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Want to make 2017 your best year ever? Of course you do. Who doesn’t? With the help of Michael Hyatt, we discuss key ways to achieve all of your goals within a year.

Michael Hyatt is an author, blogger, speaker, and the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He is the author of the book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Seller.  He is also the creator of 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • The importance of goal setting in all aspects of life. (06:52)
  • 3 reasons why people give up on pursuing their goals. (10:00)
  • How to stay focused. (16:27)
  • Is there a good number of goals to set? (19:26)
  • 3 areas of life where we should set goals. (21:07)
  • 3 zones for setting goals: comfort zone, discomfort zone, and doubt zone. (30:57)
  • The keys to achieving a set goal. (33:45)
  • Reap the rewards of reaching your goal with two main ingredients: clarity and confidence. (41:04)

Learn more about Michael Hyatt and his upcoming events.

00:01 Michael Port: Welcome to Steal the Show with Michael Port. This is Michael. Today’s guest is Michael Hyatt and he’s the author of eight books, including Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World, which is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best-seller. He is also the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the US. Michael is a top rated blogger on leadership, personal development, productivity, and platform building at, where he has more than 400,000 monthly readers, over 200,000 Twitter followers, and 32,000 Facebook fans. Michael has been married to his wife Gail, who is lovely, I’ve met her, for 35 years. Together they have five daughters, five grandsons, and three grand daughters. And I mention that because once you hear Michael, you’ll see how important family and service is to him. My friend Michael, how are you?

01:03 Michael Hyatt: I’m doing great Michael. Good to be with you.

01:05 Michael Port: Good. So, hopefully they will be able to distinguish between my voice and your voice since we both have the same name.

01:13 Michael Hyatt: [chuckle] I know, it’s always problematic.

01:14 Michael Port: I’ll just call you sir. How about that?

01:16 Michael Hyatt: I love it.

01:17 Michael Port: Because I think you should be knighted for all the great work you’ve done.

01:20 Michael Hyatt: Well, that would be awesome. I was actually wondering as I was watching The Crown. Have you seen that series?

01:25 Michael Port: I sure have, it’s fantastic.

01:27 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, I thought, “What would it take to get knighted as an American?” I think it’s pretty tough.

01:33 Michael Port: I think if anybody could do it, you could. You know, maybe… Okay here is what we’re gonna do. Since you’ve got your course Five Days To Your Best Year Ever coming out, and everybody is supposed to set goals to make their year the best year ever. Maybe…

01:48 Michael Hyatt: [laughter] I could say this.

01:49 Michael Port: Your goal should be to get knighted.

01:52 Michael Hyatt: Wow. Okay, I’ll think about that. I think about a gazillion people ahead of me but… Yeah.

01:58 Michael Port: Right. I think that by the end of this episode, I would like to hear you declare in front of millions of people that you will be knighted this year.

02:07 Michael Hyatt: [laughter] Okay.

02:08 Michael Port: That’s the first time I’ve ever challenged anyone to go get knighted. Okay, so look, you are one of the best, I think, in the world at content creation and producing information that is in true service of your audience. And…

02:22 Michael Hyatt: Well, thank you.

02:23 Michael Port: You’re welcome. And you are now focusing a lot on productivity, goal setting, time management, etcetera. And I’m wondering why that’s your big focus now, and then we’ll go from there.

02:39 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, it’s a great question. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that. I think a lot of it is because my entire life has been a pursuit of personal development, and I just realized how much untapped potential most people have in them. And I saw this in the corporate world when I was working with so many employees and I thought, “It’s so difficult for people to believe in their own future.” And sometimes as a supervisor or as a mentor, you can see the potential in others that they can’t see in themselves. And I love being that voice for other people that says, “You know, you’ve got what it takes. There’s so much potential in you if you would just focus and develop it.” So that’s kind of my mission. I wanna help people realize their potential.

03:25 Michael Port: Why now? Why this time of year? Obviously we can pick up almost any magazine, almost any TV morning shows, gonna be talking about New Year’s resolutions, setting goals, etcetera. And I’m wondering if it really is the best time to do this given the hype around it and maybe the failure of past resolutions around this time of the year.

03:57 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, I think the reason why it’s such a great time is because we are riding kind of a cultural wave, where there’s all the attention like you mentioned on it. I think it’s also natural that when the seasons turn, our attention turns. So, for example, September might be a great time to do it because people are getting their kids into school and that’s kind of a natural time as the seasons change to be thinking about the future. But there is really a special place I think as the calendar rolls over to the new year. People naturally reflect on what’s passed. But they also naturally begin to turn their attention to what could be in this next year. And the whole practice of goal setting for me and really where Best Year Ever was born, was out of my practice of taking that week between Christmas and New Year’s to reflect on the past, get real closure on that, but then turn to my attention to the future and to begin to dream about what I wanted to see in the new year. So I think it’s just kind of a natural place to turn the page and go to the next chapter.

