By Benjamin Hardy
If you’re ready to upgrade your life, then you’re going to need to take an honest look in the mirror.
The emperor has no clothes.
You’re the emperor.
You need to get naked with the truth. And the truth is going to punch you in the face. But it doesn’t have to hurt long.
And in reality, the pain of “the truth” is a good thing.
Your current reality or behavior wouldn’t hurt if you didn’t have incredible ambitions that excite you.
If you didn’t have a clear and powerful future calling you, then your current behavior would be totally fine. You wouldn’t notice or need to change anything.
But you do have a bigger future.
You want to go much bigger. And you know you can. You can absolutely have what you want.
But you’re going to have to replace what you have and what you’ve become accustomed to in your identity and situation.
You’ve gotten comfortable.
But from the perspective of your future self, you’re starting to feel a little uneasy. You’re feeling naked. And you know it’s time to change.
It’s time to put the past behind you.
Transforming yourself and your life is a simple and repeatable process you can and should get consistently better at.
The remainder of this post will teach you that process, allowing you to 10X your income, become a better spouse, transform your health, or whatever other huge goal you want to achieve.
A Warning: Expect Subconscious Self-Sabotage
“Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.”
In the book, The Big Leap, Dr. Gay Hendricks explains “The Upper Limit Problem,” which is the idea that when you make any tangible improvements in your life, that you immediately begin sabotaging yourself.
This is a subconscious reaction to any change in your “average” or “normal” conditions.
Your subconscious reflects what is “normal” to you.
To be outside of your homeostasis is uncertain, uncomfortable, and unpredictable.
Your subconscious is your physical body and is based on your emotional level as a person.
If you’re someone who isn’t used to feeling great all the time, then when you start feeling great, you’re going to subconsciously behave in ways to create chaos.
You’re going to create situations that produce the negative emotions that are your norm.
I actually experienced my own Upper Limit Problem big time THIS MORNING!
Over the past 30 days, I’ve been getting clearer and clearer on my vision. I’m committed to 10Xing my income and success in all key life areas over the next 2 years.
As a result, I’ve had to establish much better boundaries in my life. I’m setting things up to be home more to support my family. I’ve also been putting some amazing relationships and opportunities in place.
This morning, I was texting my assistant Whitney and telling her I had a new standard for when we get inquiries for speaking opportunities.
Here is the text I sent her:
“Here’s what you will say to all future inquiries (which will be many over the next 12 months):
Dr. Hardy has five children and clear goals and priorities. As a result, he has created the standard that he won’t leave home for less than $20,000. If that is within your budget, and you want the most transformational experience your audience has ever had, Dr. Hardy is interested and likely available.”
I’ve never charged $20,000 for a speaking gig. So naturally, it should be the new standard.
I’ve spoken for $15,000 before, so it’s not a far cry. As Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach has said, “Pricing is all psychology. You should always base your pricing on what scares you, and then, add 20% to what scares you!”
I sent that text while I was just starting a run. About 45 minutes later and deeper into my run, I hit a crack and seem to have either sprained or nearly sprained my knee— a knee that has many traumatic memories associated due to past injuries.
This is a clear subconscious self-sabotage.
It’s clear I’m having an Upper Limit Problem.
As a result, I’m not mad about this knee injury. In fact, I’m stoked! I refuse to have ANY negative emotions toward this episode. Instead, I’m going to use this experience to shift my emotions and memories toward this knee and evolve up beyond my current glass ceiling in life.
Later that morning, I had breakfast with Dean Jackson, who is a marketing legend. I told him about my Upper Limit Problem, and then read him the text I had sent to Whitney.
He replied, “You should just say, ‘It’s $20,000.’”
You don’t need any explanation.
The explanation may be helpful for me, in orienting my priorities, standards, and what I consciously create, but others don’t need it.
I’m not sure $20,000 “scares” me enough, though, based on Dan’s concept.
I’d rather get rejected at the new standard than accepted at the old. Even if I miss several speaking opportunities moving forward, I’ve set the standard for my time. And soon enough, I’ll attract what I’m looking for.
What you focus on expands.
What you expect you create.
Overtime, your subconscious catches up to your courage, becoming your new “normal.”
At some point, you stop getting scared by the Matrix at all, and can just move forward without all the emotional baggage of every step you take.
As you begin moving forward in your life, expect lots of subconscious self-sabotage. This will happen in a multitude of ways.
But often, it will occur by you getting sick or physically injured, as your physical body is your subconscious mind.
But you may also experience self-sabotage in other ways to create problems in your life and stop you from achieving what you ultimately want.
You’ll ruin relationships or great opportunities. You’ll binge eat junk food. You’ll fall back into an addiction.
But if you know about this, then you can look out for the signals. You can see when you begin attempting to ruin the very success you’re creating.
Rather than being upset about what is happening, you need to re-associate with your behavior or patterns.
Don’t attach negative emotions, but instead, positive emotions to what is happening.
This is a signal you’re moving forward.
You’re raising the ceiling of your income, success, confidence, and potential for joy.
