“Whenever I catch myself feeling fear, I will replace that with faith, faith in my ability to overcome anything that life throws my way.”
Last week, I shared “An Unconventional Way to Make 2022 Your Best Year Ever” and the premise of that episode was to measure your Best Year through a new paradigm, and that paradigm was based on the one thing you have complete control of: How you show up everyday. We broke that into two aspects: Your MINDSET and your BEHAVIORS.
Today’s episode is about “Getting Your Mind Right” or more formally “Optimizing Your Mindset” for 2022, which is both crucial and precedes everything else—setting your goals, making plans for the new year, and following through.
If you’re not in a good mindset, if you’re experiencing perpetual states of stress or fear or anxiety or depression, if you’re lacking self-confidence or feeling hopeless, it’s going to hinder your ability to make 2022 a great year.
Your quality of life begins and ends with your mindset. Your Best Year Ever begins and ends with your mindset. And you know what the best part about that is? You get to choose your mindset.
Today, I want to help you Optimize Your Mindset for 2022, and then create your affirmations and guidelines. In this episode, (Part 2 of a 4-part series), I’ll be sharing five (5) actionable exercises you can implement to automatically shift your mindset.
FIVE STEPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR MINDSET FOR 2022:
- Celebrate your gains from 2021. Take your net positives from this year, put them down in writing, and document your accomplishments, the lessons you learned, and what you’re grateful for.
- Clarify your optimal mindset and commit to it. Get clear on exactly how you want to feel, what mental and emotional qualities you want to embody, and what you want to focus your energy on.
- Identify your mental obstacles and how you’ll overcome them. Identify what doesn’t serve you and whether or not there’s truth in it.
- Brainstorm what you want to experience in 2022. Get in touch with what you want your life to be like and what you want to invite into your life in the new year.
- Review and update your affirmations daily. Create a living document that evolves with you to commit to your mindset and the work you need to do to create and maintain it.
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. Who else would it be, right? Thank you for tuning in today. And today is part two of a four-part series on how to make 2022 the best year of your life. And today's episode is all about getting your mind right for 2022 or more formally how to optimize your mindset for 2022. And today I’m going to give you five steps to optimize your mindset, and these five steps allow you to not just think about how to make next year different but I'm actually going to give you specific, actionable exercises to help you that will kind of automatically get your mindset in the right place. So, if you just do the exercises, it will shift your mindset automatically. So, grab a pen and paper or grab your computer whatever you take notes with. As I said last week, this four-part series is really a training. It's not just for you to listen to while you're driving or while you're on a run. I think that you're going to forget. I don't think. I know you're going to forget or miss out on a lot of the content if you're not writing this down. And today I mentioned this, I do mention this in the episode but I'll say it to kick us off. Whatever you're going to write down in your notes today, this is going to become your best year ever affirmation. So, I designed this episode and you can really incorporate last week's episode as well into this that you use today’s five steps in your best year ever affirmation so that you continue to review them and edit them and update them as the year goes on and as you prepare to go into 2022.
All right. Before we dive into the episode, I have two things for you. Number one is an acknowledgment and a thanking of our sponsor, and number two is a free resource that I mentioned to you last week as well. First and foremost, I want to thank Optimize. I’m sorry. That's the free resource. I want to thank Organifi. Organifi has sponsored the podcast for a couple of years now, and I've been a customer of Organifi for over five years. It's the only reason I brought them on as a sponsor is because I use their products and I love their products. Their products are some of the highest quality, whole-food-based organic supplements that you can find, and they're all in the form of powders. So, you scoop the powder in a cup of water or almond milk or throw it in the smoothie. For me, I do their red juice, their green juice, their protein powder, their immunity. I just took this morning their pure, which has lion's mane that helps you focus. As I was prepping for today's podcast, I took pure. It’s this lemonade-flavored supplement, grape, poured it in some water, drink it down, and it helps me focus. It helps my mental clarity, which is something I struggle with. So, if you want to improve your health or mental clarity, go to Organifi.com/Hal. And if you find something there that you love, which I hope you do, use the code HAL at checkout and you'll get an additional 20% off your entire order. Boy, did I fumble through that commercial?
And last but not least, I wanted to recommend Optimize. This is a completely 100% free resource that my good friend, Brian Johnson, he's the founder of Optimize. He was on the podcast a few weeks ago, and he let us know Optimize, which used to be $100 a year, and again, I was a customer of Optimize like 10 years ago, and I was for quite a few years. They're now free. It's completely free. You don't even put a credit card like there's no trickery. It's totally free. You go to Optimize.me/Hal and you'll get immediate access to over 600 book summaries, including the Miracle Morning. So, my personal book, it's my favorite summary I've ever seen of it, and 600 more of the best books on business, philosophy, relationships, mindset, personal development, you name it. Head over to Optimize.me/Hal and I highly, highly, highly recommend it. It's one of my resources that I'm using for 2022. I'm reading one book summary every single one to two days and then implementing it. So, highly recommend you do the same. All right. Without further ado, let's talk about getting your mind right for 2022. Here we go.
Hal Elrod: Welcome to the podcast, everybody, goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning Community. Today, we're going to talk about getting your mind right for 2022 or more formally optimizing your mindset for 2022 and beyond. Today's episode, we're going to go over five steps. And again, like last week, I encourage you to take notes. This whole four-part series is it's like going to a live event because I don't have a live event this year, but I'm doing the next best thing I can, which is giving you a four-part series really to help you prepare in writing, not just listening to this, prepare in writing for your best year ever in 2022. In fact, today's entire episode and the rest of the series, I'm going to encourage you to take notes that become an affirmation, that become a guideline for 2022, meaning, and this is, by the way, what I do every year. I create my goals and affirmations for the new year and they're kind of one in the same but it's a living document that I am consistently, constantly editing, and updating that has my goals and then it has my affirmations. And the notes that you took last week and the notes that you take today, hopefully, you're taking notes, will really become part of this affirmation, part of your living affirmation.