04:55 Michael Port: Do you take a mini sabbatical during that week? Do you turn off everything else and just focus on reflection and then planning for the new year?

05:09 Michael Hyatt: Well, I don’t completely turn off during that time because usually we have family and there’s still the holiday celebrations. But what I do is I take about an hour a day, over five days, and that’s where we came up actually with the idea of Five Days To Your Best Year Ever, was I take an hour a day, and I go through a very methodical framework for dealing with the past and moving to the future. So it’s about a five-day process but in truth it’s only about a five-hour process.

05:37 Michael Port: Interesting. You know, historically, I’ve done something similar, not quite as methodical as you. I would like to be more methodical about this, one of the reasons I was really psyched that you were coming on the show, so I could just steal all this help from you.

05:54 Michael Hyatt: Cool.

05:55 Michael Port: But I’ve historically done it in August, ’cause I’ve always… The new year starts for me in a way around September with the kids going back to school. And sometimes I think about our business even though we… From an accounting perspective, we close at year end. Often September is a new year for me. But I think it really does make sense to put this… At this time of year, especially from a financial perspective, because our business runs calendar year.

06:26 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, I think that’s right. And I do think that August and September are good times to do it as well. In fact, goal setting is something that, I think, if you’re doing it right, you’re gonna be revisiting at least once a quarter. We certainly do in my company, and I do personally. I go through a quarterly review process, but I really set out the vision, and kind of the big picture once a year. And that’s what I do that week between Christmas and New Year’s.

06:52 Michael Port: So okay, let’s talk about traditional goal setting. The way I’ve seen traditional goal setting is typically around getting clear on what you want to achieve at a certain point, and then writing out what you want to achieve. They say people who write out their goals are more successful than people who don’t write out their goals. But I’m not sure it really goes that much further typically.

07:19 Michael Hyatt: Yeah. And, I think, typically, people limit their goal setting to their career or their work. And I don’t really know why that is. I think that’s naturally where we are challenged to raise the bar, go further, and do that kind of thing. But it really gets exciting when you think about setting goals in all the domains of your life, whether it’s your intellectual growth or spiritual growth, or your marriage, or your kids, or your hobbies, or your finances. But if you’re gonna live a full-orbed balanced life, then I think it’s appropriate that we have goals in each of these areas. And so, I think that’s one of the ways that Best Year Ever is different from traditional goal setting.

08:02 Michael Hyatt: And, I think, another thing that’s really different is that in so many goal setting practices, and I saw this in the corporate world, where typically once a year we’d take all the executives, we’d go off on a strategic planning retreat, and we would dive really deep. We’d create these detailed action plans, and we would fill up three-ring binders, we would come back to the office, and we would put those on the shelf and we’d never look at ’em again. Because we got caught up in the whirlwind, just running the business and all the stuff you have to do to keep the business alive. And I think that’s what happens with a lot of people with New Year’s resolutions. They may have great intentions, but they don’t really have a plan for carrying through and getting past that first two weeks of January. Do you work out in a gym?

08:48 Michael Port: Not in a gym, but I have, so yeah.

08:50 Michael Hyatt: At home?

08:50 Michael Port: Yeah.

08:50 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, so I work out at a gym, and I work out with a trainer. But the first couple of weeks of January I can’t find a parking place.

08:58 Michael Port: Oh, yeah. Yeah. You know Michael, I actually ran gyms and I was in that business for a while.

09:04 Michael Hyatt: Oh, wow!

09:05 Michael Port: And I’ll tell you what, man. January, that made the year. From a membership perspective, from a services perspective, that made the year. And then by about February 15th, it was back to normal.

09:16 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, exactly. I always say that I’ll just wait a couple of weeks, and there’d be plenty of parking places. And I don’t know what the ratio is between how many members a typical gym can accommodate and how many people are actually paying monthly dues, but I guess it’s pretty high.

09:31 Michael Port: I’ll tell you, the utilization is usually in the 20% range of paying members.

09:34 Michael Hyatt: Wow. That’s sobering. Yeah. So to have a goal setting system that works, you’ve gotta move it past New Year’s resolutions. You’ve gotta move it past these elaborate action plans. And I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. Action plans, by the way, those big elaborate action plans are great if you’re NASA, or if you’re building a nuclear submarine. But for most of us, it’s just a fancy way to procrastinate.

10:00 Michael Port: Yeah, it sure is. It sure is. So why do you think people get stuck and then give up?

10:06 Michael Hyatt: You mean in the pursuit of those goals?

