What are the goals that make you feel alive and energized but you’re putting off the most? You know the ones I’m talking about. The goals that make you light up inside. Maybe it’s starting a new business or finishing a book project, but you’re afraid to commit to it.
Here’s the thing: when you’re chasing after goals that make your heart skip a beat with excitement – you’re not just pursuing a dream. You’re also cultivating your own happiness. And sometimes, those goals can feel daunting and so big that we don’t even know where to start.
In today’s episode, I share my top strategy for tackling your biggest goals and dreams head-on. You’ll learn to build progress and momentum over time so that huge goals won’t scare you but excite and motivate you. Eventually, you’ll look back and realize you’ve accomplished something truly incredible.
- How to tap into your fear to achieve goals that seem impossible.
- Why pursuing big, audacious goals makes you feel alive and energized.
- The awesome things that happen when you push beyond your comfort zone.
- The power of incremental progress and getting 1% better each day.
- The importance of leaning toward action in everything you do.
- The #1 reason people fail to achieve their goals is because of poor planning.
- How daily gratitude (even for the things that scare you) sets you up for happiness and success.
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Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)
Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
- The Miracle Equation
- Jim Collins
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
- Jeremy Reisig
- BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)
- Mike Koenigs
- John Lee Dumas
- Entrepreneurs on Fire
- John Assaraf
- The Secret
- JJ Virgin
- Dave Asprey
- Laila Ali
- Celeste Fine
- Tim Ferriss
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- Garrett Gunderson
- AJ Harper
- Write a Must-Read: Craft a Book That Changes Lives―Including Your Own by AJ Harper
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host Hal Elrod, and I am going to invite you today. I’m going to encourage you to listen to the entire podcast all the way through, even if you do it in a few different parts. I’m wondering why, Hal, you don’t normally tell us to listen to the whole thing, and maybe you do listen to the whole thing every time, I don’t know. But I just read recently that the average podcast listener only completes 18 to 23 minutes of a podcast. And I think that’s probably why it’s in my consciousness to mention this.
But the reason I’m saying it specific to this podcast is I really feel like this is one where (a) I think it kind of started a little slow, and then it really ramped up toward the second half. And then it really closes with a powerful message on implementing this into your life. And if you only listen to the first half, I think you’re going to miss the best part of this episode.
All right. And we’re talking today about originally, I was calling this episode The Link Between Goals and Happiness because I had recently realized that when I took on a certain kind of goal, a big, meaningful, measurable outside the box, outside of my comfort zone, scary, possibly terrifying goal, something I’d never done before that I dreamt about, that I had wanted for a long time. When I finally got over my fear, and not even got over it, just faced it and said, “Okay, I’m afraid. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. I’m not sure if I’m capable of this, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m going to try. I’m going to give it my all until I get there. I’m going to see what happens.”
Once you commit to it, then I found, “Wow.” All of a sudden, that fear is transmuted into excitement, which is we’re going to talk today about the highest form of happiness is excitement. When you’re excited, it’s like the ultimate. You are exuding just energy and love and excitement. And so, we’re really today going to talk about why this type of a goal, what Jim Collins called a big, hairy, audacious goal, or what I call in The Miracle Equation a tangible, measurable miracle. And I call it that because it’s a goal that’s so meaningful to you and so scary and big that when you finally achieved it, it feels like a miracle. You can hardly believe that you did it.
And so, that’s what I’m inviting you to get those goals, pull them off the shelf and integrate them. Maybe just one. Not a lot. Just one. One at a time is fine. But to pull those goals off the shelf, the ones that you might look back at one day, if you don’t do it and go, “Oh man, what a tragedy. I never committed. I never gave it a shot because I was scared I might fail or scared I wasn’t capable or scared it would take too long,” whatever it was.
Today, I’m inviting you to face the fear, to grab the most meaningful goal that you have that’s on the shelf, pull it out, dust it off, and commit. And we’re going to talk about, I’m going to give you a couple of examples today of how I’ve done that and how it turned out so that you can borrow from those stories and integrate the lessons into writing your story.
Before we dive in, let me take just a minute to thank our sponsor, Organifi, for making the highest quality nutritional supplements in powder forms. You can put them into a glass of water or a cup of oat milk or almond milk or into your smoothie, like I do every day with Organifi’s vanilla protein powder. And then I have the Red Juice every day as well after lunch. When I’m sick, I have their Immunity or their Critical Immune. My mother-in-law this morning, I’m actually allergic to ashwagandha and their green juice has ashwagandha in it. Now, don’t let that deter you. Most people love ashwagandha. In fact, my neighbor, Hillary, I give her the products that have ashwagandha because she loves them. But my mother-in-law this morning, I gave her the green juice. I said, “Hey, Organifi sent me these by mistake. They forgot that I’m allergic to ashwagandha.” And so, my mother-in-law, she’s the benefactor of that.
But if you want to improve your health, energy, mental clarity, immunity, head over to Organifi.com/Hal, that is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I, Organifi.com/Hal, and use the discount code H-A-L at checkout to get 20% off your entire order. And then, real quick, last but not least, before we start the episode, I just wanted to mention to you, do you have the Miracle Morning app? The Miracle Morning app allows you or enables you to guide and track your SAVERS too. It’s got a built-in journal, affirmations creator, and it’s completely free.
And if you already have the app, have you tried the premium version yet? You can do a seven-day free trial and it has over 100 guided tracks to facilitate your SAVERS. Literally, you can wake up in the morning, push play, and complete all of your SAVERS in a matter of minutes. It really does make your Miracle Morning easier and more effective, and you’re being guided by what I call the Miracle Morning mentors, if you will. We’ve got about a half dozen or so mentors in the app that are leading you through guided visualization, guided meditation, guided affirmations, guided exercise, scribing, you name it, the entire SAVERS. It’s a library that leads you to all of it.
