Highlights with Michael Hyatt, author of Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals

Millions of Americans will be making their New Year’s resolutions and, statistically, fewer than 10% of those Americans are actually successful in completing those resolutions.

“Most people don’t live 10, 20, 30 years, but the same year over and over again.”


There are external circumstances that we cannot control, but what truly directs our future are the actions we take despite or in reaction to those circumstances. Take responsibility for your decisions.


When you are working towards a large goal:

If you fall short from completing your goal fully, acknowledge, but don’t dwell on the loss —  measure the gain!


Limiting beliefs may be global or relational, but the most damaging limiting beliefs are the ones we have about ourselves. Those are real only in your mind.

  • Evaluate, is that belief objectively true?
  • Or is it a limiting belief?
  • Take those limiting beliefs and transform them into a liberating belief.

There’s what happens to you, but, more important, there’s the meaning that you assign to what happens to you.


“Regret reveals opportunity.”

  • You don’t have to beat yourself up about it
  • Regrets give hope for the future that you can achieve more
  • You now have room to acknowledge your failures and change things in the future


Three different zones in which you can set a goal:

  1. Comfort Zone (lots of confidence)
  2. Discomfort Zone (fear, doubt, confusion, risk) — this is your golden zone
  3. Delusion Zone


Finding your “why”:

Identify your three top motivations or your “why’s” for each goal. Connect with them emotionally and intellectually, so you can review them when you get in a rut while pursuing your goals.

Michael Hyatt’s book, Your Best Year Ever, and his video course 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, incorporate and back up the science that has been proven through goal-achievement research.

Go buy the book!

Show Transcription

[00:18] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host, Kevin Miller, and today we are talking about the year ahead of you, which can start at any time. But what will actually make it any different? Our guest today is famed author, blogger, and personality, Michael Hyatt. As you heard in the intro clip, how many people don’t live progressive years of life, but simply relive the same year over and over again? Since you are listening to this show, we can assume you are not an average person, you are an aspiring, achieving individual. However, the best of us can often find ourselves discouraged at the progress we are making. You are who this interview is for, it’s an intriguing strategy that Michael gives us, focusing on his just-released book, Your Best Year Ever.

[01:07] If you don’t know Michael, he’s the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.  His newest book is Your Best Year Ever, and it’s what we are digging into today. Michael gives us a structure to work our goals through to make them:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Actionable
  4. Risky – ignite your imagination
  5. Time-keyed
  6. Exciting
  7. Relevant

[01:46] I’m telling you, you will want to hear this. Also, you can be a part of his “five days to your best year ever” course at bestyearever.me. And connect with all he has for you at: michaelhyatt.com.

[03:38] Ok. folks, Mark Timm and I now bring you an incredible discussion with Michael Hyatt.

[03:48] Michael. you are one of few guests back on the show a second time, and it could not be more wanted. Thanks for being in here with us.

[04:26] I wanna dig in, but what’s interesting for me right after we’re back is your book, Your Best Year Ever, A 5-Step Plan For Achieving Your Most Important Goals. You being the rock star in the publishing world, I can see how to be intentional and comment on your book with great purpose, and yet, this one is one that you had laid out.

[04:50] Well, it is actually the title of the course that I have been teaching now for five years. And it really went back to a practice that I have been doing in my life for decades, where that week between Christmas and New Year’s, I would use to kind of turn the corner and review what I accomplished in my previous year, kind of close the books, and design the new year. And for  a lot of people that is a brand new idea. It is like they live 20 years, and they live kind of the same every year. And I want each year better than the last, and that was only gonna happen when I was intentional…if I designed it.

[07:13] Well, on that I am a word guy, and the definition of resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. I saw you saying you know the resolution is a kind of misnomer. So, based on our rate of failure, is it more appropriate to say, in all honesty, that we generally set New Year’s hopes?

[07:34] Well, think about this. You know, if you guys go to a gym or work in your homes — I happen to go to a gym. I was dreading that first week of January, because I know it is hard to find a parking place, because the gym will be full of what I called resolutors. And resolutors are the ones who look in the mirror on 2nd January evening and feel that they need to lose 20-30 pounds. They think that this year will be different and they show up in gym. And it’s packed, you know, taking on the machines, you want all that, but I’ve learned that if I’ll just be patient, through attrition those people will be gone, most of them will be gone by the 21st. Then there will be plenty of parking, all the machines will be free, and will be back to the, you know, the people who are really committed to fitness.

