How you can achieve almost anything in life


How you can achieve almost anything in life


Being productive, working on your body, living a happy life etc. It’s what many of us are working towards nowadays, right? I bet because many of us are motivated (or feeling bad) by watching what happens on social media.

The reason I wrote this article ((This article first appeared on my Medium.com page) is because I want to share my take on how you can succeed at almost anything in life and become a better person. It all comes back to working towards your goals every day.

(Background check: you can skip this part if you’re not interested in my past)
I’ve built everything from my own web hosting company, to an adults-only website (I was 15 back then, sorry mom, dad and legislation!), but also a network of more than 700 proxy websites, sold newsletter slots… and for the past 3 years I’ve been building a digital agency with over 1.6 mln in yearly revenue.

I’m getting close to 30, and I’ve been building about 18 projects online since I was 13, I have a young kiddo, beautiful wife, a cat and super happy to be living in Belgium.

And to be completely transparent: the best is yet to come. 😄

3 reasons why you get stuck during your growth process and how to resolve this


  1. You don’t stick to your plan during the first 3 months

Being able to move quickly is so important in life, but the common thread with all my projects is that I didn’t set any targets.. Nope, none, that’s correct.

I did set habit-based targets instead of monetary during these initial months (what most of us usually do). Monetary goals have left me dissatisfied and empty in the past, but habits actually never did.

If you want a plan to work, ask yourself: what would my ideal situation look like 3 months from now?

Write it down. Read it every morning. Say it out loud, visualize it, spell it. Make sure it sticks and make it your new personal mantra.

If you’re unsure of what to write, what do you think AT THIS MOMENT, will move the needle in order to succeed at your next goal? It shouldn’t be overcomplex, but spend a few hours outside working on this. Preparation is crucial as it dictates the coming 3 months.

If you built your plan, dedicate enough time every week (= +8 hours per week, at least) in order for it to work.

Here’s an example goal when starting a new business venture:

Meeting relevant people that can either become a customer or provide you with a lot of feedback is crucial in the startup phase.

Some of these people will become your future brand ambassadors because they’ve been with you from the very beginning, others might become your first clients.

The same goes for personal growth:

I learned about calesthenics (pull-ups, push-ups, dips, crunches..) 1.5 years ago. I also learned that I couldn’t do 100 pull-ups in one session, but what I did know is that I could do 6 of them in one set.

I received a small “just-do-it” book from my sales trainer Yves Roelens (thanks!) and started doing multiple series of 6 pull-ups, 3 times a week.

In the beginning, I didn’t know where it would end (hence, I set no target), but I did know if I would get used to the habit, it would become fun and I would continue doing so. Here’s what my book looks like from last week:
(I started with 60 pull-ups in one session, currently an average of 150)

My habit tracker book for tracking pull-ups & other calesthenic exercises.

Since April ‘21, I’ve done over 13,000 pull-ups (besides many other exercises). All by following the same habits and routines. The only target I have set myself is to continue making progress. I did have a bulking pause during Winter time :-).

Why we usually fail during the first 3 months

What often happens during these 3 initial months is what’s called the shiny object syndrome. You see things that “might work better”, or “another project that might even be more relevant to start instead of the current one”.

My advice: if you face the shiny object syndrome during these 3 months, run away from it while you can.

Remember: there will always be new opportunities, better tools, but that’s something you can write down on the “months 4–6 action plan”. That’s AFTER you have successfully finished your 1- 3 months’ original plan.

3 months might seem long, but it’s not. Thanks to quarterly sessions, by the end of the year you’ll have 4 great action plans resolved instead of a mix of all and nothing.

I hope you get the point. 🙂


2. It’s hard for you to see your progress

That’s where Seinfield comes in, I read about this on lifehacker back in 2007.

Basically, the idea behind success is not giving up (even though I do think it’s very useful to have a clear idea on when to quit as well).

But how not to give up? Make sure you see progress on your accomplishments by using a visible habit tracker. Put it in your kitchen, on the wall on your office desk.. wherever you see it multiple times per day.

I’m a big fan of Hardi Kõvamees’s minimalist calendar for this, you can easily download and print a habit calendar for free on his site. There’s a version for every year.

Hardi Design minimalist productivity calendar

Don’t break your freakin’ chain now
If you set the goal for yourself to connect with 5 people every day, then cross out the day you’ve done it, and continue doing so for as long as possible.

What will happen if you do this? These tiny habits will become part of your daily routine. And after 3 months? You will have connected with 450 new people, congratulations!

Hint: reward yourself if you don’t break the chain for let’s say 7 or 14 days in a row. It can be anything from going to your favorite restaurant, sipping your favorite cocktail or whatever makes you really happy.

You can have multiple Hardi calendars running simultaneously. I have one for my fitness goals, nutrition goals and business goals. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what I’ll be working on during the time period.


3. Set aside enough reflection time and write down your thoughts

Life becomes really interesting when you’re working on something. There’s a famous quote that explains it quite simply:

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” ~ Arthur Ashe

While working on a new habit in order to succeed in one of your goals, you’ll discover a lot of things you didn’t know or haven’t thought of before. Make sure you have some time left during the day, to write them down in a book. This book will become your go-to resource in the future.

Excerpt from Einstein’s travel diary

The fun part is, at the time you’re writing down your thoughts, they appear super simple and sometimes a waste of time, but whenever you’re stuck or you need inspiration, the book will be exactly what you need.


The key takeaways from this article

  1. When you have the feeling you’re not making any progress in your life: don’t worry, it’s not too late.
  2. Stop freewheeling, start building a plan of action and do it within a 3 month time frame to get you started.
  3. Make sure you focus on habits that move the needle instead of monetary goals.
  4. Don’t focus on shiny objects. Write them down and revisit them after 12 weeks.
  5. Track your progress. Keep it as simple as possible with Hardi’s free tracker and put it somewhere you will see it multiple times a day.
  6. Reward yourself while building the new habit.
  7. Set time aside to reflect on where you’re at and what you want to remember for the future.

That’s all! I don’t have a newsletter to sign up for (yet), but I do have a Twitter account that you can follow for new valuable insights on digital entrepreneurship, productivity and personal growth.

Nicolas.

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