10:08 Michael Port: Yeah, in the pursuit of the goals. Okay, so look at it this way. So the action plan is too much, it’s too big, it’s too detailed, and we put it on the shelf and we forget about it. But even if we are following the appropriate protocol, and I wanna get into your protocol shortly, what is the thing that demoralizes us? What’s the thing that gets us discouraged? Even if we’re passionate about this thing, shouldn’t passion be able to drive us forward and keep our sense of urgency up?

10:44 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, you’d like to think that it could, but as it turns out, it doesn’t. And I think there’s a couple of reasons for that. And we’ve had 17,000 people now go through Five Days To Your Best Year Ever. So we’ve got a big basis of people that we can do research on, and we do lots of research. We find that the number one thing that derails people is a lack of visibility. In other words, they create their goals… And again, assuming that they follow the right formats, so these are not just aspirations or dreams, but they’re bonafide defined goals, they lose visibility. They stick ’em in a desk drawer, they leave ’em on a computer hard drive, and they don’t look at ’em on a regular basis, and they just get distracted by the incoming stuff of life. So lack of visibility is a big thing.

11:27 Michael Hyatt: Second thing is, they haven’t really identified their intrinsic motivations. And here’s what I mean by that. We take an entire day in Five Days To Your Best Year Ever to do this, and ask yourself the question, looking at a specific goal, “Why is this goal important to me?” Now, an extrinsic motivation would be, “Because my boss said it should be important.” But an intrinsic motivation would be to move it from the external world to the internal world and say, “It’s important to me because I wanna get a raise, or I wanna get a promotion, or I wanna serve more customers, or something else that’s important to me.” So you gotta figure out with each goal what’s at stake.

12:10 Michael Hyatt: And we go through a process in the course, right? Help people identify what their intrinsic motivations are, their key motivations, so that when they get stuck in the messy middle, we all know what that is, when we get stuck in the messy middle, we know how to get out of it and how to keep moving forward. So that’s a second reason. The third reason, I would say, is just lack of accountability. Now, you can go crazy with this. In the early days when I was goal setting I would do crazy things like I would put all my goals on my blog. And the problem with that is, according to Derek Sivers who founded CD Baby and does a great TED talk on this, he says that you get the psychological satisfaction of announcing your goals that’s almost identical to actually accomplishing them.


12:57 Michael Port: Interesting.

12:57 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, so you don’t wanna do that. So, what I recommend though… And by the way, he recommends, don’t talk to anybody about ’em. I think that’s a bridge too far. I think the best way to do it is selective sharing with people that will hold you accountable, people that will inspire you, not people that will nay-say what you’re trying to accomplish, but people that will inspire you, give you feedback, be a resource to you, and most of all just hold you accountable, so that when you get in the middle and wanna quit, they’re the ones that are cheering you on and saying, “You can finish.”

13:30 Michael Hyatt: I’ve often thought in running long distance races, like half-marathons and marathons, there’s always a gazillion people at the beginning, there’s always a gazillion people at the end. But the challenging part is in the middle of the race when you want to quit, that’s where you could really use the crowds. And that’s where runners that know about that, will have people that they love and people that can cheer them on strategically placed at those points in the race.

13:58 Michael Port: Do you have a process for creating accountability groups, so that… ‘Cause a lot of accountability groups start off just like goals with good intentions. “Yeah, we’re gonna meet every week or every month,” and a couple of months later it starts to peter out because there isn’t really good structure around it, or not everybody’s fully committed to it. So do you have a process for that?

14:21 Michael Hyatt: Well, I don’t have a really defined process, but I will say this: What gets on your calendar is typically what gets done. So the most important thing you can possibly do if you’re gonna do an accountability group, and that’s one way to do it, you gotta get those events scheduled. And you’ve gotta treat them with respect, those commitments, those calendar items with respect so that you show up. And one of the things we also do in Best Year Ever is we have a private VIP Facebook group where people of like mind can be in that group and encourage one another and hold one another accountable. So that’s another way to do it.

14:57 Michael Hyatt: I often get asked, “Well, could your spouse be your accountability partner?” And my answer to that is, “It depends.” In my case, and probably in your case with Amy, but in my case, with Gail, absolutely. ’cause I know 100% she’s for me. She’s not gonna be somebody that says to me, “Oh right, you tried that before and it didn’t work.” You don’t want that kinda person. But if your spouse can be a positive influence, it’s awesome to be aligned around goals that you want to pursue, to talk about ’em. You can have some of the most meaningful conversations that you’ll ever have in your marriage or in a significant relationship if you’ll just do it around what you’re dreaming about and what your goals are.