[10:09] You start off describing how we often start off strong with an initiative, then get derailed and fall short of our hopes. In looking at excuses, do people generally feel like something came in and happened to them…and they got derailed? Or that they just personally failed?

[10:35] Well, it’s probably a mixture of both. It depends on the person you’re talking to, but it is remarkable how many people consider themselves a victim. And, in other words, what happened to them was because of something outside of their sphere of influence. And, I mean, we have to acknowledge there are things that happen to us that are outside of our sphere influence, right? But there’s a whole lot more under our influence and under our control, and sometimes we don’t like to admit it.

[16:18] You know, one question more on that — taking personal responsibility. This is an issue that’s come up recently in some of our shows just prior to this. We had a guest on that talked about treating everything as if it’s your fault, it’s going with the spirit of going ahead and taking personal responsibility. But we got feedback from folks that it is a struggle with guilt and feeling at fault already, that it feels very daunting to, as Mark kind of attested, really embrace that they may not have a leader above them that is going to make it safe. How can the people out here listening right now go with that, take it as a personal responsibility, even if there is a viable thing that they were victimized to some degree, but to do that in a way that is not just heaping coals of guilt on themselves as well.

 [17:08] You know, I think we have to be very careful and distinguish between traumatic events like somebody that was raped or assaulted or something like that. I am not suggesting that those people need to take personal responsibility for what happened to others. There are a lot of things in life that happened to us that we were responsible for. But here’s a key: our response is something we can always take responsibility for, and we have to give each other grace, right? Because when something bad happens it may take a period of time for people to recover, and even to go through therapy, and they have to go through some process that enables them to kind of unbuckle from that and be free. Especially traumatic experiences, because they has an impact on our brain. But but beyond that, just for the run-of-the-mill failures that most of us go through, that’s where I think if we can lean into those, and we can kind of own it, then we have the possibility of actually improving and growing. But until we own it — that’s not possible.

[21:03] Your book is based on five key assumptions:

  1. Real life is multifaceted – ten interrelated domains (similar to the Ziglar wheel of life)
  2. Every domain matters, as each affects the others
  3. Progress starts only when you get clear on where you are right now
  4. You can improve any life domain
  5. Confidence, happiness, and life satisfaction are byproducts of personal growth

I’m somewhat expecting that people understand #1 and #2. But #3, “Progress starts only when you get clear on where you are right now,” this sounds like a personal inventory that is very, very seldom part of an initiative toward something. How does the lack of this inventory affect our probability for failure?

[21:42] So, you guys are probably like me, using the GPS system when trying to find something. I don’t even think I know how to read a map anymore. And I am the kind of guy who gets lost easily. Well, now, there are only two things that you have to know for a GPS to work: where are you going, and the GPS has to know where you are starting from — your current location. These are the two things you can map to route your destination. The same is true with goal setting. You gotta know where you going, you gotta have a clearly defined, very specific measurable goal, and you have to know where you are. You have to face reality.

[26:48] Number four says, “You can improve any life domain.” On one hand, I think most people would initially agree; but in truth, do you experience that people are not actually confident in this assumption?

[27:22] I think the older I’ve gotten, the more I realise the greatest obstacles that we pursue in the way of goals are the ones between our ears. So I used to have a dog named Nelson. But we didn’t have a fence in our yard at that time. And Nelson would often bolt out of the yard or out of the front door and we’d spend the next, you know, couple of hours trying to chase him down. So, finally, we got smart. We couldn’t go do the fence at the time, so we discovered an invisible fence. We buried one of those in the yard, and  the way those work is that when that dog has a special each leash on, and a collar on, and approaches that perimeter, that wire that is buried in the ground gets a little vibration on his neck, and it’s just enough to kind of startle him. Nelson was so trained with this that we could stand on the other side of the barrier with his collar off. So he didn’t have a collar on, and we would beckon him to come to us. The grandkids would have treats.  He wouldn’t budge. Now the question is, where was the invisible fence?  Because it wasn’t working. Because he didn’t have a collar on, there was nothing to conduct electricity so that there was a vibration. The barrier had been for the invisible fence to his mind. So now the fence was between his ears. And a lot of people have that kind of barrier, obstacle, as they’re thinking about some area of their life, and I hear it all the time. They have these limiting beliefs, sometimes they’re global like, you know, I can’t succeed in this economy or I can’t succeed under the current president or maybe something about other people.  You know, that person won’t give me the time of day because I’m just, you know, I’m a bean counter or diminish themselves in some way. The most damaging limiting beliefs are the ones that we have about ourselves. You know, things like — I hear these all the time: I’m not technologically inclined or I’m too old to get hired or the reverse, I’m too young to get hired or am “over educated.” I mean, all these things — these don’t exist out there. They exist in here, and one of the things that I do in the book is, I have a process for really kind of looking in the mirror and evaluating whether something is objectively true or whether it is just a limiting belief.

