The Simple Blueprint to Getting Started (Plus, 7 Ways to Consistently Make Good Choices)

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There is a way for you to earn more money without working too hard or getting incredibly lucky.

Would you like to know what it is?

It can be summed up in three simple words: be more consistent.

How do you do that?

Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

How to be more consistent

The secret to earning money is not luck or intelligence or creativity — it’s consistency.

The people who are the most successful are the most consistent. This is true whether we are talking about money or sports or art or anything in between. You must show up each day, do the best work you can, and then do the same tomorrow.

Here are some steps you can follow to do exactly that…

1. First, do something.

If you’re not happy with your current financial situation, do something about it. Complaining does not count as taking action.

Start freelancing on the side. Create something that can change your life. Learn how others are earning more money.

2. Take small steps.

You’re not going to pay off your debt or gain financial freedom overnight. Start by taking a small step that you can handle.

Take two minutes to figure out how much money you need to make each month to pay down your debt. Spend five minutes brainstorming possible jobs that you would enjoy.

Pick a topic that you need learn about to earn more money (networking, salary negotiation, getting referrals for your business, etc.) and read about that topic.

Taking action doesn’t mean “instantly find a solution” … it simply means moving towards your goal.

3. Develop a pattern you can maintain.

When I started my business, I was motivated and ambitious and I wanted to get my message out to the world. To achieve my goals, I started reaching out to 20 new people each day over email, phone, Skype, and so on. It worked well for the week or two that I could keep it up.

In the end, however, finding 20 new people everyday takes a lot of time and other things needed to be done. I would have been better off reaching out to one person each day for an entire year.

One email doesn’t seem like much, but with consistency it becomes a lot.

Don’t go overboard with your goals. That’s how you get burnt out. Simply choose an action that you can repeat each day and then repeat it.

No fuss. No overwhelm. Just one small action.

4. Give yourself permission to fail.

Actually, I’ll do it for you. You now have my permission to screw up, make mistakes, and take a deep breath because it really isn’t the end of the world.

Look, I know you want to create a better life for yourself (and you can!), but don’t act like you need to know all the answers right now.

Take a chill pill and don’t let your uncertainty about the 10th step prevent you from taking the first one.

It’s OK to mess up. It’s OK to not be totally sure of a decision. You’ll never know if you’re making the right moves unless you have some wrong ones to compare them to — which brings me to my next point…

5. Being more consistent doesn’t mean that you consistently avoid mistakes, but it does mean you consistently learn from them.

This includes learning from your actions as well as from those of others.

If you’re wondering where you should go to learn how to earn more money (besides Passive Panda, of course) … I’ll tell you the answer.

You only need 3 things and they are all free…

1. A library card.

Books are, without a doubt, the best source of knowledge on whatever topic you’re looking to learn more about. Why? Because it takes a lot of effort to write a book and whenever you read a good one, you’re are benefitting from years of research and writing … all packed into a few hundred pages.

Pick a topic that will help you earn more money, go to your library, and read more.

2. Use Google, but not how you think…

Yes, there is a lot of information on the web, but I’m not suggesting you use Google for that. Instead, use Google to find people who have done what you want to do.

Search for anyone and everyone who has successfully accomplished the types of things you want to do in your life. Trust me, no matter what you want to do, someone is out there that can help you do it.

3. Email.

Once you find those people on Google, email them!

(Don’t know what to say? Get this course, then do it.)

People who have lived a life worth living will supply you with brilliant insights you never would have discovered … and who knows, you might even get a friend out of it.

6. Find a better group of people to hang out with.

Take a look at this quote…

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
—Jim Rohn

Who are your five people?

If you’re being honest, that group might not be the five that will lead you to a great life. There are two lessons here…

First, people who are a drag are also dragging you down with them. It took me a long time to learn this, but if someone is bringing you down, then cut them out.

And you don’t owe them an explanation — explaining is draining. I won’t pretend it’s easy, but you will be better off for it.

Second, there is a group of people out there who will inspire you each time you meet with them. Maybe you’ve experienced this before — a great lunch or a refreshing conversation that left you motivated and inspired to do more.

Interactions like this can be life changing … and they usually seem to come from the same people. Search these individuals out. Do whatever you can to help them and you’ll find that they will do the same for you.

7. If something is hard for you, then change your environment.

It’s a fundamental principle of psychology that we only have so much willpower each day. As the day goes on, we lose our ability to make tough choices … even if they are in our best interests.

Think of it this way…

Let’s say you have 100 points of willpower each day. Let’s also say that you want to quit drinking coffee, but that each time you deny yourself it takes 20 points.

