In last week’s post, we discussed the importance of having BIG and FAT reasons to achieve any lasting change.
We chatted about comfort being the enemy. You can’t just “want” to achieve “financial freedom” or “the perfect family/kids” or “physical fitness”. And you definitely won’t last if you just “want” to “start or your business” or “invest for cash flow”.
You need deep pain and frustration. Sounds horrible, we know.
Your “want to have” must be turned into a “gotta have” or you stand very little chance of breaking out of whatever rut you’re in.
This conclusion is coming from our own self-observation and tracking. So we can tell you with certainty that it’s important – at least, to us.
If you’re able to get emotional enough, for long enough, to take action, then the next part of the achievement equation is creating environments that force our new behaviours.
Let’s break this out into two sections.
The first, actually measuring what’s important.
And the second, structuring your day so that you don’t lose your mind.
Tracking Your Way To Anything You Want
Some people do an excellent job of getting really upset and deciding to make a change but then lose that emotional super-charge because they haven’t built-in mechanisms to remind them of their progress. To keep them on track after the emotional charge of adrenaline wears off.
In the previous article, I mentioned that my son was taking some snowboard lessons over the holidays. He was able to track his progress by counting how many times he fell on the bunny hill.
Next, when he mastered that he went over to the “big chairlift” and tested himself on a real beginner hill, “The Big Easy”. And he desperately wanted to master this hill so that he could go hang out with his nieces on the Intermediate runs marked by big “blue squares” on the ski hill map.
After tackling “The Big Easy” for an entire day he was able to make it down without turning himself into a human snowball. He went from falling every ten feet to being able to control his descent and was averaging only about one or two fairly small little falls per run. That was enough to secure the all-important parental permission required for him to go down an intermediate run.
His speed of descent, his control and most importantly, the number of falls were his tracking tools.
He was able to clearly count his progress.
Let’s take two more examples of measuring your progress:
1. Real Estate Investing.
If you’ve been searching for a good cash flow property for any length of time and not getting anywhere you’ll quickly lose the motivation to continue. When Nick and I began looking for good homes we turned it into a game.
a) How many properties did we have to go through in order to find a good one? It ended up being 10 properties required to find an acceptable property. Knowing this kept us motivated. If we had looked at 15 properties with no luck over two days we knew that in the next five properties we were likely to find two gems … and that kept us going. That knowledge gave us the motivation to look at over 50 properties each … a week, for months.
b) If we had a vacant rental property we turned to measuring leads, carefully. We asked ourselves, how many phone calls from our advertising did we need to get six people to view the property? It turned out we need about 12 leads. After that, we figured out that to get a tenant we needed at a bare minimum, three good applications. We then started measuring how many leads turned into appointments and how many of those turned into applications. Knowing the numbers took the mystery out of the process and kept us focused on constantly improving our advertising and application conversion … instead of just throwing up a lawn sign and praying. Tracking, measuring, reminding ourselves of the key numbers made us much more effective.
2. Small Business
Over the years we’ve realized that tracking tenant leads to a property is exactly the same as tracking potential customer leads into a business.
a) How many visitors does your website require to get your “desired response”. Your website has a purpose right? Well, measure the response. Once you know that you need 40 visitors to get three sales or two contact forms filled out or five free quotes then you can focus your energy on increasing your lead flow.
b) How many “free quotes” or “browsing Sally’s” do you need in your business to secure a sale? Is it five? Three? Fourteen? Once you track that you can to predict how much business you’ll be able to generate from the leads you’ve been working so hard to secure. And if you know how much that customer is worth to you then you’ll be able to measure exactly how much you can spend to acquire that customer? It’s beautiful.
How many small businesses track leads, prospects and customers? How many know the average value of each customer? Worse, how many know the lifetime value of each customer … the value of the same person over three or four years?
Tracking and measuring this stuff keeps you motivated and better yet, creates a massive competitive advantage.
If you know it takes one hundred visitors to your website to get three sales for a profit of $3,000 … then all your focus can be applied to generating those one hundred visitors. You don’t waste time with frivolous details like beautiful logos and vanity phone numbers.
If you know it takes twelve tenant leads to get one solid tenant worth $30,000 in gross revenues to you … how much would you be willing to pay to generate those leads?
Measuring and tracking are what separates the boys from the men, the girls from the women.
“Whatever the majority of people is doing, under any given circumstances, if you do the exact opposite, you will probably never make another mistake as long as you live.”
– Earl Nightingale
90 Minutes A Day To Complete Domination
Let me ask you something…
What one single thing could you do, every day, that will guarantee 2011 would be drastically different than 2010?
To get different results you must have different behaviours. To have different behaviours consistently you want to turn important actions into habits.
I’ve found that to change my behaviour I need to do something every day, no matter what, for several weeks, without exception, until it turns into a new habit.
When I start working out every morning I made a commitment to do cardio every day.
I started with 2 minutes of it.
Then, the next day, 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Then, the next day, 3 minutes.
I laughed at myself. Others laughed with me. The process became fun.
I did it for 67 days straight. No exceptions. After late nights, after Michael Buble concerts, after Bon Jovi or U2 concerts, after late men’s league hockey games … every morning, no exceptions. I didn’t make it a choice. I wanted to create a new habit and it worked.
Now I do 30 minutes first thing every morning, 5 days a week. No issues, no hassle, it’s part of my routine.
I started small because I absolutely hated it but had no excuse to avoid it. How could I admit to myself that I couldn’t do 2 minutes of cardio? I mean … it was 2 minutes.
Tracking and measuring my progress actually encouraged me instead of discouraging me. I saw the number increasing every day until I hit my 30-minute goal.
Now for the fun part…