And so, if you download the app in the App Store or the Google Play Store, you already have the app, click on one of the tracks with the little lock on it. And that, of course, gives you a chance to do a seven-day free trial. And there are free tracks in there as well too, just to see how you like it. So, check out the Miracle Morning app in the App Store or Google Play.
And without further ado, let’s talk about the most important goal for you to set and how that correlates between how happy and excited you get to live every day of your life.
Hal Elrod: Goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning Community. Hey, so this is round two. I recorded this podcast yesterday. It was 47 minutes, I was on fire. In fact, I was so intense and passionate that I lost my voice or got all scratchy. And then I went to transfer it to my computer to send to my podcast producer. And I realized that the micro SD card that actually it records on was not in the mixer. And so, here we go. We’re doing it again. Oh, it’s always a little disappointing when you pour 47 minutes into something that you go, “Oh, it wasn’t recording,” but guess what? It’s going to be better. This happens sometimes.
Quick bonus tip, quick hack. I’m wearing earplugs right now, and you might be wondering, why you’re wearing earplugs? Because I wear them when I sleep, that’s the first potential hack, it just helps you not wake up, but you might not need that. But here’s what’s unique. So, I struggle with focus. They call it ADHD from a clinical perspective. I don’t know how I feel about that diagnosis, but I’m struggling to focus. I’ve found that this is a phenomenal hack to help focus, which is wearing earplugs.
And it started because in the morning, I’d woke up with my earplugs, and then I would just keep them in as I went into my Miracle Morning and there was something about just really not being distracted by any sounds, and then where they really helped is when I write. So, when I’m writing books, I use them now, or writing anything. And yeah, it’s really amazing to me how it really helps me to be focused. And my wife hates it because she’s like, she walks into the room and, hey, she asks me a question. I’m like, “What was that”? She’s like, “Take out your earplugs.” But anyway, that’s a personal family issue, so don’t worry about it.
All right. So, today, we’re going to talk about The Link Between Goals and Happiness, or excitement. That was yesterday, as I was recording the podcast, I started with the intention of it being the link between goals and happiness. But as you’ll see today, as I started to talk through it, I realized that really, excitement is maybe the highest form of happiness. We’re going to talk about that.
I’m going to start, I’m going to share with you a couple of stories. And these are stories where I went from being not super excited about life to being extremely excited about life, and how goals and specific types of goals were the catalysts to make that transition. And ultimately, the purpose of today’s podcast is that you walk away with a little bit of a different way of thinking but also just challenging you, encouraging you, inviting you to think through the goals that you currently have, and then to possibly set new goals or grab goals from the past or that you’ve thought about and put off and really bring those into the present.
So, here is the first story. I took a sabbatical back in 2021, roughly the last six months of the year. My wife and I had been saving money for a couple of things. One is to move. We wanted to live on land. I’ve mentioned before, we bought some property and some animals. And we’re kind of living the homesteading life, if you will. And that was a dream for a long time, her dream, kind of my dream, but mostly her dream. And so, we saved and we planned and we sold our house when the market was high, all these things to be able to pull this off.
But the second thing is, I had been on chemo for three years. I had been off chemo for, I guess, about a year when we made the move. But you probably know if you listen to past episodes, and you may not listen, you may not know, but I went through the most difficult time in my life beyond the cancer or the chemo. It really started taking a toll on my brain chemistry and on my physical body. And I developed anxiety. Actually, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I was sleeping two to four hours a night for about six months, which left me, I mean, I was hallucinating. I thought people were trying to kill me, like you have no idea. And maybe you do, actually, maybe you have been there. But I was in a wild, like I didn’t remember what it felt like to be happy, like, literally. I couldn’t even remember what being happy felt like. I was suicidal. I was a mess.
And I also had started to build a team. I tried to build a team for the Miracle Morning and that increased my anxiety and I ended up having to let everyone go. And it broke my heart. I’m like, “Guys, I’m not capable of leading you. I can’t really lead myself.” And so, I hired a team, we were all fired up, and then I had to let the team go just a matter of months after hiring them because I would get ready for a meeting and I’d be shaking. I’d have such extreme anxiety that I would be literally shaking my hand or be shaking my– I would be hyperventilating. It was wild. And I never had that before.
And so, because of all of that, I decided to take, I saved money for a six-month sabbatical. So, I saved enough money and set myself up. And it was part of it, it was, again, the sale of the house, like we moved. And I planned this period where I’d be able to take six months and not have to work where my sources of income, like my passive sources of income, like book sales, that kind of thing, would support us, savings would support us, and so on.
And I took the six-month sabbatical because I needed a break. I couldn’t handle life. I was struggling. And taking the six months off, it ended up being not nearly as fulfilling and restorative as I had hoped. And I wasn’t really super happy during that time, and that was my main goal was just be happy. And I really focused on spirituality. And I shouldn’t say, I definitely made strides in my inner peace and my ability to be happy. But on a scale of 1 to 10, I was still like a 5 or a 6, I was not in a great place.
And so, at the end of those six months, which was around Christmas, New Year’s 2021, I was planning the New Year. And I need to extend the sabbatical. Like, I’m not ready to get back to work. I’m not mentally or emotionally ready. And it’s so weird to say this because that had always been my superpower, was like the mental and emotional intelligence or strength or whatever until I completely just lose control, lose my ability to be emotionally stable. It was really difficult to deal with it. And it was an identity crisis as well because I’m an author and a coach or a speaker, like I teach people how to optimize your mental and emotional well-being. And when you lose control of your own, is the guy that is supposed to help others, it really messes you up.
