Starting now (in five minutes).

It’s January 19th, and the gym is empty. The New Year’s resolution crowd has sweated out their last Cinnabon.

You gym-rats know what I mean (you can finally get your machines back). Two weeks ago, every treadmill and LAT pull-down was commandeered by an unfamiliar face, shucking up and down like a giant, deep fried kruller, doughy limbs jutting from every angle, dripping with outbound sugary frosting. This army of bright-eyed busy-bodies shows up every January, fresh off the new year with an old routine.

The place is now desolate, like a gutted bag of Fritos at a weight watcher’s meeting. Did you know that 67% of gym memberships go unused?

How can we keep fooling ourselves into thinking this time is different? Lose weight, save money, be more successful. Check, check and check. They’re on your list every year.

Don’t beat yourself up. Millions make the same resolutions each January. Why is it so hard to make meaningful change? How can we internalize new habits?

Can I be “fixed”?

The answer is yes, the time is now, and it’s not any more difficult than reading the morning newspaper (kruller in hand, if that helps).

Timeless wisdom

There’s a classic business and self-improvement book from the 1930’s called Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. It’s sold over 100 million copies (technically, a “shitload”).

Based on two decades of research, it was an assignment to Hill by Andrew Carnegie, the Bill Gates of his time. Hill impressed Carnegie enough that he trusted him to compile a “philosophy of personal achievement”. He interviewed hundreds of the world’s most successful people, like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and John D. Rockefeller, and then organized the wisdom into a book of key principles.

So compelling it is that so many titans of industry pointed to the same things, including just 13 key principles. Even MORE COMPELLING is that these timeless measures can all be boiled down to one simple little trick that anyone can implement, at no cost.

It’s a concept called “auto-suggestion”. Auto-suggestion means training your mind to reshape the world around you to meet with your desires.

Sounds like a crock of s—, you’re thinking, getting ready to move on.

Go ahead and move on then, to the next flashy article about making a fast buck or shrinking your pant size. Maybe you deserve to be fat and broke? Sorry, too harsh. What I meant was, maybe you’ve never given yourself a chance to be more successful?

This is so simple, you owe it to yourself to try. Trust me; I only write what I know (stuff I picked up on about the world, that I wish I knew 20 years ago). Read on…

Auto-Programming: Not just for DVRs

Here’s the trick-

Just type out what you want to accomplish this year and over the next few. Describe who you want to be, how you want to feel (like a Greek God), and the ways you’d like to get there. Include your ideal weight, and how much money you want to make or save.

Add the personal or relationship goals that are most important to you, like being a better dad, mom, wife or husband, listening to your family more, being present in the moment, enjoying your job, whatever you want most. This is your “Statement of Purpose”.

About a page in length is more than enough. Once you’re satisfied with it (you can fiddle over time), read it aloud to yourself every morning or before bed (both, if you have the time, but once will suffice). As the French say, “Voila”.

The world will begin shaping itself to your desires (more accurately, your brain will accomplish more towards these goals than you ever knew possible, fitting the pieces together in your conscious and subconscious mind).

The human brain is a complex and powerful device, with billions of neurons that convey, analyze, sort and process electrical information. There’s a giant game of Tetris going on up there at all times. Most of what we experience in the world is simply a function of how we perceive it, and how our psyche solves problems, programs itself, and fits pieces together while sleeping or doing monotonous things (like driving).

It starts with the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves. Train your brain for five minutes each day for six weeks, and you will get results.

Once you see how well it works, introduce it to your kids when they have a lofty goal. Imagine what they will accomplish in their lifetime if they start at 14 instead of 40?

A friend tipped me off to Hill’s book in 2014, and the advances I made at work and in my personal life were almost immediate. It’s truly the essence of mind over matter.

Just remember to think about and visualize the words as you read them, and stick to it. Do it over a specialty coffee or add a morning bagel slathered in cream cheese if it helps make the time special enough to remember. Massive improvements in goal-attainment will follow quickly (but once it becomes habit, you must remind yourself to focus, rather than let your mind wander while simply reciting empty words).

Here, take mine

Most won’t bother writing a Statement of Purpose, and even fewer will read it aloud for more than a day or two. Those who do will get better at life almost immediately. Maybe it just self-selects all the losers and quitters out that way.

So, who are you going to be? What will you get better at?

Open a Word document now and type out a sentence. “This year, I will feel gratitude for the love of my family, lose 20 pounds, save $15,000, and learn to kite surf…”

Need help getting started? Click here to download mine, and modify to fit your life. While I also recommend reading the book, that’s not even necessary. You can start with this and see some progress first before diving into Hill’s 13 key principles.

Of 100 million copies, 80 million were sold since 1970. Getting this into your morning routine will put you in the 1% (of 7.4B people on the globe). Finally. And don’t you dare feel like an idiot reading aloud to yourself every morning. Feeling like an idiot is for people who never get out of their comfort-zone (for fear of feeling like an idiot).

At BadDaddy, we’re not afraid of crawling out on a limb in the name of progress.

Hell, I once jumped off a three-story building (onto a limb) at 6:30 in the morning for absolutely no reason at all (ah, the joys of college).

Now write down your dreams, read it aloud, and then smash something over your knee if it gets you going. An era of great progress in your life will follow.

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Like this column? Master your wife (or girlfriend’s) emotions while your at it.