15:38 Michael Port: Yeah, Amy and I do that with each other often as you might imagine. Not only do we live our lives together and raise children together, but we also work together. So if we are not good at holding each other to the commitments that we make, we probably wouldn’t do very well in either of those areas. It’s interesting, I often transpose the word “commitment” for… I use commitment instead of goals, often. It’s just semantics, it’s not better than goals, but I like the idea of making commitments and fulfilling them. I have this…

16:26 Michael Hyatt: I do too.

16:27 Michael Port: I have this view around myself that if I make commitments and fulfill them, then I’m a worthwhile person who brings meaning to the world. And if I don’t make commitments and fulfill them, then what am I here to do? What’s my point? And that’s always helped me move toward the “goals” that I set. I really think I’m making a commitment to do this, and once I’ve made that commitment, I say, “Well, that’s a non-reversible commitment.” That’s not something that in the middle I can go, “Well, I don’t know, I mean I tried.” It was about keeping momentum, that’s always helped me. What do you think, how do you maintain momentum and focus once you’ve set your goals?

17:13 Michael Hyatt: You bring up a really important distinction. I actually don’t make that in the course, but I’m mulling that over in my mind as you’re talking about it. I think a commitment really is different than a goal, and it’s actually better than a goal, and I think of my goals as commitments. But I think the word commitment makes it really clear, because in essence you’re standing for a specific outcome, and you’re committed to making it happen. Whereas a goal, I think sometimes that can lead to the language of, “I’m gonna try to do something.” And there’s no try, there’s just do.

17:46 Michael Port: [chuckle] That’s right. A goal seems to me that there’s an aspect of it that you have to do stuff for, and it’s off in the future and sometimes the future is not clear, and a commitment is something that you’ve already committed to. It is just part of your way of being.

18:04 Michael Hyatt: That’s right, it doesn’t cross your mind that you’re gonna be uncommitted to it.

18:07 Michael Port: Yeah.

18:07 Michael Hyatt: And so, that if you’re committed that goal, and I do teach this… But, if you’re committed to a goal and the strategy that you’re using is not working, you don’t change the goal, you find another strategy. So, I stay focused on the goal and I may go through a dozen strategies to try to figure out how I’m gonna get it done.

18:28 Michael Port: Yeah.

18:28 Michael Hyatt: Like this past course, or this last summer I created a brand new course on productivity called Free to Focus, and it was the biggest project I’ve ever taken on. And I thought, naively, that I could probably knock out the main content, ’cause I was just doing a brain dump from years of doing this, I could knock it out in two weeks. It ended up taking six weeks.

18:49 Michael Port: Wow!

18:50 Michael Hyatt: But I didn’t just give up on the dream just because it was gonna require a bigger effort than I originally thought. I was fully committed to the outcome and so was my team. But honestly, almost every goal or commitment that you sign up for is that way. If you fully knew what you were getting into when you married that woman, or if your listeners married that man or got into that relationship, or had kids, you’d never do it. But, there’s something about making the commitment and once you’re in it that you rise to the occasion if you’re committed, and go ahead and do it.

19:22 Michael Port: How many goals can I handle at a time?

19:26 Michael Hyatt: Okay, this is really important. In fact, I would say this is the second biggest reason why people that don’t accomplish their goals. First one is lack of visibility. The second reason people don’t accomplish goals is because they attempt too many. Now, the ideal number based on our research and our experience, again with 17,000 people, is the ideal number is seven to 10.

19:48 Michael Port: That sounds pretty good. I mean that’s no small shakes.

19:51 Michael Hyatt: No, it’s not too small. If it’s smaller than about seven you’re probably not addressing the various areas of your life. It’s more than 10, you’re gonna lose focus and it’s kinda like the ancient Chinese proverb that says, “Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” And that’s what’s gonna happen.

20:08 Michael Port: Yeah.

20:08 Michael Hyatt: You’re just gonna divide your focus too much and you’re not gonna accomplish anything. But, here’s another key distinction Michael, is we recommend that people don’t pursue more than about two, max of three, per quarter. In other words, here’s a recipe that won’t work. You set seven to 10 goals and the due date for each one of them is December the 31st, 2017.

20:29 Michael Port: Yeah.

20:29 Michael Hyatt: Bad idea.

20:30 Michael Port: Yeah.

20:31 Michael Hyatt: So, what you need to do is to stagger those, so that you have two to three per quarter, so that that can take the bulk of your focus, your energy and your resources.

20:40 Michael Port: So, how do you segment the different areas of your life with respect to the goals that you set, because you mentioned earlier, well you don’t just look at the things you wanna achieve in your business, you are so much more than just the work you do? So, how do you break out the different areas? How do you segment them? And then, how do you choose which areas to focus on in any given quarter if you’re only focusing on say three goals per quarter?