And so, I did a sabbatical. I was like, all right, I was talking my wife and I go, “Financially, I’m not sure how this will work, but I need to extend it for six more months.” And at this point, by the way, our marriage is really in a tough place. We had been struggling since the cancer began. And it was great at first, but then we didn’t see each other for almost a year, very irregularly. Our sex life completely dried up for two years. I mean, it was probably three years. So, for my wife, that was probably– not probably, it was very difficult. And so, just we were in a really tough place.
So me telling her I need six more months to not work, she was like, “Oh, my God. Like what?” She’s like at the end of a rope, right? And so, during a meditation/prayer session, I was thinking of what to do in the six-month, extending my sabbatical a little bit longer. I needed more time to get my sh*t together. And the message that I got from the universe or God or my subconscious was like, “Nope, sorry, you got your six-month sabbatical. People are really struggling right now, really struggling, and all hands on deck, every person is needed right now.” So, I got the message. I had to get back into the game. I had to work again. I received it loud and clear and I was like, “Okay, oh, I got to do it. I got to force myself to do it.”
And as I started to enter back into my normal life with work and interviews and speeches and this and that, I further realized that I needed to not only get back to work the way that I used to, that it was actually time for me to evolve and get out of my comfort zone and build a team again, like I had tried to do before and failed. And I had a lot of trauma from that, trauma from the time that I was experiencing trauma and then had to let all the people go. And it was like trauma on top of trauma.
And looking back at that, I was scared to try again, to try and fail. And maybe you’ve had that in your life where you’ve set a goal in the past, you’ve tried something, maybe you started a business, you tried to be an entrepreneur, and you failed. And so, now, you’re jaded, you’ve got some trauma or some micro trauma around doing something. And so, doing it again is scary. And so, I was scared to do it. And just between you and me, this being a CEO, that’s not my natural skill set, at least I don’t think. Well, I had never done it, so I didn’t have the skills to do it.
But I realized as I had a fear that I didn’t know if I should try this again, because to do this, by the way, I was going to have to take a loan. I was going to have to take on an investor to be able to have enough income to pay payroll and bring on the amount of people and the team that I wanted. We went from me and Tiffany. It’s been me and Tiffany for the last almost seven years, I think. Tiffany started as my intern and then became my assistant and then my chief of staff. And then now, in this transition, I was asking her if she wanted to be the COO of the Miracle Morning, Chief Operations Officer, and she was excited. She was like, “Yes, I love that. I’m ready to grow and expand to the next level and take more responsibility.” And that encouraged me, thinking, okay, it’s not just me by myself. I got Tiffany to help, and she was supportive. We brainstormed like, okay, what’s this going to look like?
And I realized that while I had this fear that I’m not competent as a CEO, like I’ve had CEO as my title on my corporate documents for 15 years, but I never operated as a CEO where I had an executive team or leadership team that I was organizing meetings and leading meetings and setting goals and targets. It’s never organized like that. I’ve just been solopreneur, author, speaker, “Hey, Tiff, what emails do we need to send to the AirCheck today?” Really, minimally involved. Other people were always like vendors and this and that.
And so, Tiffany, she was excited and she reminded me like, “Hal, you can learn anything.” It’s like my own medicine, right? It’s like, yeah, I’ve said, I always say that we’re all one book away from learning what we need to learn to transform any area of our life or become the person that we need to be to transform in any area of our life and I realized. So, I went online and I started ordering books on how to be a CEO and leadership and how to run a company and how to run a startup. So, that’s what’s weird is Miracle Morning is like an established 10-year brand, but as a company, we’re a startup. We’re all learning from scratch.
And so, let me bring this full circle to this episode, what this is about and why I’m telling you the story, is that I was scared to take on this new challenge of building a team, taking on the risk of bringing on an investor, and then using that money to hire people that may or may not perform and I may or may not be capable of leading them to perform. But once I got over the fear and I’m sure you found this to be true in your own life, you do the thing you’re afraid of, and then the fear turns into excitement. And I started to get excited, really excited. And Tiffany and I, we bought a book called Traction by Gino Wickman, who I had on the podcast a couple of years ago. But it’s one of those popular books on how to structure an organization in terms of your 10-year targets and your three-year goals and your annual goals and your quarterly rocks, and then breaking it into your weekly team meetings and how you organize those. It’s a really detailed blueprint on how to structure a company.
And so, Tiffany and I both bought that. We read that, we got excited, we learned. And Tiffany started to tell me, she’s like, “I haven’t seen you this excited in, I don’t remember.” I was so excited by the new challenge and the new opportunity. And here’s what I want to say, on the other side of your fear, the fear of setting a goal that is outside of your comfort zone, that is beyond what you’ve ever done before, once you commit to the goal and you schedule time to start working on that goal, and maybe it starts with Googling an article of how to achieve that goal or reading a book on how to achieve that goal, but once you start moving through the fear, the fear parts of it are replaced with excitement. Your emotional profile, if you will, goes from fearful, and maybe filled with self-doubt, to excited and hopeful and optimistic.
Literally, this is very new for me. We just had our first company retreat in January, so two months ago, a two-day retreat here in Austin, Texas. And I was like, “How do we lead a two-day retreat?” We did. We hired somebody, Jeremy Reisig, to help us through this process of organizing a business because he’s done that for exchange. But the prospect of getting out of my comfort zone, here’s what it was, I thought about this. I thought I’ve never led an organization. And I want you to think about your goals, think about something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve never done. Maybe it’s write a book or start a business or found a nonprofit or run a marathon. Think of a big significant goal, something that you’ve thought about. Maybe you’re working on it now, but maybe it’s something that you’ve been putting off and putting off and putting off.