And so, I'd encourage you to start there and just keep that in mind as you're taking notes because I know for me, like when I have a realization which is often usually I’m falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning first thing and I realize, “Oh yeah, oh, I've been doing this not in a great way or I need to change this thing,” or, “Ooh, I’ve been doing this and I need to do more of it.” I just have some sort of clarity and then that immediately goes into my affirmations. I open up an app on my phone. I use an app called Standard Notes and immediately throw those affirmations or the new notes, the new realization, the new quote, the new breakthrough, whatever it is into the affirmations. And then I massage it in. I work it in and so I'll wake up, I'll write it in, and then later I'll go in and I'll edit it and make it so it's all cohesive and makes sense. And I actually share parts of my affirmations for this coming year, which are still in progress. They're not done yet but I'll share those at certain points during today's episode. In fact, today I want to start off by briefly addressing the elephant in the room. I think this is important and that's what's going on in the world right now. There's craziness and chaos going on in the world, and I think that to gloss over that and just to act like, “Hey, it's just another new year,” I think that would be doing a disservice to each other. I think that would lack sincerity.
I don't know where you are in the world. I know we have, in fact, I found out yesterday that we have 217 countries or people from 217 countries that listen to the podcast, which is wild. I had no idea it was around that. And a lot of the countries I'm reading, I’m like, “I didn't even know that was a country. I’ve never heard that before.” And some countries have one person that listen to the podcast, and some have hundreds of thousands and some have millions. Yeah, it's wild. But anyway, whatever part of the world you're in, this is a collective consciousness that we're all experiencing. And if you're in Australia or Austria or Canada, I'm here in America, but I have friends that are in these other countries and they're telling me and showing me and sending me videos of what's happening and people are being mistreated by their government in ways I've never seen. I've seen it but I've never seen it like this. I've never seen it so widespread. Our freedoms are being taken away. People are dying. Millions of people are losing their jobs and their ability to provide for their families. Others are having severe reactions to medical treatments, and they're not being reported, which is it's crazy to me. You know, the mainstream media is almost completely ignoring a lot of this or outright lying about it, and it doesn't look like we're going back to normal anytime soon, if ever. I don't know but it looks like the whole two weeks to flatten the curve, that's over and it's heading in a certain direction.
I want to address this because we don't know what the future holds. I mean, yeah, that's true always but right now with what's going on in the world, it's probably at least for me, and I'd imagine you could relate, it's feeling a little more, if not significantly more unpredictable maybe than ever before. And because of that, no matter what, when the future is uncertain and the more uncertain it is, the more important this is, we need to be mentally prepared to deal with whatever comes our way. We need to be mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with whatever comes our way. And if I have any superpower personally and I say this humbly, but that's it. It's being able to deal with unexpected challenges and adversity at the highest level really in an optimal way. When I had my car accident and I was told I would never walk again, I just accepted life exactly as it is. I went, "Okay. If I never walk again, I will be the happiest person that anyone's ever seen in a wheelchair,” because I will never allow my circumstances or anything that I cannot control to dictate how I feel inside. I choose how I feel inside. I was 20 years old and that was my decision. And of course, thankfully I did walk again. That was the other part of the mindset that I had is I will accept what I can't change, but I will put all of my energy into changing what I can change. So, I'm accepting that I may never walk again but I'm putting all my energy into walking again. So, simultaneously doing both of those things.
And then when I had cancer, it was the same thing. Every adversity for me, like I said, if there's anything that I've had kind of a superpower and I'm not bragging, I'm just sharing this because this is what I want to help you with if I can. Anything that I can share with you that'll help you to strengthen your mindset, not just for 2022 and not just to achieve your goals but to actually to be able to handle anything that comes your way in the near or the distant future and handle it in an optimal way so that you remain at peace and calm and clear and confident and happy and grateful no matter what happens to you. And I'm telling you that's possible. People I think often it's mutually exclusive where they go, “Well, if good things happen then, yeah, of course, I feel good. But if bad things happen, then I feel bad and I feel fearful and I feel stressed and I feel anxious.” Well, how about you can just choose how you feel? How about that? And we're going to talk about that today. That's one of the steps that we're going to cover today is choosing, deciding this is how I want to feel no matter what. I'm not going to allow anyone or anything to determine how I feel inside. I will determine that. Life will happen but I choose how I experience every moment of my life.
All right. I'm getting a little intense. I'm on kind of a soapbox here. But I wanted to address that like the world right now and my heart goes out to, I don't know what you're going through. I don't know if you've lost your job. I don't know if you're suffering in some way but if you are, know that I love you and I'm so sorry for that and you can make it through this. And like virtually all things in life, this is temporary. This, too, shall pass, as it was said. This is temporary. We're going through difficult times. I won't say who but one of my family members is going through a really difficult time. She's really struggling and I talked to her the other day and I said, “Hey,” and I'd basically told her that it's temporary and I said, “You've gone through hard times before and you've made it through all of them.” And she said, “I know. I remind myself of that, but this feels like it's the hardest it's ever been. It really does.” And I said, “I know.” I said, “I get it and I've been there and this too shall pass. You can make it through this.” And so, whatever you're going through, you, who's listening to this right now, know that you are stronger than you probably give yourself credit for and that you can handle anything that life throws at you. And you can learn from it, and you can grow from it, and there is a better version of you, a more resilient version of you not only available now, but there will be on the other side of you standing in your power and making it through the challenges that you're being faced with.