21:07 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, let me just give you the overarching framework which I think will be helpful. I think of life as three circles. So, there’s the circle of being, which for me involves the spiritual, the intellectual, the emotional, and the physical. This is me just the relationship to myself. Then there’s a circle of relating, which would be marital, parental, and social, my life in my community. And then there is a circle of doing, which would be my vocational life, my avocational life like hobbies, and my financial life. So, that’s kind of the pallet of different areas that I can pick from. Now we have something that we use called the Life Score Assessment, and I’ll give you the link so that you can put in your show notes.

21:54 Michael Hyatt: But, the Life Score Assessment is a free simple tool that allows you to assess how you’re doing in each one of these areas. Now, if some of them aren’t relevant to where you’re at right now, like maybe you’re not married or you don’t have kids, or you are not a spiritual person. Fine. You don’t have to include those. But, you assess yourself and you actually literally get a score, it’s a self-score, but it’s a score on how you think you’re doing in each one of these areas. Now the cool thing about that is it almost instantly gives you clarity, first on those areas were you’re doing pretty well so you can celebrate them and pat yourself on the back. And by the way, that’s important, because confidence is one of the keys to making progress.

22:36 Michael Hyatt: So, if you feel like you’re not completely losing in every area of your life, great. You can leverage where stuff is working and apply it to those areas where it’s not working. But, you also see from the Life Score Assessment the areas that need your attention, and those are the areas where we recommend that people set goals. So for example, if your finances are in disarray then they’re probably not gonna get better just by ignoring them.


23:01 Michael Port: Really? Come on.

23:03 Michael Hyatt: I mean shocking. But, nobody drifts to a destination just that they would’ve chosen.

23:11 Michael Port: Yeah, sure.

23:12 Michael Hyatt: So, the opposite of drifting is being intentional and setting goals.

23:16 Michael Port: Yeah.

23:17 Michael Hyatt: So, to set those goals in those areas, I pick out the few areas where I feel like I really need some work, like, my marriage is in great shape, so I probably won’t have a goal related to that. Now, I wanna make sure that I keep up the habits.

23:28 Michael Port: Yeah.

23:28 Michael Hyatt: But, I probably don’t need to keep a goal on that. But to be honest, my social area right now, I’ve had some changes in my friendships in this last year, people moved away and so forth, and I’ve gotta fix that this next year. So, that’s gonna give some attention. That may be a first-quarter project, it may be a second quarter project, it doesn’t really matter. I just have to stagger those in a way that make sense to me.

23:50 Michael Port: Yeah, and I imagine your focus will change over time. Right now…

23:55 Michael Hyatt: Totally.

23:56 Michael Port: Your focus may be a little bit more on your social sphere because of the circumstances that have occurred as of late. And in a year from now you may have accomplished those… Well, I expect you will have accomplished those goals, and you may not have as many goals in that particular area. So, it’ll change from year to year.

24:16 Michael Hyatt: It totally changes year-to-year based on my life situation. I’ll usually have probably three goals that are related to my career or my vocation. That’s just natural because that’s a big part of our lives. I’m not retired and I’m focused on building a business, so my most important goals are gonna be set there.

24:32 Michael Port: Yeah. It’s interesting. An area that I focus on significantly with respect to achievement of goals, is my personal financial life. Not just in the business specifically but personal finance. Investing and retirement planning, tax planning, all that type of strategic planning. And my goals are pretty well set there and I’m doing very well in the pursuit of the achievement of those goals. But I didn’t focus on those very significant… Even six years ago I didn’t spend a lot of effort on those. 10, 15, 20 years ago, none. And it’s interesting because on one hand I’ve said, “Well, I spent very little time 15 years ago on my finances ’cause I didn’t have any money, and now that I do well, I focus on it.” But that’s an absolute backwards way of focusing on it. If I had been focusing on it 20 years ago, then I probably would be even farther along than I am now. Sometimes we feel like, “Well that’s not part of my life. I don’t have that. I can’t do that, so I’m not gonna focus on that. I’m gonna focus on the areas that seem easier to me right now.” And then the areas that need more attention, they don’t get the attention they deserve. Do you find that happens when people come into your program, your training program, that sometimes they need a little help getting a little push towards the things that they really should be working on?

26:13 Michael Hyatt: Absolutely. Because what it does is… And especially with the Live Score Assessment, it reveals areas of their life that they may not have considered for a while. But the truth is, all this stuff is interrelated. If you think about it, if you’ve got problems in your marriage or a significant relationship, it’s probably gonna impact you at work, and it’s probably gonna impact your health. If you get sick or you’re stressed out in your work, it’s gonna impact your marriage. Probably gonna impact your relationship with your kids. All this stuff works together. And that’s why if we’re gonna have a healthy life we can’t afford really to ignore any of these areas.