In fact, even if you have, I’d encourage you to actually think about those goals. Think about the goals that you’ve thought about. Maybe they’re in the dream category because you’ve never actually broken them down or put them in writing as a goal. They’ve just been in the back of your head, floating around on your heart, thinking, I’d love to do this, but I don’t know how. I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just keep putting it off until someday. That’s the greatest dream killer is putting it off until someday. Deciding that now never matters more than any other time in your life because it does, because it’s what you’re thinking about now, what you’re committing to now. The goals you’re willing to set now.
And if you wait, if you live in a someday mindset, it is a perpetual, never-ending mindset, and a year will go by and then another and then a decade, and you’ll look back and you’ll go, “Man, I wasted another year.” Not that you wasted it, but you wasted it in terms of like, I didn’t do the things that I’ve always wanted to do. And so, this episode is really a gut check. It’s an invitation. It’s a draw your line in the sand and be like, hey, what’s that thing that you want to do? What’s that goal that you want to set, that dream that you want to live, but you’ve been too scared, too uncertain? Write it down and make a commitment.
And so, for me, here’s what I started to think about that I’m going to invite you into as well, is I went, you know what? I’ve never led an organization. I’ve never been a CEO in terms of a traditional CEO and the roles and responsibilities of that position. And I thought, maybe I’m going to suck at it, like maybe I’m going to learn, and basically, I’m all in for a year this year, by the way. I’m all in for a year to build this organization. I’m optimistic that it’s going to turn into– year after year after year. But I’m like, I’m going to give it my all for one year, and then I’m going to reevaluate and see what happens.
But what I realized is that how tragic would it be if I get to the end of my life and I never at least tried. And imposing that question to you in relation to your big goals and dreams. How tragic would that be if you get to the end of your life and you never even tried? Things that you thought about, you dreamt about, you thought maybe, nah, maybe no, I’m not ready. It’s not the right time. It’s never the right time. Rarely, are we ready. We’re only ready to do what we always have done. Very, very rarely, if ever, do you feel compelled or qualified, ready to do what you’ve never done.
It’s kind of like if you’re a parent, think about how you never felt ready to be a parent. You talk to any parent, like a new parent. The baby’s due in three weeks or was just born, you’re just like, I don’t think I’m ready. I don’t know if I’m ready for this. It’s like now, you never feel ready because you’ve never done it. You don’t know. And so, you’ve got to step forward into the unknown. You’ve got to face your fears and set those big goals.
And here’s the correlation. We become happier when we are growing, when we are evolving. Happiness is on the other side of your comfort zone. You maybe have heard that quote before, heard that said, and I mentioned earlier, I’m going to tell you one more story, but before I do, I want to address this, what I said in the beginning that we were going to talk about, not only the link between happiness but also excitement.
And I want you to think about the difference between happiness and excitement. So, happiness, it’s an interesting word because it’s like a synonym. You could replace it with euphoric or ecstatic or grateful or peaceful. When you feel peaceful, it feels good. Happiness is really feeling good. And I’ve often said that gratitude is the highest form of happiness. And I’m going to change my opinion on that right now. I reserve the right to change my opinion.
Here’s after thinking about this further, it was actually yesterday when I was doing the podcast. I just started talking through this and it was that the gratitude is I don’t know that it’s the highest form of happiness, I think it’s the deepest form of happiness. It’s the most sustainable, rooted, underlying foundational form of happiness because it’s always available, 24/7. You can be grateful for the breath that you’re taking, grateful that you can listen to these words, grateful that you can see whatever you are seeing right now as you look out of those two miraculous eyes that you were gifted with, grateful for the bed that you get to sleep in each night, grateful for the roof over your head.
Gratitude is a lens through which you experience anything in your life. You could be grateful for the most difficult time you’ve ever endured because it was your greatest opportunity to grow, to learn, to become a better version of yourself. You could be grateful for anything and everything. For me, gratitude, I mean, we can do a whole episode on– in fact, I probably should do and haven’t done one in a long time.
But gratitude is the lens that I view everything. So, when I had cancer, it was like, what can I be grateful for about this? And that’s a good way to bring gratitude into your life and help you to look through that lens is to ask yourself, what about this, this moment, this day, this relationship, this person, this life? What about this can I be grateful for? And when you do that, you shift the way you’re looking at that thing, the way you’re experiencing that thing, the way you feel about that thing.
You can look at something that you’re frustrated with and you ask, what about this can I be grateful for? And that it’s universal? All of a sudden, you go, “Wow. Now, the thing didn’t change, but I’m no longer frustrated, instead, I’m grateful.” You have that power. And that’s why gratitude, that’s why I’ve called it the highest form of happiness. But just in terms of the visual of seeing it as the highest form of happiness, like a pie, I actually believe it’s the lowest form of happiness, right? Meaning, it’s foundational, it’s underlying, it’s always available. And I will say it’s the highest form of spiritual pleasure. That’s a distinction that I had.
Probably a couple of months ago, I was falling asleep at night. And I’m writing about this in the new Miracle Morning updated and expanded edition. We have a chapter called The Miracle Evening and I teach you how I prepare for what I call blissful sleep. Blissful sleep is when you go to bed feeling completely at peace with everything. Just in general, I am at peace with all things because in this moment, my only objective is to fall asleep. So, there’s no point in being anything other than at peace with all things.