Morning — Wake up. 100 points left.
Early morning — Look at coffee bag on kitchen counter. 80 points left.
Lunch — Eat in the lunch room. Coffee pot nearby. 60 points left.
Early afternoon — Draining argument with your boss. 30 points left.
Five o’clock — Rush hour traffic. Stressful day. 15 points left.
Get home — Try to deny … Sorry, not enough points. Game over. Coffee time.

It doesn’t matter if it’s coffee or smoking or exercise or business. We only have so much willpower and if you keep putting yourself in a situations that drain it, then your odds of taking the right actions consistently will go down.

In the situation above, you could take the following actions to reduce the need for willpower:

  • Don’t buy coffee at the store and it won’t be sitting on the kitchen counter
  • Eat lunch at your desk, outside, or anywhere away from the lunch room
  • Get into work earlier or leave later to avoid rush hour traffic
  • Ask about working from home to reduce the odds of your boss transferring their stress to you

Find the pain points, the draining or difficult decisions throughout your day, and think about how you can eliminate them from your life. How can you make it easier to make difficult decisions? Or how can you eliminate the decision making all together and simply automate the correct actions?

Controlling your willpower and overcoming your weaknesses (we all have them) is a key step for maintaining consistent effort.

A final piece of advice: don’t wait.

Take a small action today and start being more consistent.

Those three words — be more consistent — will change your life.

What do you think? Will consistency make a difference in your life? Leave a comment below.

54 Responses to The Simple Blueprint to Getting Started (Plus, 7 Ways to Consistently Make Good Choices)

  1. Darrellsms says:

    Great post! Love to hear this stuff.

  2. Tom Owens says:

    Bravo, James! I like your encouragement of using the public library. Reference librarians are like Sherpas. They’ll guide you up any information mountain. They love questions and challenges.

    • James Clear says:

      Agreed. If you fully use a good public library, it’s seldom necessary to buy a book.

      p.s. The next step is to actually use all the information you learn. (Easier said than done.)

  3. Shlomo says:

    James:
    Seven very important steps.

    I’m working on implementing #2 and #3. I bought several courses during the recent 72-hour sale. Now I’m working through them a little bit each day.

    One result of taking small, consistent steps is the blog that I launched two weeks ago. :-)

  4. Eve says:

    James,
    Thanks for this! Loved your example of trying to contact 20 people a day, and then realizing that one a day for a year would have been more effective.
    I’m working on building a Facebook page for a bear-proof composter – and after reading your post I’m cutting down my goal of reaching 10 bear/gardening/composting groups this week to just one a day.

  5. Wayne says:

    Consistency is a given to achieve success in any sphere of your life, not just business.

    Patience is just as important. Any successful business takes time to build and you just have to move things in a direction where eventual success is the only logical outcome.

    The major stumbling block to all of us wanting to take that first step, is the fear of failure.

    In the average person, habit is an overriding factor. You feel comfortable in your daily routine, and it is plain fear that prevents you from taking risks.

    We will all experience failure of some sort during our life times, but it must not be looked on as a negative, but as something that you learn from for your next project.

    • James Clear says:

      Good points, Wayne.

      Patience is important — so long as it doesn’t become apathy or passive patience. You can’t wait to take action (and you can’t accept failure as a reasonable outcome) … but you do need to be patient enough with yourself to keep your actions manageable.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. I am totally sharing this on Facebook. I have had to forgive myself so many times and allow myself to be patient to avoid wearing thin! I can attest to the power of reaching out, it will help you grow and amplify your efforts in ways you cannot imagine..if anything it’s just good to feel less alone when you strike it out on your own! :) Great post!

  7. James,

    This couldn’t have come at a better time, especially the parts about allowing yourself the opportunity to fail and being consistent. I’ve been expecting so much in such a short period of time always thinking things should be better faster.

    Thanks for sharing this and giving me the opportunity to fail. This leaves me feeling recharged and free to keep on trying.

    P.s. being consistent is something I really need to remember and practice too.

    Big thanks,

    Matt

  8. Michelle says:

    Great article, thanks, just what I needed…

  9. WOW – that was not just consistently well done. This is what I call EPIC! Thanks James

    I love your “will power point system” – so true…

    Wishing you a super successful 2012!

  10. Kohn Jester says:

    Ditto to all these comments, keep up the good work James!

  11. Dave says:

    Hi James, just wanted to say that your content is really top notch and the way you present and structure it makes it so simple to read, understand and most importantly, IMPLEMENT.