26:48 Michael Port: Yeah, so true. I was actually… Jonathan Fields was on the show just recently and we were talking about his book “How to Live a Good Life.” And one of the things that I mentioned is that my vitality bucket is not as full as it has been in the past. I’ve been having some physical issues, some pain issues. And it has been negatively affecting other areas of my life. I’m tired earlier in the day, so my stamina’s not as good for work. My focus is not as good because I feel pain. When you feel pain on a regular basis that’s gonna affect the way that your mind works. So that’s my big focus for 2017. Where I had really not been putting a lot of attention on that as of late because I felt that the things that I was trying to do weren’t really working and I started to give up. I’d say, “Well, it doesn’t work it. It’s not working.” All the things that I have done in the past have not been effective. And so I sort of hit that wall of, “Well, I don’t know exactly what to do, because what I’ve tried that has worked in the past is not working.” And interestingly enough it moved me away from being willing to spend more time there. But it got to the point where I have to… If I don’t do it, I’m gonna be… I’m 46-years-old, I’ll be 50 in a 70-year-old’s body.

28:10 Michael Hyatt: Yeah, exactly.

28:10 Michael Port: And we don’t want that. So how do you encourage people, A; to set their goals? ‘Cause I want to touch back on this again because many people don’t do this, even after listening to this. They’ll say, “That a good idea. I really should do that. I’ll do that later.” And then it doesn’t get done. They say, “I don’t have any time for goal setting.”

28:36 Michael Hyatt: Yeah. Here’s the interesting thing. I often speak to groups of CEOs or Corporate Executives. It’s my background and my history, and so it’s kind of a natural area for me. One of the questions I always ask is, I say, “How many of you believe in the power of written goals?” And as you could imagine, every hand in the room goes up. Nobody doesn’t believe in that. And then I say, “Okay. I want us to pretend, just for a minute, that we’re on the honest planet, and on this planet how many of you actually have a set of written goals for this year? I’m not talking about, does your company, but do you personally have a set of written goals for this year?”

29:19 Michael Hyatt: Consistently, it’s about 5% of the hands in the room go up. Everybody knows they should do it, almost no one does it. Now there’s some amazing research that was done by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University on goal setting. And one of her findings, among others, was that if you just write down your goals you have a 42% better chance of actually achieving them. Just the mere act of writing them down, if you don’t ever review ’em or don’t do anything else increases the probability of achieving the goal by 42%. And I think there’s something about stating the intention, about getting clarity about what you want that has real power. And that’s where it’s gotta start. You’ve gotta make the commitment if you want a great life, and if you wanna have… And it’s really possible to have your best year ever in 2017… It’s gotta start by writing down a set of goals mostly because you need to be clear on what it is that you want, and most people aren’t.

30:23 Michael Port: That’ll increase… As for starting is great ’cause it’ll increase our chances of… Our probability of success will go up by 42%, but 42% is still an F, so we can’t stop there. What about, for those of us who, we really wanna set the goals, we wanna increase that probability right from the start, we’ll write it down, we got a better 42% chance now, but we’re afraid of failing if we reach too high. We say, “Well, I don’t know? How high should my goals be, how big should they be?” What would you say?

30:57 Michael Hyatt: I love this question. So I identify three zones in which you can set your goals. The first zone would be very familiar to all of us, it’s the comfort zone. This is where you don’t really have to stretch, it’s not a big deal. You’ve probably done it before and you’re only talking about an incremental improvement. So for example, if your company’s been getting 3% sales growth on average and you just click it up to 4%, that’s probably still in your comfort zone. Or if you’ve lost a little bit of weight in the past and you wanna just lose it incrementally a little bit more, that’s probably in your comfort zone. The problem with that is, all the research shows that if you set a goal in your comfort zone where you know how to achieve it, you don’t have any doubt, you’re crystal-clear, you’re confident that you can do it, you won’t. And here’s why, it’s not compelling. It doesn’t spark your imagination. It doesn’t take any focus of effort or will. And so those are the kinds of goals you don’t wanna have in zone one.

31:56 Michael Hyatt: Zone two is where the magic happens. This is the discomfort zone, and there’s three negative emotions that are actually positive indicators. First of all, there’s fear. When you think about that goal you just go, “Oh my gosh, what if I fail?” There’s gotta be the risk of failure for it to be compelling. Second emotion is uncertainty. You’re not clear on the path from here to there. You’re not sure how to actually accomplish it. That’s exactly where you wanna be because that requires intellectual horsepower. You gotta be thinking about it, you gotta be focused on it. You gotta be solving the problem.