Last week, I shared an unconventional way to make 2022 your best year ever. It was actually an encore presentation of the podcast I recorded last year, and the premise of that episode was measuring your best year through a new paradigm. And the paradigm was based on the one thing you have complete control over. It’s how you show up every day. So, last week I addressed that we usually measure our best year ever. The criteria is like what we accomplished that year, our results, right? Or we measure our best year by what happened to us like, "Oh, this year I got married,” or, “I won the lottery like it was my best year ever.” And I suggested and invited you to consider a new paradigm, which is what if you measure your best year ever not on things that are out of your control? We don't always have control over our results. Sometimes you work hard and things don't turn out the way that you wanted, right? In fact, if you're employed and you lose your job, it's like, "Well, that wasn't part of my goals.” You can't always control what happens to you, of course. The year I got cancer, that happened to me. I didn't choose it. It wasn't part of the plan, wasn't part of the goals. The only thing that you have control over is how you show up every day. How do you show up every day?
And last, we broke that into two categories, your mindset and your behaviors. So, in terms of your mindset, what do you think every day? What do you focus on every day? What do you feel every day? What do you choose to experience every day that would represent your mindset? And then in terms of behaviors, well, very simply, what do you choose to do every day? You're in control of those things. You're not in control of a heck of a lot else and your results and everything that you want in your life is a result of those two categories, your mindset, and your behaviors. And so, today's episode is about, again, getting your mind right. It's about, formally, I would say that's optimizing your mindset for 2022 and beyond. And think about that. That precedes everything else, right? So, if we just had like, “Hey, alright, let's set our goals for next year or let's make our plans for next year,” and we're going to get to that in the next couple of episodes of this four-part series. But if your mindset is not in a good place, if you're experiencing perpetual states of stress or fear or anxiety or depression, or if you're lacking self-confidence or you're feeling hopeless, if your mindset is not in a great place, it's going to hinder your ability to be effective in everything else. So, this step precedes all of the other steps. Consider that your quality of life begins and ends with your mindset.
Your life's as good or as bad as you think that it is, as you tell yourself it is. Your best year ever begins and ends with your mindset. And you know the best part about that is? You get to choose. You get to choose your mindset. You choose whether to allow fear overtake you or whether you consciously replace fear with faith. I'm talking about faith in yourself, faith in your ability to handle whatever comes your way. If you want to add faith into a higher power into that, that's great. That's double the effect, right? But you choose your mindset so you can wallow in self-pity or you can remind yourself that you are just as capable, worthy, just as deserving of achieving everything that you want as any other person on this planet. Again, you choose your mindset. You can focus on, right now, I'm reading a book called The Gap and The Gain by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy. Such a great book. You may have heard it before. It's a new book but you can focus on the gaps between where you are and your ideals of where you thought you'd be or where someone else is or some other expectation, right? You can focus on those gaps and feel inferior or feel insecure or feel incomplete or feel like you're not good enough or far enough along. You can choose to focus on that, or you can focus on the gains you've made in your life, how far you've come and how far you can go in the future, and thus developing an unshakable confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Again, focusing on the gains, how far you've come, what you have to be grateful for, what you have to feel good about, the things you've accomplished that show you that prove to you that you have it within you to accomplish more or the things you've overcome in your life by focusing on those the gains, not the gaps, but the gains, you then give yourself that confidence that, "Oh yeah, I've been here. Maybe not been exactly here but I've faced adversity before. I've been in emotional distress, where I felt hopeless, where I thought, ‘I don't know if I can turn this around,’ but I did. I made it through.” You choose your mindset. You choose what you focus on. So, today, I'm going to give you five steps to optimize your mindset for 2022 but, of course, this is universal. This is evergreen. This is optimizing your mindset forever. And I highly encourage you to implement the following steps in writing. As I said, you can call it your best year ever affirmation for 2022, create your best year ever affirmation. In fact, that's what I'm looking at mine on my other computer here. It's called My 2022 Best Year Ever Affirmations, plural, affirmations. So, you can do the same thing. You can call it something else, too. I don't care what you call it.
But for starters, if you want to start there, just label your notes and maybe you took notes last week. So, maybe you start there or maybe you just start anew. In fact, I would probably start a new notepad for today and then you can kind of combine them but just so it doesn't run together and get confused, you can kind of separate it. So, do it however you want. I'm not telling you to do it. I am but you do whatever you want. You can just continue notes from last week. You can start over this week. And by the way, if you didn't listen to last week's episode, highly encourage you to do that and you can listen to today’s first. I don't think it's going to really affect it much. You can listen to today first, but I would definitely go back and listen to last week's episode, and that's Episode 407. So, you go to HalElrod.com/407 and that will take you to last week's episode, which was Part 1 of this four-part series.