[31:32] So let’s talk about beliefs, which is where you really dive in from a high level, and, I guess, this is why you start here! Isn’t this the crux? We generally have our beliefs based on what we think is truth. Fact. But you are making the case that this is false, and our beliefs are actually malleable and based on perception. Is this, in essence, the “holy grail”?

[32:13] The way I look at it there is what happens to you, but the more important thing is the meaning that I assign to what happens to me. So, two people can go through a completely different experience — or the the same experience — and come to opposite conclusions. In fact, Kevin, your dad has an amazing talk about this when he describes these two people who grew up in the same house — you know the talk — and I don’t get it exactly right, but the first one is the kid who’s deprived. He grows up in this very religiously rigid, rigorous background and he can’t do anything. He’s deprived of most of the creature comforts everybody else takes for granted. So there’s that one guy. And there’s another guy who has all this time for reading and exploring and spends a lot of time outdoors. And if you know the story, your dad says “this is the same guy. It’s me,.It’s just a different perspective on how I grew up.”

[33:52] You make a big statement, “Resources are never – and I mean never – the main challenge in achieving our dreams.” That’s a controversial statement for most anyone. Help us embrace this.

[34:11] Well, I intended to become controversial. Because I think that people limit their vision, limit what they can achieve in life, because they think about the resources first and not the vision first. And the truth is this: in my experience, the resources don’t show up until the vision is clear. The resources don’t show up until the vision is clear, and we think of it this way: if you don’t know what you want, why do you need resources? It’s never happened to me that an investor or anybody else has come to my front door and said, “Hey, I don’t wish to achieve in life but here’s a big pile of money. Figure it out and do what you want with it.” No. You know, it’s vision that tracks resources and so if we would spend more time getting clear on our vision, I think we’d more often find that the resources show up. So I was having a talk with my former pastor about this back when he was a pastor, he’s now retired, and his thinking about the size of the church was that we couldn’t build a church any bigger than we were going to built because we didn’t have the resources to build it anymore. I just said to him, “No, that’s backwards. That’s not how it works. Here’s how it works: we got to decide what we need, decide what we want, and then trust God to provide the resources,” and that’s exactly what happened. If we think we’re going to get the resources first, and we’re going to create a future out of those resources, it’s going to be very small, because the resources we have now are insufficient for the vision that we have. If we want more resources, we have to have a bigger vision.

[36:14] Next go into “Complete the past.” It dawned on me that every belief we have this moment is based on the past. That’s all we have. Whether the past is a split second ago, or 20 years ago. How much of our beliefs are based on our early past thought, from childhood into formative years…that is still the basis for a majority of our belief system?

[36:57] I think that is true. When I talk about completing the past, I want you to be able to put the past to bed, get closure on the past, so that it doesn’t inhibit the best of what could be in your future. And Tony Robbins says it this way, he says “Your future does not equal your past.” And it doesn’t. You know, we see this all the time, that the best stories that we have are somebody that had some really inhibiting or limiting stuff they were able to overcome by what they believed and by what they did. By the way, it’s not just your beliefs. Your beliefs are important, but it’s going to transmit into your behavior.

[40:50] In talking about the past, you hit on “regrets.” A topic I like. Our culture seems to applaud success being, “No regrets!” I’ve never been of this camp. Yes, redemption is a real thing, but I absolutely have regrets. You actually say “regret reveals opportunity,” then make another big statement, “The only people with no hope are those with no regrets.” You’re just messing up all the movie scenes of “no regrets.” Help us understand this.