32:33 Michael Hyatt: And then the third emotion is doubt. You’re not quite sure that you have what it takes. When I ran my first half marathon, as I stood at the start line, and man I was amped up because there were 30,000 other people at the start. I still had that sense of, “I’m not sure I can finish,” ’cause honestly, this is probably a bad training routine on my part, I had never run the distance of a half marathon even in my training. So there’s a little part of me inside that said, “I’m not sure I can actually finish.” But those are the kinds of emotions that are actually positive indicators that you’re exactly in the right zone. It’s gotta be compelling and it takes that to make it compelling.

33:17 Michael Hyatt: Now the third zone is where you don’t wanna be either, and that’s the delusional zone. That’s where a guy like me says, “You know what? I’m 61 years old, I think I’m going to compete to get on the PGA tour,” and…

33:33 Michael Port: [chuckle] Good luck with that, Michael.

33:34 Michael Hyatt: Yeah. Anybody that’s ever played golf with me says, “That’s total fantasy.” So that would be in the delusional zone. So you don’t wanna do that because you’re not gonna follow through on that either.

33:45 Michael Port: Yeah. So what do you think, if you can boil it down, what do you think the most important ingredient for reaching your goals is?

33:52 Michael Hyatt: I think it’s to identify your why. My wife always says “When people lose their why, they lose their way.” And so to clearly identify not just the goal, but to ask yourself the question, “Why is this important? What’s at stake?” I remember when I was writing my book, “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World” which was published about five years ago, I had a commitment to the publisher that I’ll return the manuscript on November the 1st. But my speaking schedule got crazy, I was really struggling to get it done. I did get it done but the manuscript was just sub-par. I was not happy with it. And I was very discouraged at the point of where I had to turn it in and I thought, “Maybe what I just need to do is give the money back to the publisher and just give up on this dream, and on this goal.”

34:45 Michael Hyatt: But then I went back and I reviewed the motivations that I had written down for this goal, and I had things like, “I really wanna establish my authority in this area, and I wanna be able to book more speaking engagements, and I know having the right book will lead to that.” Another thing I wanted to do was I wanted to help thousands and thousands of authors, many of whom I had worked with in the publishing business over the course of three decades, who couldn’t get a publishing deal, not because they didn’t have a good idea but because they didn’t have a platform. So long story short, is I’m reviewing these motivations and I got re-engaged with the emotion of that. And so then it suddenly went from, “I can’t finish” to “I must finish.” So, I negotiated with the publisher to get another month, rolled up my sleeves and turned in the manuscript and I was really proud of it. So I think sometimes it’s that re-engaging with what’s at stake both positively and negatively, that gives us the gas we need to finish the race and finish strong.

35:46 Michael Port: It’s so true. The why is so incredibly important, and when I look back on the things that I have done well with and the things that I haven’t followed through on or have, but not to the degree that really meant something, it was because I wasn’t connected to why I was doing it. And from a business perspective, I didn’t really start achieving the big goals that I set out until I truly connected in with the ‘why’, that was more than just me.

36:20 Michael Hyatt: So critical.

36:21 Michael Port: In the early days it was, “Oh, I wanna prove that I could do this,” and “I want the attention that comes with the recognition.” That’s only gonna get you so far. At least for me, it only got me so far. But when I really connected in with a real reason to do this that was bigger than just me… And for me it was family oriented and the people I serve, but first family. ‘Cause I’m producing something for us through the services that I provide. And when I connected them with that, then things really started rolling. And it took a little bit longer to really find that, than I would’ve thought, because I was a little misguided in my direction early on, because I was driven a little bit more by the need for approval than something larger than that.

37:24 Michael Hyatt: And that only takes you so far. I have a really good friend, Stu McLaren.

37:28 Michael Port: Sure. Yeah, I know Stu.

37:29 Michael Hyatt: And Stu experienced a lot of early success. He isn’t very old now, he’s in his 30s, but he experienced a lot of early success financially. And he got to the point where he kinda shrugged his shoulders and he said, “What’s the point? I’ve kinda proven that I can do this, so why should I keep going?” Well, then he got really excited about building schools in Kenya. And he started this charity called “World Teacher Aid”, and all of a sudden he got re-energized and he realized that more money equals more impact.

38:00 Michael Hyatt: And so now he’s totally motivated to pursue greater and greater goals because it means he can build more and more schools. And so, that’s just for him, the ‘why’ that motivates the effort. And I think that we all have to dig deep, it doesn’t have to be a charitable cause, but it has to be something so that it’s meaningful to us that keeps us going when we’re ready to quit. And that messy middle thing is for real. I can always count on when we’re gonna get the most email, when we’re gonna get the most support request. It’s usually in the middle of the year, usually the summer time when people run out of gas.

38:33 Michael Port: Yeah.