All right. So, today, five steps to optimize your mindset for 2022. Step number one, and this is going to be an activity that you do, okay, step number one, celebrate your gains from 2021. Celebrate your gains. I used to call them wins but I'm reading this book, The Gap and The Gain. And so, as I was preparing for today's podcast, I switched the word wins with gains. Yeah, I'm loving this book and I'm using it with my family and stuff. And already we're in the last few days and they were like, “All right. We get it. Gaps, gains, okay,” and I'm like, “No, no, you're going to hear a lot more about it.” But, anyway, step one, celebrate your gains from 2021. What are your gains? Well, I'll give you three that I would encourage you to celebrate and to do it in writing, take inventory. But your gains are any net positive from this last year, any net positive, meaning anything that was a positive, a net positive. It was something that when the year started it didn't exist and then you created it or you experienced it or you overcame it or you accomplished it in 2021. So, here are the three areas. When it comes to celebrating your gains, I'd encourage you to do these three areas and you can go beyond this.
But number one, your accomplishments. What did you accomplish in the last 12 months? And if it's helpful, by the way, if you're like me and your memory is not so great and when you think of what you accomplished, you kind of go blank. If you have a schedule or a journal and I have both, I keep my schedule and I keep my journal, I encourage you to just go back. And that for me is how I do it. At the end of the year, I keep a daily journal. Not every day but more often than not, I write in it. And in my journal I can go back and I can read through my journal and I have a physical journal and I have a digital journal. I use the Five Minute Journal on my phone, and that's just for kind of celebrating. Every day I put a picture in at least one picture of something that happened that was positive for the day like a highlight like me playing with my kids or whatever it was. Or sometimes it's someone like the other day, Jesse Elder, my friend, Jesse sent me this really nice text message. I screenshot it and that was my entry for my 5-Minute Journal. I said, “Wow. What a nice message from Jessie.” And that way, when I go back, I feel gratitude when I'm reviewing that journal. So, anyway, the point is for your accomplishments for this past year when you're celebrating those and reviewing those, if you have some resources that documented your year like a schedule or a journal, I encourage you to go through those. And if you don't have that, you're going to have to go off your memory and do the best you can.
Number two, underneath celebrating your gains are the lessons. What did you learn from 2021 that will make you better in 2022? What did you learn? And often the lessons, they can often come from mistakes, right? Like, mistakes that you made this year and you're like, “Yeah. I really screwed up in this area and so I learned that I need to approach this differently.” Like in my marriage, I have learned a lot of things this year about how to better approach things with my wife and I do every year. But those often came from me making a mistake or approaching it in a certain way that didn't fill her up and then her explaining to me, “Hey, sweetheart, I'd appreciate it if in the future, you handled this in this way.” I go, “Oh, okay, got it.” Sometimes your lessons, though, were often from things you do perfectly, things you do well and you go, “Oh yeah, I did this year and I really have found my groove like I really found my stride. This was fantastic.” So, I learned that if I do this on a daily basis, if I do my Miracle Morning, I feel better. Like, wow, okay, that's a powerful lesson that I want to carry forward into 2022 and beyond. So, the second thing to celebrate and to evaluate and to articulate in writing are the lessons that you learned in 2021 that will make you better in 2022.
And then last but not least and maybe most important is gratitude. What are you grateful for right now? And you can, again, if we're doing a celebration from the previous year, what are the things in 2021 that you are grateful for? And by the way, you might be able to pull from your list of accomplishments and your list of lessons, right? I'm grateful that I accomplished this, that I overcame this. I'm grateful that I learned this lesson, et cetera. I'm grateful that I'm still here and I'll share for me - actually, I should look at my affirmation. Well, I'll share it with you. So, in terms of like one lesson that I learned this past year, I experienced a lot of challenges from chemotherapy. I was on chemotherapy for three years and, one, my body was I don't know if destroyed is too dramatic but being on chemotherapy, I went from 170 pounds to 127 pounds. So, I lost 43 pounds and that happened in three weeks. And then if you study chemo, I did 650 hours of chemotherapy and what it does to your body, it's devastating. It's harmful to your bones and to your muscles and to your organs and to your tissue and your skin and to your brain. And so, I experienced all sorts of negative consequences. Like, for one, I've been trying to get my weight back up to 170 and I've been stuck at 145 pounds for the last year or two. That's been the highest I can get my body to.
And so, you know, it frustrates. I look in the mirror and I'm like my legs are so skinny and it's frustrating. I'm doing squats and I'm like trying. And so, I went and got a blood panel recently. I hope it isn't too much information, but I got a blood panel recently and my doctor, he looked at my hormone levels and stuff, and he asked me without me saying anything, he goes, “Hey, is it hard for you to put on muscle?” I said, "Yes, it's so frustrating. Like, I'm working out, I'm exercising, and the little that I put on if I don't work out for a week or even a few days, it goes away.” And he said, “Yeah, based on these markers that it's probably the chemotherapy what it did to you, it's always,” he goes, “I don't want to put a limitation on you but it will probably always be difficult for you now to put on muscle.” Anyway, so the point is I've found myself feeling like a victim at times, which is like the opposite of the mindset that, for me, I don't believe in being a victim. But I've found myself unconsciously falling into that trap and feeling sad and like depressed and that like, man, my brain. I can't remember things and it kills me. I struggle with productivity. I struggle with so many of these things. Again, I'm not trying to like play victim here. I'm just sharing with you like, it's really been hard for me.
