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David Porkka

The Lost Art of Canyon Jumping

The man above wasn't always a canyon jumper. Last year he was jumping between dirt mounds in hockey pads.

Every day he would widen the gap between the dirt mounds and jump a little further. Until one-day his dirt mounds turned into canyons. This year he became the best canyon jumper in Utah.

No, not really, but here are some tips some tips I've learned from others and remixed to help you cross your own canyons and achieve greatness in 2020 and beyond.

1. Set SMART goals

Before you start working towards your goals, it's important to make sure your goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

For example:

A SMART goal would be: I want to increase sales by 10% in three months.

A goal that needs to be better defined would be: I want to have a successful business.

(SMART goals were likely first coined by Peter Drucker.)

2. Start small

All great canyon jumpers, start off as dirt mound jumpers.

If you want to get in shape, start with one pushup.

If you want to eat healthier, eat one new healthy food a day.

After you get started, you'll likely want to do more than one pushup and eat more healthy foods.

3. Track your progress

People tend to lose interest in things when they don't see improvement.

To make sure that you're getting some positive feedback from your efforts, make sure that you're measuring your progress.

When you're feeling unmotivated, look at the progress you've made over the last few weeks. You'll be inspired to continue making progress after you see the steady incline of a progress chart or an X'd out calendar that you used to record days you worked on your business.

4. Don't focus on too many goals at once

When our efforts are too spread out, we tend to not accomplish any of the things we're working on.

Instead, focus on as few goals as possible, until you complete them. Then move onto your other goals.

5. Find a partner

Try to find someone who has the same goal and work on it together.

You'll make twice the progress you would alone, and you'll have someone to keep you motivated and accountable.

6. Find a mentor

If you find that you've been putting in the work towards your goal, but haven't made much progress, it may be wise to find a mentor.

A good mentor will have achieved your goal, and be able to save you time and effort by teaching you from their experience.

If you can't afford a mentor, consider offering your skills or time to them, in exchange for their expertise in the area you want to improve.

7. Schedule time to work on your goals

Track when your energy is highest and lowest in the day and plan to do your most important work within this time frame.

If you have more energy in the morning, but have to go to work, consider waking up early to work on your goals.

8. Focus on the end result

Instead of focusing on all the pain and effort that it will take to reach your goal, instead think about the feeling you will have after you achieve it.

By reflecting on the outcome, you're better able to deal with the process of achieving your goal.

9. Keep it fun

If you're bored with the process, you're probably not going to make much progress.

Make sure that you're not too focused on the end result of your goal and miss the fun of the journey.

10. Don't compare yourself to other people

It's easy to lose motivation when you compare yourself to people who have already accomplished your goals.

To make the most progress on your goals, just focus on becoming the best version of yourself.

11. Prioritize your goals

If you don't set your priorities, someone else will set them for you.

By contributing less towards others' ventures, you will have more time to spend on your own ventures.

12. Think outside yourself

How will achieving your goals help other people?

WIll you be a better family member, coworker, or friend?

By focusing on the value you'll provide to other people, you're more likely to achieve your desired outcome.

13. Evaluate your relationships

Most people have similar habits to those they spend the most time with.

Are your friends and family supportive of your goals, or are they dismissive?

Do they have habits that you want to develop?

Pay close attention to who you spend time with, they can influence you more than you realize.

14. Make fewer choices

We only have so much decision power to spend each day, and every decision we make brings us closer to decision fatigue.

When we make fewer choices over menial things, we'll have more energy to spend on important choices.

Consider automating your decision process to avoid decision fatigue by sticking to the same morning routine, such as eating the same breakfast or wearing the same set of clothes to work.

15. Reduce your inputs

In addition to reducing choices, it may be wise to also limit distractions.

By reducing the number of stimuli you have to respond to, you're able to work more deeply on things that matter.

Consider turning off phone notifications when you're working and avoiding checking your email, if possible.

16. Eliminate bad choices

It's hard to eat junk food, if you don't have any in your pantry. And it's hard to procrastinate on YouTube, if you blocked it during your work hours.

Instead of trying to outsmart your bad choices, eliminating them is often much easier.

17. Change your environment

How do you feel when you're at home and at work?

Relaxed? Motivated? Lazy? Stressed?

Where we spend our time has a huge impact on what we achieve.

Stressful environments can lead to poor choices and reduced motivation.

You don't have to move to the other side of the world to change your environment though. Instead try working at the local library, at a coffee shop, or consider switching to a less stressful job.

18. Move more

Getting enough exercise will help you make better choices, feel more motivated, and make you more physically and emotionally resilient.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week for cardio, and lifting weights at least two times per week for strength training. (R)

To make this bearable, do exercises that you find enjoyable or watch a movie while exercising.

19. Get enough sleep

When we're fully rested, we have more energy to pursue our goals, make better decisions, and be better humans.

Don't try to achieve more of your goals by sleeping less.

20. Believe in yourself

Whether you believe you'll succeed or fail --- you're probably right.

Pay attention to your self-talk, and replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

21. Go public

Consider posting your goal on a social media or an online forum. This can help you stay accountable and motivate other people to keep on track of their goals.

22. Jump

The only way to cross a canyon is to make the jump.

Start working on your goals.