How To Progress More in 2015 Than Ever Before

My recent survey of THDC readers showed something that surprised me.

Even amongst people who feel they’re on track with their 2015 goals almost all STILL feel something is holding them back.

If that was a surprise, the things holding people back are anything but surprising.

  • Lack of time
  • Not knowing the right steps to take
  • Getting in your own way

Sound familiar? Well today, I want to share an approach that can help you conquer each one of these blocks.

To show you, I’m going to share one person’s responses to the questions, and look at how we might create a plan to address his situation.

Steve answered the questions like this:

What are you major plans or goals for 2015?

Business goal – to actually start one of my ideas this year!


Is something getting in the way? What do you feel is holding back your progress?

Committing to starting is my biggest hurdle. Going from no business ideas, to having too many, I find it hard to pick one and start it.


I feel like I’m cutting off other options, and maybe not using my time on the right one, even though intellectually I know that’s not true.


If someone could wave a magic wand and fix things for you – what would they do?

Great question. Assess my options and tell me which one to choose / focus on, or at least help me make a real decision.


Then they’d give me the 1,2,3….7.8.9 steps to take this year (like, in February DO THIS) so that, at the end of the year, even if I failed and don’t have a business, I can AT LEAST hit the new year in 2016 with one business under my belt that I TRIED.


Even that would be a step ahead from the previous 4 new year’s where I have just spent another year reading blogs etc but never starting anything.

Does this ring true to you too? Any of it sound familiar?

I want to share a strategy that I think can hit this head on. And it’s one you can use to tackle all three of the progress killers we’ve talked about:

  • Lack of time
  • Not knowing the right steps to take
  • Getting in your own way

Ready – here’s my approach:

1 – Start with the “Why” behind your goals

If the goal is to start a business, why is that?

Is that because you want to earn extra money on the side, seek independence from a corporate job, become a millionaire, spend more time with your family than you currently do, something else entirely?

It doesn’t matter why you want it, it matters that you know why.

We’re useless at evaluating options without criteria. So whatever the reason is, use that to evaluate your ideas – which one fits best with your reason why?

And if you feel like you need more information, force yourself: From what you know right now, which meets your criteria best? You’ll never 100% know, which is the point of step 2.

2 – Accept that you can’t KNOW which is best until you try

You can analyse the ideas as much as you like, but you can never know that one is the right one without trying. So spending a long time intellectualising and evaluating options is pointless.

Steve’s hints at this by saying that even a failure would be better than doing nothing, and he’s right – that’s the essence of making progress.

But if it were that easy, wouldn’t he have already done it by now? I think so.

So just saying, “give it a try” isn’t going to help. There needs to be more to it than that.  Accept that you can’t know, then move on to the next step.

3 – Choose an idea, and view your work on it as an experiment.

I’m borrowing very heavily from the Lean StartUp here.

What if we saw the work on an idea as just an experiment to see if it would work? A practical venture into reality, to test the idea, and see if it works or not.

Experimenting gives a large amount of licence to a perfectionist brain. What you do doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact perfect is overkill. What you do should be the minimum possible to prove your idea. This way, you’re taking up as little of your precious time as possible to make progress.

Ok if this sounds good, you’ll love step 4:

4 – Do as little as possible

This might sound strange, but it’s the logical follow on from seeing things as an experiment. Do the minimum possible to get to a result as quickly as possible.

This provides the ultimate freedom from the feeling of not having enough time.

So once Steve has picked an idea, instead of say feeling like he has to create profiles on all of the social networks for his new business, could he use his existing Facebook account to get the initial word out?

Instead of spending months designing a full website, could he achieve the result with a free one page site? Does he even need a website to prove whether there’s demand for the service he plans to offer? What would happen if he asked his existing contacts, or went to an in person networking event, or got in touch with a few of his ideal customers personally?

The point isn’t to do a sloppy job, or create a half arsed business, the point is to ruthlessly focus on what really matters, and spend your time doing just those things.


How doe you do that?

5 – Give yourself a step by step plan

This is why Steve’s answers stood out for me. His “magic wand” solution was to be given a set of step by step instructions of what to do.

I reckon Steve can almost certainly write his own plan with the knowledge he’s picked up over 4 years of blog reading.

He could wave his own magic wand.

Would that plan be exactly right? Perhaps not, but it has as good a chance of being right as any plan that’s given to him by someone else, especially any self proclaimed “experts”.

Even if he’s not confident in having all the knowledge, with the help of a few hours googling he can find out what needs to be done. If you’re reading with the specific aim of making a plan, it’s so much quicker and far more useful than consuming endless advice with only a vague purpose of “starting a business”.

Even with a plan though, things can still fall apart. Steve needs another rocket surgery tip in step 6.

6 – Make the plan simple, and easy to start

OK – not rocket surgery. But if he can see how to start the plan, he’s far more likely to actually start it.

Don’t make the first step so daunting you put it off and check Facebook. (the person who’s magic wand request was to make Facebook disappear – I hear you, but it’s not happening any time soon, best find a way round that distraction)

There’s obviously a balance between easy and effective, but we’re looking for only the thins which really count right?

Be easy on yourself so you can get the first few steps under your belt. And don’t worry if you can’t figure out everything. Maybe even getting steps 1, 2 and 3 down and getting them done will be enough to reveal what steps 4 and 5 should be.

Once the plan’s in place, my final tip is…

7 – Stick with the bloody plan, Steve.

Yes, even if it feels a bit uncomfortable.


Write the plan in advance and then follow it until either you succeed, or the plan no longer works.

  • It’s loads easier to write down that plan if you’re not busy trying to execute it at the same time.
  • It’s so much easier to make progress if you know exactly what you’re supposed to do.

The part of Steve who’s the boss writes the plan. The part of Steve who works for the boss carries out the plan and doesn’t question the decisions.

So promise yourself that you’ll follow the plan until you know it’s not working.

Not until you think there might be a better plan.

Until your experiments have proved that the plan doesn’t work.

The major reason why we second guess ourselves, and continually evaluate whether there’s a better option is simply because we let ourselves do it.

Follow the plan until you can prove it doesn’t work Steve! No telling yourself that there might be a better option – you’ve got to do what you told yourself to until you know there is a better option.

OK, that’s 7 steps to a better 2015 for Steve. But now I have to admit something:

I was very uncomfortable sharing this, because I’m working with a tiny amount of information. I’ve only spoken with Steve via email to ask if I can use his answers. I didn’t ask him any questions, or for that matter tell him I was going to call out exactly what he should do all over the internet. This isn’t how I work 1-1 with clients – there’s a lot more listening, and tailoring solutions that are exactly right for them.

But I’ve shared it. The best way I can prove to you that you’ll only know if you try something, is to try myself.

Is this exactly the right approach for Steve? I don’t know. Is it a viable approach though? Sure is. Could this approach help a lot of other people? Definitely.

It’s worth trying until we know that it doesn’t work.

The Create A Plan That Works programme is going to focus on helping you make your own plans to break through whatever’s holding you back. It’s going to make the difference between feeling like Steve on the last 4 new years and making the best possible result of 2015.

Registration is open until Midnight PST on Wednesday.

Click below to get involved

Create A Plan That Works