And so, one of the lessons that I learned, and I didn't really learn it last year, I learned this while I was going through the process that I'm teaching you today for this year to go into 2022. As I was doing these steps myself, I realized, "Wow. I've been feeling sorry for myself, and I've been feeling really discouraged and really sad that I feel like I'm not the person I used to be.” I don't have the level of focus that I used to have. Physically, I have all these ailments and I'm in pains and things that I never used to have. And now, no matter how hard I work on certain things, I just feel like I'm not the person I used to be. And when I'm in that victimhood, I'll be like, “I'm a shell of my former self,” and like It's really depressing. It's really depressing. Now, I'm feeling depressed that I'm telling you now. But the point is I realized, “Hal,” like I literally smacked myself when I realized this. I go, “Wake up. What are you doing? How is this serving you? How is you feeling sorry…” And by the way, I'm talking to myself but I'm probably talking to you too. “How is you feeling sorry for yourself for things that you cannot change, how is that serving you or anyone?” And of course, I knew the answer before I asked the question. It’s like, "It's not. Of course, it's not.” So, I decided I committed in writing, “I will no longer feel sorry for myself. I will no longer beat myself up. I will no longer feel down about the things I cannot change.”
I mean, I've known that for so long but I've been guilty of feeling out of control. Like, no matter what I do, there are certain aspects of my brain that have been damaged from chemotherapy and my body and I have to just make the best with what I have now. And again, I know that. I've been living that and teaching that for decades, but I had fallen victim to being a victim, if you will. And so, I'm sharing that with you because it, for me, was a really important reminder. It wasn't a new lesson. It wasn't like I didn't know that but it was just as powerful to remember that lesson. And so, again, I'll just echo it and summarize it so that you can internalize it if it serves you and that is there is no value in feeling sorry for anything that you can't change. There's no value in wishing you could change something that's out of your control. The only value is in deciding I accept life exactly as it is in this moment. I accept myself exactly as I am. And from this place from where I am in my life now, from who I am in my life now, from dealing with my reality exactly as it is now, I will make the best of it. Period. I will make the best of it. I will optimize my mindset. I will clarify the behaviors that I need to embody and implement on a daily basis. And I will give my best. I will show up every day in an optimal mindset, doing the things I need to do to move my life in the direction I want it to go. I can't change the past. I can't change the unchangeable. Can't change the things that are out of my control but what's in my control, I will do the best. I will make the best of it.
So, that for me was a huge lesson. And I'm telling you, that one alone, that was almost the most important paradigm shift for me, which is like, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Hal. Stop wishing you didn't go through chemo and regretting the decision to do as much chemo as you'd like. There's no point. What are you doing? Focus on what you have to be grateful for and move forward from this point. And know that you and I, we are just as capable, worthy, and deserving of creating everything we want for our lives as any other person on Earth and the universe is just waiting for us to prove it with our actions.” So, step one, take time to do this. I would schedule like an hour or a day or whatever. Sit in nature. That would be a great way to do it. Review your journals or your schedule and just take inventory of your accomplishments, your lessons, your gratitude. And if there's anything else that you want to add to that, that's fine. Before we move on to step two, let me explain why this is so important. This is so important because this gives you confidence. This makes you feel good. When you focus on what you've accomplished, you're reminded that you have the ability to accomplish things. When you focus on what you've overcome, and I put accomplishments and things you've overcome kind of, to me, if you overcome something, that's an accomplishment.
So, what you've overcome, what you've accomplished, when you focus on that, when you put your attention on that, you're reminded, “I can overcome and I can accomplish. I have those abilities to overcome challenges,” because we're all going to face them. Most of us are facing him right now, “And to accomplish things that will make my life better.” So, when you focus on the past, by the way, and just the book, The Gap and The Gain, that's kind of the premise of it is that when you focus on the gap between where you are and some ideal or expectation, you feel you’re never as good as you could be. You're never far enough along. And the thing is the gap always moves forward. So, when you accomplish something, now, there's a new gap for the next accomplishment. And when you're constantly living in the gap, you never feel confident. You always feel you're never happy because you're always focused on, “Oh man, once I achieve this next thing, then I'll be happy.” But then when you achieve it, then the gap grows again and you see the next thing and you go, “Yeah, yeah, now the next thing.” And this is the problem with goals. It's one of the problems with goals, the way that they've been taught and the way that most of us approach them is we think that, “Okay. I'm going to work towards this goal. And then once I achieve the goal, then I'll feel good, then I'll be happy.” But the problem is once you achieve a goal, yeah, you might feel good and happy for a short-lived amount of time, and then all of a sudden, now you're looking at the next goal. The horizon, it just keeps moving further and further and further and further away.
The gains are instead of measuring your success, looking forward at the gap between where you are and where you want to be, it's you simply turn around and you look behind you and you look at the gains. You look at everything you've overcome, everything you've accomplished, and just think about how this simple fundamental shift, what's the difference? When you focus on the gap, you feel like you're not content, you're not happy. It can create insecurities, all of these things. And then you look back, you look at the gains, you go, “Oh, look at how far I've come. Wow. Look at what I've accomplished. Wow. Look at what I have to be grateful for. Wow. That's amazing.” But then you turn your head to the gaps, and all of a sudden those feelings of anxiety and fear, those all come back. So, this whole book and again, it's The Gap and The Gain by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy is live your life focused on the gains. Live your life focused on the gains. That’s step one is to celebrate your gains from 2021. And the reason that’s step one is putting yourself in an optimal mindset by acknowledging your accomplishments, your lessons, and what you're grateful for, your gratitude, and then putting yourself in that optimal state, mental state, emotional state to continue moving forward.