Being frustrated doesn’t help me fall asleep. Being angry doesn’t help me fall asleep. Being upset doesn’t help– right? No. I want to fall asleep peacefully. So, my only objective when my head hits the pillow or even as I’m preparing for bed is to focus on or be in a state of peace and gratitude. And I asked myself, what am I grateful for? And I get in that state of gratitude as I fall asleep.
So, gratitude, as I was falling asleep one night, I had this distinction. I was thanking God. I usually thank God. And for some reason, for me, I’m not sure why, but that feels right to me. It feels the best as opposed to expressing just gratitude for the sake of gratitude. When I actually say thank you, God, for my wife, Ursula. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. When I target that gratitude, I am directed toward God. Something about it feels more real, more profound, more significant. Actually, I get tingling. It’s really interesting.
So, I’m falling asleep and I go, wow, gratitude is the highest form of spiritual pleasure. And then I think it was right after that that I recorded a podcast and I said gratitude is the highest form of happiness or whatever, but it’s really the highest form of spiritual pleasure. Again, it’s always available. There is no limit to how deep or how much gratitude you can experience. And so, now, shifting gears, the highest form of happiness, so gratitude is the deepest, most rooted, foundational, underlying form of happiness and the highest form of spiritual pleasure, but the highest form of happiness is excitement, right?
Think about when you are excited. I mean, this is the energy that I’m speaking with, right now with excitement. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to go to that concert. I can’t wait for my wedding day. I can’t wait for the birth of my first child. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow for my Miracle Morning, whatever it is, right? You can generate that excitement. You can allow it to just happen only when things show up that you’re excited about. But anything, any aspect of emotional well-being, you can either leave it up to chance or you can choose it.
And what I realized is that choosing goals, setting goals, committing to goals, and working towards goals that are significant that scare you because you’ve never done it before, and you’re not even sure, other than having unwavering faith in your limitless ability, there’s nothing in your past that shows you it’s likely or possible, such as me leading the Miracle Morning team. But I realize if I’m going to impact a billion people, my original goal was change one million lives, one morning at a time.
And the first year I tried that goal, I sold 13,000 copies of the Miracle Morning. I was 98.7% short of my goal, 987,000 copies short. That’s a major failure, but I was committed for as long as it took. And then I tried it again the next year and I sold 23,000 copies the next year. Looked like it was growing, but still like it was going to be 60 years before I hit the goal, which is a long time to work on a goal, right? Not to mention, if you break down the numbers, that would be a very small amount of income each year for those 60 years. But I tried again.
And the thing about these big goals, I think it was Jim Collins that called them BHAG, which is an acronym for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. But these huge, significant goals, these tangible, measurable miracles, as I call them in the Miracle Equation book, these are the goals that excite you. First, they scare you, then they excite you. Once you commit, you’re like, “I’m really doing it. I’m really going to do this.” You buy a book on how to do it, you listen to a podcast on how to do it, you buy a course on how to do it, you Google how to do it. You start brainstorming from your own inner genius how to do it.
And as you start to put one foot in front of the other and make incremental baby progress, the first progress is committing to it, committing to give it your all and give it a shot. And then the next step is dedicating scheduling, time to work on it. And each step, each baby step on that journey toward that goal gets more and more exciting. Once you take a deep breath and you go, “Okay, I’m scared, but you know what? I’m writing it down right now in my daily affirmations. I’m committed to write this book by the end of this year, to write my book, to start my business, to run that marathon, to start training. And I’m committed to work towards this goal and give it everything I have and make it happen no matter how long it takes.”
Once you write that down, now, you’ve taken one step outside of the fear or through the fear, toward the excitement of this being a real possibility. And then you look at your schedule and you go, “Okay, when am I going to work on this goal?” It’s one thing to set it, but you can’t set it and forget it. “When am I going to work on this goal?” And I’m going to do every morning from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. or 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. or every evening or the weekend, whatever, but you put it in your schedule, a recurring time, recurring, I’m going to do this each time, each day or each weekend or whatever, whenever your time permits and you put in the schedule. And now, it becomes more real. The possibility becomes an actual possibility.
It’s not a real possibility when it’s in your head. It’s unrealized. If you just have the idea, it’s not really a possibility. I guess, by the dictionary definition, maybe it is, but it becomes a real possibility. Or I should say it moves along the spectrum from being a possibility to a probability. That’s probably a better way to say it. Now, it’s becoming a probability.
Now, the probability might still be 2% if all you did was write it down. But think about it that way. Once you write down the goal, if you don’t have it written down, if it’s not even part of your consciousness other than your thoughts, it’s like in a 0%, right? And then you write it down. Now, it maybe goes from zero to five. Now, it’s in writing through a plus, but now you put in your schedule, now it goes from 5 to 10. Still very low probability, but it’s a hell of a lot more than zero when it was just an idea floating in your head. Now, it’s in writing and it’s in your schedule. That might take it from 0 to 30, I don’t know. I don’t have any studies in front of me.
Today’s an anecdotal episode, but now, it’s becoming real. And that gets exciting, as it moves along the spectrum of from possibility to probability to inevitability. And inevitability is when you simply commit that I’m going to keep moving toward this goal until I achieve it, no matter how long that takes. And when I wrote the Miracle Morning, my goal was to change one million lives, one morning at a time. As I said, it sold a million copies of the book. I tried year one, failed miserably, tried year two, failed miserably, tried year three, got a little better, four or five. It took six years. I tried it in one year, but it took six years when I finally reached the goal.
And one of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned is that when you finally get to the point you’ve been working so hard for so long, in other words, you finally achieve that big, meaningful, tangible, measurable miracle that you always dreamt of. And maybe it took you longer, like it did me than you wanted it to or than you thought it would or than you hoped it would. But when you finally get there, the timing is always perfect. You always look back and you go, “Oh, it had to take this long because I had to meet that person in year two that led to that opportunity in year three, where I met that other person during that opportunity at the end of year three and let–” you can’t predict those things.