38:33 Michael Hyatt: And that’s when they’ve got too much invested to quit but they’re not quite sure they’ve got the resources to finish. And I wanna say one thing too Michael, that’s important when you find yourself in that situation, is to bring in an outside resource. You may be in the physical condition where you really are stuck. I don’t mean you personally, but just whoever is listening to this.

38:56 Michael Port: Yeah. Sure.

38:57 Michael Hyatt: Where you feel like you’re stuck and you feel like you can’t lose weight, or you can’t get in shape, or you can’t get yourself to the gym. And I was in that shape with strength training a few years ago, and one of my friends said, “Why don’t you hire a trainer?” And it doesn’t have to be something you hire. I could’ve found an accountability partner to do it, but it didn’t occur to me to bring in an outside resource. People may be in a marriage that they’re no longer enjoying. Maybe they had that romance initially, but now they’re contemplating getting out of the marriage, and I would just say, “Before you do that, bring in an outside resource.”

39:29 Michael Port: Yeah.

39:29 Michael Hyatt: There are so many resources today, whether they are books, or podcasts, or counselors, or therapists, or conferences, or support groups, bring in an outside resource. The people that are the most successful, are the people that are willing to enlist the help of a guide.

39:46 Michael Port: Or programs like “Five Days To Your Best Year Ever”. See how I got that one in there?

39:54 Michael Hyatt: I wasn’t gonna say it, but thank you for doing that.

39:55 Michael Port: But it’s true, it’s true. This is the kind of thing that I would do too. It’s not just for somebody who is just starting out on their goals, this is something that all of us do to continue to grow. So, what I’d love to do in closing Michael, since you have coached people in the science of success and achievement for decades, I’d love you to paint a picture of what it’s like when the people you serve go through an effective and powerful goal setting process, and then achieve the things that they set out to accomplish.

40:38 Michael Hyatt: Yeah. I’m just thinking of so many people, so many of our students. We just finished doing a bunch of testimonial videos. But I would say that what it’s like is this. The first thing that they experience is clarity, many of them for the first time in their life, they suddenly know what they want. And man, there is power in clarity. When you’re clear, you stop sleepwalking, you start automatically moving in the direction of your vision. So, they get clarity.

41:04 Michael Hyatt: The clarity gives them courage. Now courage is very different from confidence. They look the same on the outside… Dan Sullivan, one of my mentors told me this. They look the same on the outside but they’re very different on the inside. ‘Cause courage… You’re oftentimes scared, you’re frightened, but you choose to act anyway. You do it scared. So, people with clarity are willing to do what scares them for the sake of a goal they want to accomplish. And because of that they develop new capabilities. And then they get the confidence. So, people that are constantly improving themselves, constantly trying to make this next year better than the last, are people that are growing. And those are also people that are happy. And, I’m not the first person to come up with this insight for sure, but, happiness is not in arriving at the destination, it’s in making progress toward a meaningful goal. You never feel better and more excited, and more successful, than when you feel like you’re making good progress towards a goal that’s meaningful to you.

42:10 Michael Port: It’s beautiful. Your distinction between clarity and confidence I think is very powerful. The image that I got when you said that is of captaining a boat in the fog. Now, you can have a lot of courage and blindly try to blow through that fog making a lot of way at a high speed and that’s pretty dangerous.

42:36 Michael Hyatt: [chuckle] That’s good.

42:37 Michael Port: But if you have radar and you know how to use that radar, and you have courage, you can make your way cautiously, carefully, but consistently through the fog to get to your destination.

42:55 Michael Hyatt: That’s good. Good metaphor.

42:55 Michael Port: And the clarity is the radar. Yeah, it’s beautiful. Hey listen, where can people go… You mentioned… I’ll put it on the show notes, but you mentioned a free resource that people can get. Where can they go to learn more about having the best year ever?

43:08 Michael Hyatt: They can go to

43:12 Michael Port: Oh, that’s great, that’s easy. Hey Michael, thank you so much for the time. I just think you’re fantastic. You do so much great work for so many people. And please, keep doing it. Never retire. Until you’re 150, just keep going because…

43:32 Michael Hyatt: [chuckle] That’s my goal.

43:32 Michael Port: You do such great work 

43:34 Michael Hyatt: I appreciate you.

43:35 Michael Port: Oh, yeah, you’re welcome. So everybody, keep thinking big about who you are and about what you offer the world. Thank you for your time, I never take it for granted. It is a privilege and an honor to be in service of you. And we’ll see you next time. Bye for now.

43:34 Michael Hyatt: I appreciate you.
43:35 Michael Port: Oh, yeah, you’re welcome. So everybody, keep thinking big about who you are and about what you offer the world. Thank you for your time, I never take it for granted. It is a privilege and an honor to be in service of you. And we’ll see you next time. Bye for now.