Step number two, clarify your optimal mindset. And then I would add and commit to it. So, clarify your optimal mindset and commit to it. So, today's episode is these are five steps to optimize your mindset. Well, obviously, in order to optimize something, you have to be clear on what an optimized version of that looks like. So, you've got to get clear. Okay, I'm going to clear what is an optimal mindset. Get clear on that. So, meaning how do you want to feel? What are the mental and emotional qualities that you want to embody? You want to feel happy? Do you want to embody confidence? Do you want to embody peace of mind? What do you want to focus on? These are decisions that you have to make consciously. If you don't consciously choose what an optimal mindset is and think about it, most people don't do any of this. Everything we're talking about, how many people do that? How many people will go, “Hmm, in order to have an effective year or an effective life, an optimal life, what is the mindset that I need to maintain?” Most people don't ask that question. They're not doing this. This is the work that you're doing that is setting you apart from those that aren't doing it. This is what setting you up to have an exceptional year. So, for example, me personally, I want to experience inner freedom at all times. You know, in 2020, that was the main theme of our podcast for that year. In fact, I almost renamed it Inner Freedom, the podcast, because that's what we talked about more than anything. It was inner freedom is your ability to choose how you experience your life in any given moment.
I'll say that again in case you want to write it down. Inner freedom is your ability to choose how you experience your life in any given moment so, in other words, how you feel in any given moment. So, you decide, "Well, I want to feel happy, and I'm not going to let my happiness be dependent on things that are outside of me or out of my control, because then I'm not in control of my happiness.” That doesn't make sense. Why would I not set up the rules of the game of life that I'm playing to be that I'm in control of my happiness versus my happiness be dependent on things that are out of my control? When you ask it that way or you look at it that way, it kind of seems like, yeah, that makes sense. Why would I not decide that I'm going to be happy no matter what? Because at the end of the day, I want to be happy. And we've been conditioned to think, our society has conditioned us to think that happiness is something that's elusive, something that's found in the next goal, the next achievement, the next purchase, right? I mean, advertising does a great job of making us think that if we just buy that thing, then we'll be happy, then we'll be able to fly a kite on a beach. So, clarify your optimal mindset. So, again, for me, I want to experience inner freedom at all times. That's my number one. At all times, I want to remember I get to choose how I feel.
I feel good. “Wait, but there are all sorts of stuff to be stressed and worried about.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, there is. But in as many moments of my day as possible and it's not all of them, but just so you know too, I experience stress and fear and all of that every day. But the beauty of it is what we're talking about today, I have a foundation to fall back to. I will tell you this. Inner freedom being a priority, I begin and end each day meaning when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night, I feel completely at peace. I feel love, I feel gratitude, I feel joy, I feel bliss, I feel all of the emotions and the states of being that I have consciously chosen. Because in those scenarios, when I'm laying in my bed in the morning, when I'm laying in my bed at night, I'm not responding to emails or having conversations. It's just me. And so, I get to fall back on my default state of being. That's the inner freedom. That's what I've chosen. And I'm sharing that with you. It’s a little bit of a tangent but it's really important because I experience stress and fear and whatever, you name it, throughout the day but that's only because I haven't mastered being able to maintain inner freedom throughout no matter what's going on. I still react to things. I still react to this situation or that situation or whatever. But my default state of being is one of inner freedom. And so, I'm able to return to that not only first thing in the morning and last thing at night, which, by the way, it's crucial.
Like, being able to book into your days with total peace and serenity and bliss is crucial, especially if you're in the midst of a stressful life situation or circumstances that are out of your control. But because that's the default state of mind that I've not only chosen first thing in the morning and at night throughout the day, I return to it like I don't even know, probably dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times. Meaning when I feel stressed, it's only because I've become unconscious in the moment. I'm reacting to something that's happening unconsciously. And then as soon as I get a moment of silence or I’ll just use my breath every time I breathe and I remind myself, “Oh yeah, I'm completely in control of how I feel.” I choose to be at peace in this moment. I choose to feel bliss in this moment. So, that's the default that you get to return to. So, step two here is clarify your optimal mindset and commit to it, is that you're deciding how you want to feel, what emotion do you want to experience, what are the mental qualities you want to embody, and that can become your default. And the beauty of that is for a lot of people, their default is stress. Like, they go to bed and they're feeling stressed out at night because they haven't decided on their optimal mindset. They haven't decided how they're committed to feel at any given moment. And they're allowing their mindset to be misdirected by outside forces. And I'm sure many of you can relate to that but it doesn't have to be that way.
And this is the first step, like I said, make these notes. Make today's episode, make these notes, make these five steps, incorporate these in your affirmations for next year, starting right now. And then you read this and you're reminded, right? Awareness, understanding is the first step to transformation. If you want to transform your mindset or your behavior, awareness is the first step and sometimes it's the only step required. Meaning once you're aware that, okay, when you're aware, "Oh, I have the ability to choose how I experience any moment of life, I can choose to be at peace with all things I can't change by simply deciding that it doesn't serve me to be anything else. I can choose to focus on what I'm grateful for as I'm falling asleep at night instead of focusing on what I'm worried about. I can choose that.” And just that awareness can be all you need to transform. You go, “Oh, hey, tonight, instead of focusing, when I catch myself laying down to bed and my mind's racing and I'm worried and I'm fearful, that doesn't serve me. That's not going to give me a good night's sleep. Instead, I'm going to trade in those thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude. And I'm going to smile as I fall asleep thinking about my kids or my spouse or my life or my health.”