And so, the longer you work toward a goal, not only do you become more capable of achieving it, but the resources that you need show up along the way. And there’s something miraculous about that that’s hard to predict, if not impossible. Give you an example. Self-published the Miracle Morning in 2012. Two or three years later, I got invited to a dinner, and it was a dinner with a bunch of high-level entrepreneurs that I did not feel I belonged at. Mike Koenigs was there, John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneurs on Fire. I was just getting started. Nobody knew who I was. And I mean, I guess at that point, I’d sold a hundred thousand copies of the Miracle Morning. So, it was starting to get up there. But still, I did not feel like I was on these guys’ level.
John Assaraf was there. You might know John Assaraf. He was in the movie, The Secret. He’s written New York Times bestselling books, brilliant guy. And I remember my wife texts me and she’s like, “How’s the dinner going?” And I texted her back, I said, “Sweetheart,” I said, “these are incredible people. I do not know how I got invited to this thing.” And she was so sweet. She’s like, “You belong, sweetheart. You hold your head up higher.” I don’t remember what she said, something like that. And she’s always my biggest cheerleader.
And I ended up getting introduced to Mike Koenigs. Mike Koenigs said, “You’ve sold 100,000 copies of Miracle Morning. Have you thought about leveraging that to get an agent to get a publishing deal?” I said, “I don’t know. I don’t have an agent. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how that works.” He said, “I have a great agent and I can introduce you to her.”
So, he makes the introduction. I have a call with her. I’m really nervous because she’s a big-time agent for some big-time authors – JJ Virgin and Dave Asprey and Laila Ali and many more. And I’m nervous on the call. I’m like, “Oh, she’s not going to represent me and my little self-published Miracle Morning book.” But her name is Celeste Fine. She’s amazing. And she ends up taking Miracle Morning on.
And because of that introduction at dinner. By the way, it’s from John Lee Dumas, he’s the one that introduced me to Mike Koenigs. He said, “Mike and Hal, you guys are going to talk to each other. You guys are both into books and great.” If it wasn’t for me getting invited to that dinner in year three of Miracle Morning, right? So, I tried to hit my goal in year one. Think about this. Think about this, this is so important. I tried to hit my goal of a million lives changed, a million books sold in year one, and I fell short miserably. I tried again in year two and I fell short miserably.
In year three, I met Mike Koenigs, a chance encounter at a dinner that I barely got invited to at the last minute, almost didn’t go to, getting that introduction from Mike to my agent, Celeste. Celeste is responsible for getting the Miracle Morning published, translated and published into 37 different languages, distributed by top publishers in over 100 countries, and sold over a million copies, maybe 1.5 million copies in those 37 countries. All because of that– well, I wouldn’t say that one introduction, but it was because I kept working towards the goal. I didn’t give up after year one, even though I failed miserably. I tried again year two and I tried again year three and I tried again year four and I tried again year five. And it was year six when finally the Miracle Morning reached over a million copies, but it wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have kept going.
And I’ve met so many authors that have told me, “Hal, man,” like they’ve heard that story and they’ve said I pushed hard for three months to promote my book. And I thought it was going to do better and it didn’t. And so, I started writing another book. I focus back on my business. And how often does that happen where results don’t come as quickly as we want? And so, we end up shifting gears, getting distracted, giving up on the goal, focusing on something else. If I would have done that, you probably wouldn’t be listening to this podcast right now unless you were one of the first 13,000 people that read the Miracle Morning and discovered my work that way. You probably wouldn’t listen to this podcast. Maybe, maybe not, but probably not. But definitely, millions of people, millions of lives would not have been impacted by the Miracle Morning had I not kept trying year after year after year.
And so, what is that goal, either that you have currently set that you need to apply this to and realize, oh, it might take me a lot longer than I think, but when I finally reach the goal, even if it’s six years from now. I’m going to look back and realize, “Oh, the timing was perfect.” I needed it to take this long because of all the challenges I had to overcome and the ways I needed to evolve and the lessons I had to learn and the people I had to meet to get to the point that you eventually get to when you give it everything you have for as long as it possibly takes.
The last story I want to share with you, it’s a much shorter story. I’ve wanted to write the Miracle Morning updated and expanded edition ever since I wrote the original book because Tim Ferris, I was reading The 4-Hour Workweek while I was writing the Miracle Morning and I loved that book and I learned a lot from it, and I modeled some of what I learned from Tim. And I don’t know how long, maybe a year or two after the original 4-Hour Workweek book came out, his follow-up, the updated and expanded edition came out. And so, I read that and I loved it. And I thought, “Wow, one day I’ll do an updated and expanded edition of the Miracle Morning.” And my plan was to have that published on the 10-year anniversary, which has come and gone, come and gone. That was December 12, 2022. So, about three months ago. So, I’m only three months behind. But anyway, didn’t get the book done. Have you ever had that happen where you set a goal or you have something you want to do, and then also the date sneaks up on you? I’m like, “Wait, whoa, shoot. It’s 10 years already? What? Oh, no, I’m not ready with a new book. I got other goals and priorities and stuff I got to do.”
And so, what ended up happening was I wanted it to be traditionally published, that was a big part of it, is because the Miracle Morning is done so well when it’s traditionally published in other countries and it’s available in stores in Target and Walmart and airports and bookstores. And Miracle Morning is not available in that way because it’s self-published. So, it’s really only available on Amazon and I got a few copies I’ve snuck into Barnes & Noble, but for the most part, it’s on Amazon. So, there’s millions and millions and millions and millions of people that buy books in stores that don’t see the Miracle Morning there.
