Actively working toward your goals is exciting, but it’s also when shit gets real.

Your mind is primed, your goals are focused -now it’s time to do the work.

This is where the dreamers are separated from the doers. This is when goals fight back, life gets hard, and most won’t finish.

But you aren’t most.

A major difference between goals-in-action and goals-on-paper is, in the real world, other things compete for your resources. In order to achieve success, you are required to constantly choose your goals over all the other things you could be doing. So make it easy on yourself: design your life to be foolproof and fail-proof.

Do this by first recognizing that everything you do is a choice, and no one is making you do anything.

Own your actions.

If you’re serious about your goals you must rid yourself of casual living. Your actions are not arbitrary or random -they are choices, paving the avenue to your future. So stop being casual and start being intentional -about everything. The way you spend your time, your money, your energy; these are the resources of your life. They are limited, so spend wisely.

Are you ready for this? This is going to require some uncomfortable self-evaluation.

Think about your life right now, the way it really is in its present condition, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you fall asleep. What choices are you making? How are you spending your precious resources? Your time? Your money? Take the time to evaluate how you expend your physical, emotional, creative and social energy.

Ask yourself (and answer honestly): are these actions (read: choices) aligned with your goals?

Not sure? Imagine this action, compounded over time…one week, one month, three months, six months, one year, five years, ten years…does it bring you closer, achieving or even exceeding your goals? Or does it leave a wake of wasted opportunity?

How you measure this is unique to you and your goals, but don’t bullshit yourself here. You know in your gut whether or not your actions are taking you toward the life you most want. It’s not about comparing your life to that of others –it’s about you getting what you really want.

This level of intentional living is not easy –if it was, most would. To those of us who won’t be satisfied with business as usual, it’s worth it. Nothing is more empowering than finally taking control of your life –designing, designating, and owning your time, money, and energy, meaning every resource, in and out.

It’s extreme only to those who don’t care enough to do what it takes. It’s essential to those who refuse to settle for an average life.

Most people spend their whole lives without truly recognizing the power and control they have. Encounters with the reality here are too often temporary. They shrug it off and get back to casual, back to business as usual. They won’t or don’t want to acknowledge that everything they do in their life is actually a choice.

Don’t be like most people. Push past the discomfort, embrace the revelation, and walk into the freedom that comes from owning every single action.

A No-Bullshit Checklist:

Don’t lie to yourself, analyze yourself. Don’t guess or make assumptions about how you are spending your life’s resources–track it.

Stop making excuses, start making solutions. Turn your excuses into questions. “I don’t have enough time” becomes “How can I create more time?” Then answer them by brainstorming ways to overcome. Don’t ignore a solution just because it’s difficult or uncomfortable.

Cut the excess, keep the essential. Get bold about cutting things that aren’t bringing value and return to your life and your goals.

Most won’t, I will. Will you?

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