And for some of us, everything I read off might be a source of stress for you. You might go, “I'm stressed about my relationship with my kids. I'm stressed about my relation with my spouse. I'm stressed about my health.” So, sometimes in our lives, we have to dig deeper to find the gratitude. Sometimes in our lives, we have to dig deeper to find the gratitude. Sometimes we're in the midst of really difficult, challenging circumstances so much so that it feels like it consumes every waking thought that we have. And it will continue to do that if you allow it to. So, step two is to clarify your optimal mindset and commit to it. And by the way, more aspects of that optimal mindset, it's not just about being happy. It might be that you want to be confident that you want to be fearless, that you want to be positive, that you want to focus on your highest priorities. That's all incorporated into what is your optimal mindset. And again, this is a living document, these best year ever affirmations. It's a living document. So, you can add to it, you can change it. On any given day, you might read something in a book and go, “Oh, that is part of my optimal mindset. I need to incorporate that.” Great. Go add it in.
All right. Step three, identify your mental obstacles and how you'll overcome them. Step three, identify your mental obstacles and how you'll overcome them. This is very important. And I kind of mentioned this earlier when I talked about one of my mental obstacles is that for the first time in my life, I have been feeling like a victim at times and this has been going on for probably the last couple of years. Like, once I started feeling major effects from my chemo and you may know I was only sleeping two to four hours a night for like five months, and I became delusional and sleep-deprived, and then I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. And all of it goes so against my identity that it just caused me a ton of mental and emotional pain. And so, realizing that I was in that place and that it wasn't serving me, that was identifying one of my mental obstacles, victimhood I guess you could say had become a mental obstacle that I had never faced before, which is part of the reason it bothered me because part of my identity is I'm not a victim. I handle whatever comes my way and yada, yada, yada but I wasn't doing that. And so, I had to be honest with myself, and that's a part of identifying your mental obstacles and how you overcome them is you have to be really honest with yourself. You got to set the ego aside and address them one at a time. So, fear, for example.
And again, this is like for me, my identity is someone that I don't live in fear. I'm not a victim. I don't allow self-doubt to overcome me, all these things, but I had to be honest that, yeah, I've let some of these things creep in. I've unconsciously allowed my mindset to slip a little bit. And so, I encourage you when you're identifying your mental obstacles, just ask yourself what are the mental blocks that I have? Or the challenges with my mindset that are preventing me from having an optimal mindset, preventing me from achieving my goals, preventing me from living life the way that I want. Are you experiencing fear or self-doubt or uncertainty or insecurity? Are you focusing on the gaps instead of the gains? When you’re focusing on the negative, the things that make you feel bad about yourself, are you beating yourself up for your mistakes? Are you focusing on the negative with the people in your life? Something I realized recently was that, for me, I really value harmony. And this is something I used to think it was a strength of mine, and in some ways it is but in some ways, it actually reveals a weakness, which is I've always been since I can remember like the most positive person that I know. And I always thought that was a strength. I'm like the most positive person and I focus on only the good.
And what I realized, I don't know when, it was probably in the middle of a meditation, maybe in the last year, but I went, “Oh, wait a minute. I'm the most positive person I know, not because I'm so strong. It's actually because I'm weak in the way that I don't like negative feelings. I don't like the way they feel. I don't like feeling them.” So, the trick that I've been playing for the last 40 years, 30 years, or whatever is I just ignore the things that cause me pain. I just accept them and I move on. And while there's so much value in accepting what you can't change, I also realized I needed to be honest with myself that I had a problem with anything that I viewed as negative. So, if someone gets angry, for example, I view anger as negative. And so, if my wife got angry, for example, I would go, "You shouldn't be angry. Like, why are you angry? You shouldn't be angry. Let's just have a harmonious life.” And then I realized, "Wait a minute, she's allowed to feel angry if she wants. Like, I don't get to choose how she feels. She's allowed to feel angry if she wants.” And I realized, “Oh, the problem is within me. The problem is that I can't handle anger. I can't handle somebody feeling angry. That's not her issue. That's my issue.” So, again, when I say identify your mental obstacles and how you overcome them, it takes being really honest with yourself. And one way to do that is to ask other people or just to consider what has your spouse told you over and over and over and over and over again, right, that you deny, that you will not accept, that you say they're wrong?
And then you go, “Wait a minute. Maybe there's truth. Maybe the person in my life that spends the most time with me, maybe they know me better than I give them credit for.” And then as far as how you’ll overcome them, honestly, this is where awareness is often enough to transform or to overcome. Once you become aware, actually, I'll give you a strategy. This is real simple. Something I learned from Robin Sharma. He calls it opposition thinking. Whenever you catch yourself with a thought or you identify a mental obstacle in this case that doesn't serve, he said, "Just ask yourself what's the opposite of this? What's the opposite of this?” So, the opposite of the example I gave of not being able to handle when someone's angry is just to be at peace with someone being angry and give them space to feel their feelings. That was how I could overcome it, right? Instead of shutting someone down when they're angry and making them wrong for that, instead of that, I could just be at peace with the fact that they were angry and accepting of it and give them space, right? And so, how to overcome the mental obstacles that might be holding you back begins with just looking at, well, what's the opposite of the obstacle? What's the opposite of insecurity and self-confidence? What's the opposite of fear? It's faith. What are the mental obstacles and then how do you overcome them? You look at the opposite and you put that in writing. Instead of feeling fear or whenever I catch myself feeling fear, I will replace that with faith, faith in my ability to overcome anything that life throws my way.
So, I'll read my affirmations. I'm reading here, “I will no longer allow fear to drive me. I will be driven and guided by unwavering faith in myself and God.” Here's another one, “I will no longer allow myself to feel sorry for myself because of the damage chemo did to my body and brain. It is what it is and I can't change it. And I refuse to feel emotional pain over something that I can't change.”