    Thanks!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Thanks, I needed that…..great timing for it, as well.

  13. Jeremy Delancy says:

    One of your best posts James. In fact it’s so good I wish I’d written it (LOL!). Consistency is also a matter of discipline, and the truth is in many areas, discipline beats brains.

    All the best.

  14. Abhinav says:

    Great article … really to the point. In fact, if I did come up with something useful I will make sure to dedicate a share of it to this article.

    Great work.

  15. Matt says:

    Jim Rohn has so many great and effective quotes. One of my favorites, which is applicable here, is: “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”

  16. Argel says:

    3 Powerful Words!
    BTW, since we are into Jim Rohn quotes, I like the one when he said that we cannot change the wind that blow but we can have a better sail.
    Thanks!

  17. eemusings says:

    Love these points: Find people who are doing what you want to do, and find new people to hang out with if your current crowd is a drag.

    Everything comes back to people. Good people are the key

  18. Joy says:

    Great post! I’ve had first-hand experience how important it is to just do something to start. I have made many mistakes along the way, some were costly, but I’ve also learnt so much from these mistakes.

    I’ve seen so many people talking about getting started but never actually do it. They create all sort of excuses why they couldn’t and shouldn’t do it before they do anything. As a result, nothing is achieved.

    The take away lesson? To actually doing something is way better than getting everything perfect. You can never get anywhere if you want perfection.

  19. M. Tohami says:

    I would add one word: “Passionate” Consistency.

    Being passionate gives you the motivation and the meaning to stay consistent until you get the desired results.

    In fact, I like being consistent over being persistent. Both are important. But, If I have to choose one, I will choose consistency.

    Doing something small EVERYDAY, will lead to better results than if you do something big that requires huge amount of persistence until it gets done.

    • James Clear says:

      Yes, passion is very important. So is flexibility and a continual drive to improve.

      Mix all of those with consistency and you’ll have a powerful recipe for success.

  20. XuDing says:

    Totally agree with you.

    Consistence is probably the most important factor leading you to success.

  21. Karen says:

    Thanks for the your insight and helping me to stay on track. I printed the “This is Your Year” page and its hanging over my desk. Some days I just need the right advice and I keep coming back to your site for the wisdom to keep me on track.

  22. Chris Green says:

    Awesome. I am just getting this after 35 years. It’s slowly sinking in that consistency is so important and far outweighs a bunch of hyperactive frenzied behavior (that doesn’t last).

  23. Tal Gur says:

    Another great post my friend. I liked the 100 points of willpower game :)

  24. Right from the first word of this article until the end, I was thinking of a friend who was looking for a job for about a year until she landed one. Even with a Masters in Biotechnology she was finding it very hard to land a job, but she did not give up – she started freelancing as a ‘Medical Writer’ and just recently, she landed the same job full time with a huge hospital and gets paid more than most Engineer recent graduates I know. I draw my inspiration from her.

  25. Michael says:

    Thanks James for your important points. Accepting failure and being consistent I particularly appreciate, since I often beat myself up about failing because my consistency is off. You acknowledging to be kind to yourself and take “small steps” helps with refocusing my efforts positively.

  26. John says:

    Is it ok if you miss a day or even 2 sometimes things come up in life and take up your time and sometimes it’s not your fault.

    • James Clear says:

      True. I would say it’s not when you “miss a day or two” that hurts. It’s when you miss a day or two and then never get back to where you were before. This happens all the time when people exercise. They get in a good rhythm and go to the gym for a month, then life happens and they miss a day or two … and all of a sudden they haven’t been to the gym in six months.

      Slipping up here and there isn’t a problem, but you need to make an effort to get back on track immediately.

  27. Swarup Kumar Basuri says:

    Enjoyed a lot reading it and trying to figure it out how can I be consistent as that the biggest problem I am facing (i.e. consistent). Want to start my own but unable to figure it out I mean what to do without so so much financial resource … But sure I will try my best to be consistent whatever I do..

  28. Sheila says:

    Every time I get discouraged, I read this again. Thanks James for the inspiration to keep going.

  29. Kate says:

    James- thanks for another great post! I think your living proof of exactly what this article embodies, great content, building relationships, and consistency. Thanks for the details!

  30. This make most sense, Thank you.

  31. This quote: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” I will keep this in mind, so inspiring…

  32. Deacon says:

    Great advice! Especially about being consistent, it is so true. I realize I get better at what I do when I engage in it more frequently. Learning from experience and from mistakes. Thanks!

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