Now that you know about the Upper Limit Problem, let’s talk about how you can 10X your income and success in life.
Have One Goal
“Have a goal so big that you will surely fail, unless God or divine forces intervene.”
The clearer your focus, the faster you’ll move.
Making decisions is inherently difficult. Every decision involves opportunity cost. The very definition of “decision” is to cut off alternative options.
The opposite of decision is what psychologists call “decision fatigue” or willpower. When you haven’t decided what you want, then you remain unsure.
When you don’t make decisions, you leave things on your mental plate far longer than you should.
You’re in your head rather than executing on your plans. Decision fatigue is very costly.
Instead of remaining unsure about what you want, you should set a single, definable, and measurable goal.
This one goal should be based on the future self you ultimately want to become.
Who do you really want to be?
You need to be very honest with yourself, here. If you’re not honest about your ultimate ends, then the means you’ll pursue will probably take you the wrong direction.
When you’re clear on what you ultimately want for yourself, and know why you want it, then you need to set ONE GOAL.
This ONE GOAL needs to be huge. It needs to be big enough to compel and excite you.
It needs to be impossible enough to require faith but tangible enough to create a plan and begin moving.
This ONE GOAL can and should be the vehicle for upgrading and elevating your entire life.
Let me explain.
When I decided I wanted to become a professional writer, I had one goal: Get a 6-figure book contract.
With one definable target, I could begin reverse-engineering. I soon found I needed at least 100,000 email subscribers to have a shot at my goal. In order to get 100,000 email subscribers, I needed to learn how to write blog posts, create strong headlines, pitch my posts onto bigger platforms, meet influencers, create funnels, build an audience, and so much more.
Because I had that ONE GOAL, I ended up becoming one of the fastest growing bloggers in the world.
I didn’t have 5 goals. I had one. And that one goal allowed me to become world-class at what I did.
That one goal moved me into a new atmosphere, where I had a different level of confidence. I had new friends who were also successful. I became well-known in my work.
Had I had 5 goals, I’d still be where I was 5 years ago.
But I had one goal. And that one goal became the vehicle for upgrading my identity, confidence, and my socioeconomic status.
Once I hit that goal, I set another goal: Hit the New York Times bestseller list.
I didn’t actually hit that goal (yet). But the process of pursuing that goal completely changed my entire life.
To hit that goal, I needed to learn how to make more money and create a higher level network.
As a result, I learned how to make products and monetize my blog, which has now turned into a 7-figure business.
I learned how to get myself onto podcasts and other media.
I learned how to create a network of successful influencers and entrepreneurs.
I learned so many things, all because I failed to achieve a single goal.
ONE GOAL is all you need to change your entire life. That ONE GOAL is the vehicle you ride to change your economic status, your environment, your peer group, and yourself.
What is your ONE GOAL?
Do you love that goal?
Would you really trade your current life for that goal?
If so, then you need to eliminate the decision fatigue and stop pursuing other things.
Design Your Identity to Match That Goal
“The analogy of the future self as another person may seem like a strange one, but it is rather powerful when it comes to understanding long-term decision-making.”
—Dr. Hal Hershfield
Psychologists are now finding that it is good for decision making to distinguish your current and future self.
They aren’t the same person.
You’re going to be different in two, five, and ten years from now.
When you see your future self as someone else, then you can start asking some interesting and insightful questions:
- Who are they?
- What are they like?
- What is their daily routine?
- Who are their friends?
- What kind of clothes do they wear?
- How much money do they make?
- What matters to them?
Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The question is: How imaginative is your future self?
Once you’ve clearly imagined your future self, which by the way, should match your ONE GOAL, your job is then to begin ACTING like that person. Today.
I didn’t say your job is to act like yourself. I said your job is to act like your future self, which is a different person than you are now.
Psychologists have found that “deliberate practice” is essential for developing skills and abilities.
They’ve also found that it is impossible to engage in deliberate practice without having a future self in mind who already possesses the skills you are practicing.
Visualization is key to improvement.
Action transforms your visualization from cognitive to emotional. When you begin acting like your future self, you’re going to feel uncomfortable.
By disrupting your homeostasis, your subconscious (and circumstances) will immediately begin pulling you back to your norm.
Upgrade Your “Average” to Match Your Desired Future
“Every person is average because every person has an average. The only way to get better is to live above your average and create a better average.”
Look at your life.
- What is “average” to you?
- What is your average monthly income?
- What is your average output on a typical day?
- What is your average diet?
- What is your average emotional state?
Your average reflects where you are at subconsciously. Your average also reflects your current environment and circumstances.
In order to achieve your ONE GOAL and completely upgrade your life, you need to improve your average or “norm.”
You can do this immediately. You don’t have to strive for perfection, but instead, improvement over your average.
You want your day to look a little more like your future self than your current self.
What would your future selves’ average or “norm” be?
You gotta be honest with yourself.
- How are you doing today?
- Are you falling prey to the same addictions and distractions you typically do?
- Are you eating the same foods you normally do?