So, those are some examples of me identifying some mental obstacles, one was fear and one was feeling sorry for myself. And then I talked about how I will overcome them, which overcome fear with faith, and I’ll overcome feeling sorry for myself with being completely at peace with where I’m at and who I am. Alright, step number 4, brainstorm what you want to experience in 2022. So, instead of setting goals, and we’re going to get to setting goals next year, or not next year, next week. And we’re going to set up next week, by the way, which is something that I’ve done for a while, but I have a name for it now, it’s called Inverted Goal Setting.
So, we’re going to do a unique kind of goal setting on next week’s call. But today, in terms of mindset, step 4, brainstorm what you want to experience in 2022. Instead of setting goals in this step, just get in touch with what you want your life to be like. So, do you want a life of ease? Do you want to experience more joy, more happiness? Do you want to experience a better marriage, harmony in your marriage, or a strong family life? Are you currently single and you want to experience partnership, a healthy, committed relationship? What do you want to experience in 2022? Do you want to experience financial security? Do you want to experience optimal health? Do you want to experience what I call time freedom, which is more freedom in your life to spend doing what you want to do, what fills you up, what makes you feel good? Do you want to experience great relationships? Anything else that you want to experience. So, step 4, brainstorm. And I use that word very intentionally because this isn’t about setting goals at this point. This is about you just brainstorming, what do I want my life to be like? What do I want to experience in 2022? And just no pressure on getting it, this is just you brainstorming and doing that. You’re brainstorming what you want to experience, not what you’re afraid of or what you want to move away from. You’re brainstorming things that will make you feel good, things that you want, things you want to move towards, things you want to invite into your life. And this is all part of establishing that optimal mindset for 2022.
And then step 5, the last step, and it really kind of just wraps up the first four steps that we just covered. Review and update your best year ever affirmations daily. Write that down. Step 5, review and update your best year ever affirmations daily. Again, this should be a living document that you’re always editing and updating, and as you evolve throughout the year, if things change, goals change, etc., then you update it in your affirmations. The affirmations become not just a living document, but your guiding document. And that is for me, every day I read my affirmations, and they remind me of what I’m committed to for this year. They remind me of the mindset that I’m committed to maintaining the optimal mindset so that I can be happy and confident, etc., and optimistic and focused and grateful. And then they remind me of the behaviors that I’m committed to engaging in on a daily basis. And anytime something comes up that I need to shift or add to my life, they go right in my affirmations, and I read them every day until that thing becomes a permanent fixture in my life, and then I might go to them, take it out of my affirmations, it just depends. So, again, step 5, review and update your best year ever affirmations daily.
Alright, I’ll just review real quick the four steps. Step 1, celebrate your gains from 2021. Look over the last 12 months and focus on the accomplishments that you had, things you overcame and what you accomplished, the lessons that you learned that’ll make you better in 2022, and what’s the gratitude that you have, what you are grateful for in your life? And starting with step 1, celebrating your gains focuses you on what makes you feel accomplished and confident and capable and grateful to go into the new year. Step 2, clarify your optimal mindset and commit to it. Get clear on what is your optimal mindset. What do you want to feel? What are the emotional and mental qualities that you’re going to embody this year? What are you going to focus on? Step 3, identify your mental obstacles and how you’ll overcome them. If we’re not aware of our obstacles, they’re going to stop us. When we become aware of them, we can transcend them. Step 4, brainstorm what you want to experience in 2022. And then next week, we’re going to solidify that into more concrete, actionable goals. And then step 5, review and update your best year ever affirmations daily.
And before you hang up, I want to say– or before you hang up? We’re not on a call. I want to just reiterate this. I’ll say it again. I said this early in the call, I think we kind of kicked it off with this. But your quality of life begins and ends with your mindset. That’s why this is the second step. That’s why before we get into the goals, this is so important. And again, you get to choose your mindset. You get to choose how you feel in any given moment. You get to choose how you experience your life in any given moment. And this is where your best year ever begins with the right mindset, with the optimal mindset. And it’s where it ends right now, looking back over your year focusing on the gains versus the gap, it’s all your mindset. And when you focus on how far you’ve come and how far you can go in the future, you develop that unshakable confidence in yourself and your abilities.
And the last thing I’ll share with you, I think this is really important, is to constantly be putting good information into your consciousness. It is so important. For me, whenever I feel in a rut, it’s almost always because I haven’t read a book for a week. And then I pick up a book and I start reading it and I go, oh yeah, that’s like a new idea, a new paradigm, a new perspective, and that can change everything. So, constantly, I’d be reading books, right? Or book summaries. Like I said, in the commercial today, you can get 600-plus Philosophers Notes, which are, in my opinion, the best book summaries from Brian Johnson. I’ve started reading one summary a day. I do every one to two days, depending on how long the summary is, they all take about 20 minutes. But I read one summary every day. I used to do this for a long time and I got away from it. But when I talked to Brian a few weeks ago, it reminded me, oh yeah, this was a huge strategy for my personal development was to read these book summaries. So, if you didn’t get a free membership to Optimize yet, I highly recommend that you do that. Just go to Optimize.me/Hal.
So, this is Part 2 of the four-part series, Getting Your Mind Right for 2022. Next week, we’re going to talk about establishing your goals and your mission for 2022, and I’m going to share with you a new technique that I’ve been implementing that I call Inverted Goal Setting. And so, I’ll just leave that as a tease, alright. So, we will talk next week. Thank you so much for listening today. You know I love you, I appreciate you. It means so much to me that you listen, not just listen, but give me an opportunity to be a part of your life, like that really means more to me than you know. So, thank you, I love you, and I will talk to you next week.
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