And so, kind of long story short, I don’t want to tell you too much detail on the story, but we found a publisher. And so, it is going to be traditionally published in probably September. And for the last six months, I’ve known this and I’ve been rewriting the Miracle Morning book, and I’ve been rewriting it, updating it, expanding it. I literally rewrote every single page of the original book. I’ve added all new success stories from Miracle Morning practitioners. And maybe most importantly, I’ve added, I don’t know where it’s going to shake out after the editing is done, but right now, there are roughly an additional 100 pages that have been added to the Miracle Morning, between 60 and 100 pages have been added to the books. I mean, it is completely expanded.
So, there’s a new chapter, and it’s a 30-page chapter right now. It’s the Miracle Evening. It is your optimal strategy or your strategy to optimize bedtime and sleep. And then the Miracle Life, which is your path to inner freedom, also a 30-page chapter. They’re basically mini books, if you will. And so, I’ve been working on this for the last six months and I’ve been rewriting the book ever since I published it. I’ve always been updating it along the way, but this is the major overhaul, a brand-new book. And so, it’ll publish probably in September 2023, give or take.
And here’s the reason I’m telling you that story. I was really scared to approach this, and I think that’s why it wasn’t done on the 10-year anniversary is because there was so much fear of it not being perfect. I thought, “What if I mess it up?” The Miracle Morning has been really successful. What if I change it in a way where now it doesn’t resonate the same way? What if it’s now too long or I changed something that I didn’t realize was so consequential to the success of the original book? And so, that caused procrastination. And I’d imagine you could relate to that, the fear of what if, what if I don’t reach the goal? What if I don’t do it perfect? What if I’m not capable? The what if, what if, what if mentality, and that kept me from committing to the goal.
Finally, when I got the publisher, and they’re like, “Hey, we need the book done,” it was like, “Oh shoot, okay.” Now, I have accountability. And that’s such an important part of a huge, meaningful, measurable miracle aka Big Hairy Audacious Goal is you’ve got to have accountability in place. And so, I had a publisher that was holding me accountable. We had weekly accountability calls to ensure that I wrote. And by the way, I was late. I missed the deadline only by five days. And I just turned the book in, by the way, last week.
And to give you an idea of the last four weeks, I have clocked 130 hours of editing time. And I got to thank my wife, always supportive. This is how every book has gone for me where, when it gets down to the 11th hour, like the last 10% of the book is 90% of the book. And so, she’s been so amazing to let me write every weekend, I write from 4 a.m. until noon, typically, on the weekends. And I try to spend the afternoon with the family. But there were even a few afternoons where I’m like, “Sweetie, I need a few more hours.” And she was awesome and supportive and gave it to me. But I had that accountability, and without the accountability, I wouldn’t have gotten it done.
And then the last part of the story I want to tell you, famous last words, there will probably be another last, last part of the story, but the last part of the story I want to tell you is this, again, the people that come into your life at the right time. I think I talk about this in the Miracle Equation book. I don’t know how to explain this. And you could call it a coincidence, you could call it a miracle. Every time I’ve been working toward a major goal, the kind of goal that we’re talking about right now, a tangible, measurable miracle, something outside the realm of what you absolutely know you can do. And that’s why when you achieve it, it feels like a miracle because it was scary. There was self-doubt. You weren’t sure that you were going to achieve it. So, that’s the kind of goal that I’m talking about.
When you work toward that kind of goal, you commit, even though you’re afraid, even though you’re busy, even though you got all the excuses in the world to not do the thing, though remember, if you don’t decide now to do it, you might get that into your life and look back and go, “What a tragedy. I never wrote that book. I never ran that marathon.” And by the way, I’m terrible at giving you examples, that’s why I give you the same three or four every time, call it brain damage, whatever. But you can fill that in with whatever is on your heart. Start that business. It’s another one I’ve given twice already. But what is the goal? What is the dream? Start that family, right? Whatever you want to do, start that nonprofit. What’s the thing that you have always wanted to do but you’ve been afraid to do? That’s the kind of goal I’m talking about.
And here’s that last lesson is that when you commit to it, the forces of the universe, I can’t exactly tell you how this works, it’s just that I’ve seen it so many times. I’ve heard from so many highly successful people that have explained it very similarly, that when you commit, the how reveals itself, H-O-W, not the Hal, the how. It reveals itself. People, resources come out of the woodworks at just the right time that you couldn’t have expected to help you achieve that mission. I don’t know where these forces come from. I don’t know if it’s God putting his hand down and putting these people into your life. I don’t know. I just know it happens. It’s happened with the Miracle Morning movement, the book, all of that, the right people at the right times from John Lee Dumas introducing me to Mike Koenigs introducing me to Celeste Fine and the making of the Miracle Morning an international phenomenon or whatever.
Recently, I had a friend call me, Garrett Gunderson. He’s a New York Times bestselling author. In fact, I think I had Garrett on the podcast recently. And Garrett has become a good friend. And he called me, he said, “Hey, would you be willing to talk to this friend of mine who is writing a book? Her name is AJ Harper.” And I said, “Of course, Garrett. Anything you ask me to do, I’m happy to do.”
And AJ Harper just published a book called Write a Must-Read. It’s called Craft a Book That Changes Lives–Including Your Own. So, he said, “She wrote this book. She’s a phenomenal writer, and I’d love it if you could give her some tips on how you’ve created this movement and reached so many people so she can reach more people with her book.” I said, “Of course,” got on the phone with AJ. We talked for about half an hour. I give her as much advice as I can.
