This is the time that we evaluate how well we did on our current year goals, and think about our goals for next year. A long time ago, I heard that if you so much as write down your goals and don’t even look at them again, you will automatically achieve at least 20 – 30%. If you review and visualize your goals on a frequent and consistent basis, that success rate goes up dramatically. And taken from the pages of Beyond Positive Thinking, if you identify what they are, visualize them, and feel what it feels like to have accomplished them, you will achieve 100% of them.

Well I didn’t achieve all of them. But going through my 2017 goals, I did achieve a whole whack of them. Like a lot of them. I’d say I was about 70%, which I thought wasn’t too shabby. I started to analyze my results… (because why would I bother setting goals and collecting data, if wasn’t going to draw any conclusions?)
I came out with the following a few factors for what brought me success this year.


On Habits and Personal Discipline

Planning for it in your day and in your life makes a hell of a difference. Very often the reason we never accomplish our habit goals, even though we meant well, and had full intentions to doing it, is that we simply forgot to do them. It’s just not part of our daily regimen. It just slipped our mind. Our day gets away on us. We run out of time. Sound familiar? Happens for me as well.



The fact is, all of these phrases indicate that we are not taking accountability for our day and our life. All of these phrases indicate that we are somehow at the whim of our circumstances. It’s not our fault. We have no control over what goes on in our day? Please ban these phrases from your mind. They are the very reason why you haven’t achieved your goals. Mark my word.

No one but you are in control of your life.

No one but you can control how you spend your time.

To blame your work, your family, your schedule is a complete load of crock. The mere discussing it puts a sick taste in my mouth.

If you really want to accomplish what you set out to do, like working out four times / week, put it in your calendar.

If you really want to stay in touch with your friend, whom you haven’t seen in ages, make a date. Put it in your calendar.

If you really want to meditate daily, put it in your calendar.


Are you starting to smell what I’m cooking here? Someday doesn’t exist on a calendar. The easiest way to make sure that something gets done is to schedule it.


Ten Minutes of Exercise is Better than the Thought of an Hour.

I get it. Scheduling is one thing. Actually executing is another. Sometimes even when we schedule it in our calendar, a meeting runs late. We don’t make it to the gym. Or something might have come up that for which we didn’t plan.


Consistency is better than Sporadic Hard Effort

Especially in the area of fitness, I have discovered that if you can show up at the gym religiously, according to your schedule, even when you don’ feel like it. Even if you do a half assed work out, or a shorter one, it’s still better than skipping it altogether. The person who shows up in the gym 5 days a week rain or shine (as if it would ever rain in the gym), beats the weekend warrior, who gives it his all sporadically when he feels like it. That is what separates the stars from the pars.

A number of years ago, I saw the great John Maxwell speak. He was asked how he managed to write so many books in his life. His answer? He looked squarely at the interviewer and said:

”Every day I think. Every day I read, Every day I write. Every day I ask questions. Every day I file.”

So what happens when you’re on your hectic travel schedule?

”Every day I think. Every day I read, Every day I write. Every day I ask questions. Every day I file.”

What happens on Christmas Day… when you’re busy with family?

”Every day I think. Every day I read, Every day I write. Every day I ask questions. Every day I file.”

What happens if you’re on vacation?

”Every day I think. Every day I read, Every day I write. Every day I ask questions. Every day I file.”


Get his drift?


“If You Build it, They will Come”

The Field of Dreams effect. I feel like I have to explain this one. As new generations inherit the earth, fewer and fewer people know or have seen the movie Field of Dreams. I myself can only vaguely remember what it is about. Baseball… Kevin Costner building a baseball club, not knowing whether or not anyone would want it. It has been highly debated over the years as to whether or not it’s good philosophy to build something without testing its demand first.



Testing its viability to a potential market is a sure fire way to see whether or not you’re creating something worthwhile, or simply wasting your time. But listening to your customers or your potential audience will still only allow you to make tweaks to your current product, or make revisions and iterations of your solution. They’re not going to help you jump to the second curve, unless you have some very visionary customers. You see, it’s because, as Steve jobs said, Customers don’t know they want something until you show it to them.” The reason is that you’re limited to what your audience knows is in the realm of the possible.

I get that this is dangerous. By not polling your customers, you’re taking a huge risk by simply creating product and giving them the final product. The thing that is assumed, though, are the requirements for the product. Take the iPod, for example. No one could have told Apple to make a music player that has no keys on it, matte white and that fits in the palm of your hand. But the requirement is that people know that they need a contraption that holds a whole whack of music, without having to swap in memory devices. Apple’s answer? The iPod that was capable of holding an entire music library.