[41:40] If I say I have no regrets, what I’m really saying is that I achieved everything. You know, there’s no gap between sort of this ideal, this better future, you know, where I am now. And so, the thing about a regret is it really tells us that hope is still alive, that there’s something else that we aspire to but we didn’t aspire to it. No, here’s the thing — we don’t have to beat ourselves up about it, but to just acknowledge that no, I’ve still not achieved everything I want to achieve. I’ve got some regrets, but that’s informed the way I shaped and designed my life going forward.

[47:25] To design our future, we must have goals. Our crowd is used to hearing this. But you break goals down into seven pieces:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Actionable
  4. Risky – ignite your imagination
  5. Time-keyed
  6. Exciting
  7. Relevant

Specific, Measurable, Actionable…all important, and everyone needs to get the book to dig into Michael’s insight and guidance! But the next one…Risky. I’m not sure I’ve heard that put into a list of goals ingredients. Tell us about Risky:

[48:15] So this is based on all the goal achievement research that we could find, and that is that unless a goal is risky — in another words, if it’s a slam-dunk, it’s not risky. There’s got to be the possibility that you don’t achieve it, that you might fail. Those are the only goals that actually command your attention, that marshal your focus, that really will keep you going when you want to quit, because they light your imagination. But here’s what typically happens for most people, and certainly what happens in the corporate world, where it’s not safe for failure, you set a goal you don’t achieve, so the next year you’re going to have that happen again. You’re going to set a lower goal, one that you can absolutely almost fall over, and then it becomes this big negotiation between management and the sales team because the sales team wants to go as low as possible so they’ve got the opportunity to exceed it. So I think there’s three different zones, and I talk about this, about three different zones in which you can set a goal. So the first one is a comfort, the comfort zone, and we all know that this is where we’re comfortable, like no fear. We’ve got plenty of confidence; we’re clear about how do we achieve that goal, because we’ve probably done it before. So whatever the goal is, it’s just an incremental increase over something we’ve done before. The discomfort zone is where it gets really interesting, because this is the place where we will sow fear. We feel some doubt, we feel some confusion, and those are actually not the motions that we need to lean back from. But we need to lean into them, because they’re markers that your goal isn’t exactly the right place.

[56:20] Making a goal exciting — and we’re kind of hitting that — and you mentioned in the book, ‘find your why.’ Not that this hasn’t always been known, but Simon Sinek made it famous. That said…I find it’s the biggest crux without a great answer. I think about it as motive. In my work in the health and wellness industry, it’s said that about 80% of chronic illness and disease is preventable. I and many others would argue that it’s far greater than 80%. So why is chronic illness and disease growing? Because we want what we want. We want to watch TV and live a sedentary lifestyle and eat whatever and however much we want. To NOT do that takes motive. A reason we want something more than another. But how do you create motive, if it’s not there? I think a lot of people pursuing personal development have true desires, but they also just realize…and lament, that they don’t want it enough to do what they need to do. How do you increase motive?

[57:28] Yeah, there are several different things that will help. One of the things that I take people through in the book is the process of identifying your three top motivations or your why for each goal. So, for example, when I wrote my book platform you notice a noisy whirl. I identified to Freddie why that was important, I knew that that would establish my authority as a platform builder, as a blogger, as a caster, and all that. I knew that it would probably open up some doors for me in terms of creating that relationship side or other kinds of recurring revenue. So these are kind of my whines, and so I literally wrote those down because, under stress, I think that’s very important and that is inevitably in the pursuit of a goal you’re going to hit.

[1:05:06] OK, friends, with that message we should all be amped up to truly make the next 12 months the best so far. Again, join Michael in his “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever” course at bestyearever.me. And connect with all he has for you at michaelhyatt.com. Coming up in show 517 we go behind the scenes with Michael to hear his personal habits of success in the seven spokes of The Ziglar Wheel of Life. Here are some excerpts: he believes energy doesn’t just happen, it’s caused. He cites how important rest is to him. Every night he and his wife hold hands and share three wins of the day before going to sleep. He reads four books per month in his work, and with his employees they engage in “radical margin.” His new joy is…painting. So I’ll look forward to being with you then, as we inspire our true performance…together!