And during that, as I’m asking her questions, I find out that she is a prolific writer. She’s a ghostwriter for some of the best authors out there. And I’m not going to name names, but I was like, “Wow, you wrote that book. You wrote–” oh, my gosh, like she’s next level, way beyond my skill level, way beyond. And so, she asked at the end, “Is there anything that I can do to help you?” I said, “Actually, I’m about–” and this was like probably four weeks ago, I think, which is why I’ve spent the last four weeks, 130 hours editing. She said, “Is there anything I could help you?” I said, “Yeah, I actually am about to finish, putting the finishing touches on my manuscript for the Miracle Morning updated and expanded edition. Can I send it to you? Would you have time to look it over and give me any high-level feedback?” And she said, “Actually, I’m totally free this week and I’d love to read it. Send it over.”
And so, I send it over, and she sends me notes back, like that Sunday night. And it’s basically like, “Hey, I love the changes you’ve made, but I think you need to completely restructure the beginning of the book, the way you bring the reader in. You need to do it in a different way. You need to eliminate this, you need to add this, you need to change this. You need to completely– I would change your stories. I would tell this story. I think it’s more relevant. It’s newer. Don’t start with your car accident story. Start with your cancer story. Talk about why, how you learned the lessons, and go back in time.” And anyway, so I was like, “Oh, that’s great advice.” And my head hurts. How am I– I thought I was about to turn the manuscript in, and what she told me, it was excellent advice, but it was going to require basically 130 hours of editing. And I was like, “I can’t wrap my head around this.” And I was scared. What if I start this process and I get halfway through and I mess it up and I feel like I can’t find my way back?
So, the first thing I did was I made a copy of that draft in case I did that. But I started. And what’s amazing is– so my new big, scary goal was to completely restructure, reorganize, reinvent the first 15%, which is a lot. It’s 40 pages of the Miracle Morning manuscript. And as I started, I was like, it was hard. And just like any goal, it’s hard and I don’t really know what I’m doing and I’m kind of, am I doing this right? Am I messing up? And then it got easier and easier and easier and I got more and more and more clarity. And now, I am so excited, like, so excited.
I told you that when me and Tiffany were building the Miracle Morning, I called our team the Miracle Workers, by the way, and we were building the Miracle Worker team. Tiffany is my COO, I think I left that out too. She was promoted to Chief Operations Officer, and so her and I are tag teaming this Miracle Morning mission in our team and working together side by side. And I love Tiffany, she’s amazing.
And so, when I told her about the book the other day when I finished the manuscript and I emailed it off and I called her, I said, “Tiffany, the book turned out better than I could have ever imagined. It is so good. And I’m telling you, if it wasn’t for Garrett Gunderson introducing me to AJ Harper, and then her asking at the end of that call if there was anything she could do to help me, and then me, asking if she would look over the manuscript and her giving me that feedback. And if she hadn’t had the weekend open to do that,” I said, “the book, I would not be this excited, I would feel like it was pretty good.” But now, I feel like it’s everything I hoped that the updated and expanded edition could be so that it kept the original essence of the Miracle Morning and what made it so effective, but that it’s got so much more. And it’s a radically different book.
For everyone that’s read the original Miracle Morning, it’s going to feel like a brand-new book with brand-new everything. I mean, not everything, it’s still the Miracle Morning. It’s going to walk you through everything. But I mean, like, here’s an example, the affirmations page. It was two pages in the original book. It was two pages on how to create your affirmations. Now, it’s nine. Now, it gives you examples and it walks you through templates. I mean, it holds your hand to create your affirmations. So, anyway, obviously, you could sense the excitement, but the point is that was a major, major goal for me to dedicate hundreds of hours to rewrite this book. It’s a unique kind of goal. It was like taking a goal that I had achieved in the past and then completely trying to redo that goal. So, it was very weird. I’m not sure if you’d relate that to your goals, but just the way to relate it is the lesson of how excited I am.
And the link between goals, not just any goals, not the goals you have to do, to pay the bills. Those aren’t the goals we’re talking about. It’s not the goals you have to achieve because your boss told you to. You got to achieve this goal by Q1. You’re not excited about it, but you have to do it to keep your job. That’s not the goals that we’re talking about. I’m talking about the goals that are often classified or categorized as dreams because they’re someday goals. Someday. Someday, I would love to write that book, start that business, found that nonprofit, run that marathon. And any other examples that you can think of that are different from the four that I’ve said repeatedly in this episode? Move to a ranch, right? Me and my wife, we made that goal happen after many years of saving and waiting, timing the real estate market, which is hard to do, but that was a goal for us that we made happen. And it took years and years and years to make happen.
So, what’s that goal for you? What’s the goal that’s been on your heart for a long time that you’ve put off? Maybe it’s a goal you’ve attempted and failed at so you put it on the back burner, pull it off the shelf now, put it in your affirmations now, commit to it, affirm why it’s a must for you, and clarify the actions you’ll take and schedule when you will take them to ensure that as long as you keep making progress toward that goal, for as long as it takes, the right people and resources will come into your life at just the right time. And it’s usually a much longer time frame than you hoped it would be, than you thought it would be. But when you finally reach that goal and it might be six years from now, maybe 10 years from now, it will mean so much to you. And the timing, you’ll realize, is perfect. So, start today because there’s never any day better to start than today because it’s the only day that you can start.
Goal achievers, I love you so much. Please leave a comment below. This episode is located at MiracleMorning.com/475. Please leave a comment below and let me know the big, meaningful, measurable, tangible miracle that you’re committed to achieving. I love you so much. I will talk to you next week. Thanks for listening.