- Are you speaking and engaging with those most important to you in the same way as usual?
What would happen if you did something different?
What if you acted more in alignment with your future self?
What if you made your ONE GOAL the standard for your daily behavior
Your life would change.
You’d achieve your goal.
You’d experience some Upper Limit Problems but get through them. You wouldn’t overly attach to the failures or problems along the way. You’d smile as you watch your subconscious try to self-sabotage. You’d replace negative emotions with positive ones. You’d change your memory. You’d change your body.
Create Better Boundaries
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
If you’re truly going to achieve a HUGE LIFE-CHANGING GOAL, then you need to create boundaries that reflect that goal.
This means you need to prioritize your life, your time, and your relationships.
Right now, you probably don’t have clear boundaries on your relationships. You likely say “Yes” to things and people you don’t truly care about.
Right now, there are people and “commitments” you have that you need to eliminate or put far more clear boundaries on.
You need to make some phone calls, or in the least, shoot some texts.
Speak from the heart. Tell the people in your life that you haven’t been fully honest in the relationship. You need to make some adjustments in your life. Your priorities haven’t been clear. Your communication hasn’t been clear.
You need to shift your focus and can’t engage in the relationship as you have in the past.
Then, explain the boundaries you have for THAT relationship. If it is someone you only want minor communication with, then explain that. You’re busy and can only communicate on a monthly basis.
This may seem strange if you’ve never done it before. But it’s called self-respect. It’s about respecting yourself and your priorities and not being a push-over to other people’s agendas.
How clear are your boundaries?
What about time?
Do you have boundaries on when and how long you will work?
Do you have boundaries on how much money you’ll make?
On what you’re willing to do?
Or, do you have no boundaries at all?
Create Tracking Measures to Ensure Progress
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
The human brain loves numbers. The more tangible your measuring process, the more your brain can selectively attend and notice what you’re trying to do.
You can set your brain on a goose chase to find your goals. They are out there. You just might not be able to see them.
But when you begin tracking, you start to pay much closer attention. When you track every bite you eat, you start to see how terrible your eating habits are. When you begin tracking every penny you make and spend, you really start to get a pulse on your money habits.
If you’re going to achieve your ONE BIG GOAL, you need a better tracking system. You need to track the things which truly matter.
You need to evolve your behavior.
Lately, this fact became very real to me. One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that most entrepreneurs, and even most “influencers” have no money. Sure, they make a lot of money. But they also spend it all.
I have friends who have made tens of millions of dollars but have nothing to show for it.
They’ve spent it all on frivolous living or thoughtless and unwise investments. They didn’t take a long-term approach.
I’ve begun tracking every penny I make and spend. I’ve also begun spending far less money on things I don’t need. As my income dramatically rose over the past few years, I realized that my spending did as well.
I wasn’t keeping or investing much of my money into my long-term future. This led to some hard conversations between my wife and I. It became clear that I was putting my business before my family.
Something needed to change.
That something was me.
The emperor had no clothes.
The truth stung, but had a purpose. I could see my future. I had a goal worth pursuing and a cause and family I loved.
So I’ve begun tracking like a beast. And this tracking gives me clarity and confidence. It also gives me control.
- Are you tracking?
- Are you serious about this?
- Are you accountable?
- Is your tracking public?
- Do the important people in your life know how you’re doing? Or are you still hiding things, like your spending habits or how you spend your time.
Every person is as sick as their secrets. That’s one of the concepts from Alcoholic’s Anonymous.
Are you still hiding stuff?
Or are you tracking out in the open, and making progress?
Make Decisions Faster
“Like a surgeon who must make a decision right now and can’t appoint a committee to study it, he is gifted at noticing when we need to postpone a decision to get more facts. But for the most part, when something comes before him, he decides it.”
—Dallin Oaks describing Russell Nelson
The final thing you must do is make decisions faster.
Eliminate decision fatigue from your life.
Your ONE GOAL or “future self” must become the filter to everything that comes in contact with you.
You’ll have distractions and opportunities present themselves.
If you’re clear on what you want, then your intuition or gut will tell you immediately on most matters whether they are good ideas or bad ones.
But if you’re too afraid to say no or put proper boundaries in your life, then you’ll say yes or waffle longer than you should.
We all do this.
We all postpone needed communication.
We all delay making decisions when we already know what we should do.
But if you’re serious about moving forward, you need to make decisions faster. You need to be more honest. You need to just say it how it is.
If it doesn’t fit, the answer is “No thank you.”
Make your decisions faster.
You can achieve brilliant things in your life. You can 10X your income, happiness, and success in a short period of time.
I’ve done this multiple times over the past 5 years.
I’m now committed to doing it again.
Are you committed to 10X’ing your life?
Dr Benjamin P Hardy is the bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work, which explains the profound impact your environment has on your behavior, mindset, and success. He is an organizational psychologist, speaker, entrepreneur and a father to five kids.
(The author has created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. Follow this daily, your life will change very quickly. Get the cheat sheet here!)