I was listening to Lewis Howes interview one Naveen Jain on his company Moon Express. I’ve included his full interview at the end of this post. Long story short, he’s trying to get people to the moon. Not only is he trying to get people to travel to the moon, but to live on moon. Let’s pretend for a moment that he first asked his audience as to whether or not they have this desire to go live on the moon. Is there is even a demand for it? If he asked me, for example, whether or not I would want to go, I would be like “No. I’m good here on earth. I’m comfortable. I have a home. I have a job. Things are swell. The air’s good here. Why should I risk all that to go to a place where breathing could be an issue? Climate could be an issue. There are no houses There is no infrastructure, no water, nothing? No. I have no desire to go to the moon.



See what I’m saying? He has this vision of where people will eventually leave earth, and colonize the moon and other planets. Future generations will be born there. One day they will look up to the earth, and their parents say, “Look at that tiny blue planet. That’s where our ancestors came from.’

He has a vision. It’s such an unbelievable and unthinkable vision that he can’t share it with the mass public have have them support his plan. It’s the stuff of fiction. It’s never been done before. What I’m trying to say is testing ideas on an audience is good up to a point. But you’re still limited to the realm of what they think and fathom is possible.

The things that change the world are not these things. They are ideas that are so far-fetched that no one can conceive how it can be done. If you have a vision that has never been done before, testing that idea on a real audience really gets you nowhere. They’d pat you on the head and say, “good for you.” Then they’ll be on their merry way, thinking, “yea right… like that will ever happen.” It’s because they’re focusing on the “how.” And the “how” is limited to their past experiences. That’s not how new stuff gets built.

If you have a big, fat, hairy, audacious goal — and you should! Otherwise, you’re not really living up to your true potential. You can’t focus on the “how.” Your “how,” like your test audience’s “how” is limited to your past experiences. Instead, focus on the “what.” That’s your job. That’s what you do when you set your goal. The “how” isn’t up to you. The “how” is up the universe.


Case in Point: I had a goal this year to make it on the cover of a book, or an online publication. Back last year in 2015, I also set that as a goal. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it. I just thought it would be cool for my blog to land the cover of something in print. In June of 2016, one of my fellow instructors at the City of Edmonton connected with me and learned that I was a CPA. It turned out that she was the editor for the CPA magazine, Dividends. She asked to interview me for the CPA magazine. (Score!!)
I was completely over the moon to be interviewed! A couple weeks later, she asked if she can feature me on the cover. What?! OMG YES! We shot everything in August. By November, when I got back from France, I saw myself on the cover of Dividends’ Fall edition.


Fluke? Sure. What if I told you it happened again?


When it came time to do my goals for 2017 that very same month, I again set a goal to appear on the cover of a nationally distributed publication, be it in print, or online. I again had no idea how this would come about. Furthermore, I even thought that it might not be as possible since I already landed one cover. (like there was somehow a limited quantity of opportunities where you could land book covers or something…)

Towards the end of the first quarter, Perry and I launched our parenting podcast Inspired Parent Insights on iTunes. By the summer we had been building our twitter following. One day, as I was checking my private messages, I discovered that one Dr. Elise Cohen Ho of United We Parent, had reached out to me, asking if they could feature me in their book “Amazing Moms: Parents of the 21st Century.” It was to be a coffee table book that featured 115 moms around the world, their philosophies on parenting, and what they learned from others.

The Cantonese have a saying ‘lui fan ying,’ which means you’re so eager, you spat out your rice mid-chew, and agreed. (Classy. I know.) That’s exactly what I did. So they featured me in a two page spread. A few months down the road, they announced that 8 out of the 115 moms will appear on the cover. You guessed. I was one of them. Here’s the thing. I’m no one special. I’m just a regular schmo who set a goal to appear on in a document. I took action. The universe took care of the rest. I expressed my gratitude. Big time.



The big takeaway? Whatever you wish to accomplish is possible. Focus on the “what.” Take action. Let the universe focus on the “how.” Let the universe line up opportunities for you. This leads me to my next point.


Visualization and Attraction

How do you focus on the “what,” and not the “how?” One word: Visualization. You visualize the crap out of what you would like to have. The great Robin Sharma said that “Everything is done twice: once in the mind and once in reality.” There is a technique to this. And you need to take action.
But here’s what it’s not. It’s not daydreaming. It’s not daydreaming because there needs to be the discipline of seeing it in your mind consistently, exactly every single time. Every single time, you put more and more details into the image. The more you visualize, the more it becomes clearer and clearer in your head until the image becomes colourful, and crystal clear with intricate detail.

And then you apply feeling to it. It’s not to say that it needs to be sequential. Applying feeling to it is effective right from the start. The greater the emotion, the greater the probability that it will come to fruition in your life.

When I was creating my vision board last weekend, I would simply look for images on the net. I selected only those images that gave me a little buzz of excitement. That is the magic of the vision board. There should be no “should do’s or have to’s.” The function of a vision board is to illicit emotion. Only then does you start attracting it into your life.


Oh man. There is so much more I can say about this. Let’s take a pause here. What is on your mind that you would like to accomplish for next year? I challenge you to start thinking about it today.

Oh, and here’s Naveen’s full interview about taking people to the moon. Enjoy!


Also published on Medium.

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