20 Minutes a Day Can Radically Change Your Life


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Building a wealthy, healthy and happy life is just a process.

The process always begins with a vision of the ideal, future life you desire. This could be ten, fifteen or twenty years into the future.

That future life is actually the realization of a collage of dreams that forms the picture of your ideal, perfect, future life. Each dream is something very personal that you desire – the ideal job, $1 million in your investment accounts, a vacation home, no debt, good health, etc.

Your dreams must be what You want. Not what others want for you. Putting your ladder on someone else’s wall will eventually lead to unhappiness and a life of drudgery. As Steve Jobs said in the 2005 Stanford commencement address: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living some Else’s life.”

Pursue YOUR dreams. Not those of your parents, teachers or some other significant influence in your life.

In order to make that ideal life a reality, you need to follow a process I call Dream-Setting:

  1. Create a Script of Your Ideal Future Life – Pretend it is ten years into the future and you are writing in your journal. Describe in detail every amazing thing about this ideal, future life of yours. Also, describe your journey over the past ten years – Exactly what happened over the past ten years? Shoot for 500-1,000 words.
  2. Identify Each Dream – Define each specific dream that is a component of your ideal, future life,
  3. Create Goals Around Each Dream – Build individual goals around each dream. In order to realize a given dream, it may require that you accomplish numerous goals. Once you accomplish those goals, your dream will be realized. Think of each dream as a rung on a ladder. Every time you realize a dream, you climb that ladder, dream by dream, until you reach the top. At that top sits your ideal, future life.
  4. Create Habits Around Your Goals – The final step requires that you forge daily habits (goal habits) that, when accomplished each day, brings you closer to achieving each individual goal.

Building new daily habits isn’t difficult if you know what to do. It simply takes time and consistency. Consistency is the key.

There is an easy trick that you can use in order to forge new daily habits to help you accomplish the goals behind the dreams that make up your ideal, future life. This habit shortcut virtually guarantees they stick. It’s called the 20 Minute Habit Shortcut.

The 20 Minute Habit Shortcut involves a simple three-step process:
1. Define a daily activity that will help you accomplish a specific goal.
2. Devote 20 minutes a day to that new activity.
3. Repeat that activity every day for 30 days.

The new activity could be:

  • 20 minutes a day of reading to expand your knowledge in a particular area that you need to become more proficient in, in order accomplish an individual goal (i.e. getting some license or certification).
  • 20 minutes a day of making phone calls to various influencers with whom you would like to develop a relationship. These influencers can open doors that will help you accomplish your goals and realize your dreams.
  • 20 minutes of listening to a podcast related to one or more of your goals. This provides knowledge and insight you need in order to achieve your goals.
  • 20 minutes of watching a TEDx video on a topic you need to become more knowledgeable in, in order for you to realize your goals.
  • 20 minutes a day of watching a YouTube video on a topic you need to become more knowledgeable in, in order for you to realize your goals.
  • 20 minutes of developing a side-business you hope to one day devote yourself to full-time.
  • 20 minutes focused on achieving one singular goal.
  • 20 minutes of jogging, if an active, healthy life is part of your ideal future vision.
  • 20 minutes of lifting weights, if having strong muscles is part of your ideal future life vision.
  • 20 minutes of developing a new skill, if this new skill is needed in order to give you the skill-set to even begin pursuing a goal.
  • 20 minutes of thinking positive thoughts. Positivity is a common characteristic of all successful people. A positive mindset keeps you optimistic, motivated and focused on overcoming obstacles rather than being stopped by them.
  • 20 minutes of helping your spouse with home chores (laundry, dish washer, make the bed, clean the house, etc.), if a happy home life is part of your future ideal life.
  • 20 minutes engaged in some hobby that you are passionate about and would like to eventually transform into a money-making business.
  • 20 minutes of doing home-improvement projects, if your ideal future life includes remodeling your home.

Thirty days gets your brain cells talking to one another, forming a synapse. Once the synapse is formed, the tracks are laid for habit formation to occur. Over time, it will become easier and easier to engage in the activity. At some point, between 66 – 256 days, according to the latest science on habits change, the daily activity will become an automatic, unconscious behavior, also known as a habit.

The brain loves habits. Habits conserve brain fuel and free up the prefrontal cortex by shifting control of the habit to the limbic system. Once freed up, the prefrontal cortex can now focus on other important things. But it does take repetition and time in order to get brain cells talking to each other. Thirty days gets the conversation going inside the brain.

Once your new habit sticks, then you can move on to your next new habit, following the same three-step process.

In the course of a year you will add three or more new habits using this three-step process. In a few years you will have created dozens of new habits and your life will begin to improve as you accomplish one goal after another and realize one dream after another.

Habits are like snowflakes on the side of a steep mountain. You hardly notice, on a daily basis, the snow accumulating. But after many months, that accumulation is so significant, it causes an avalanche.

Like snowflakes on a steep mountain, the effects of Rich Habits and Poor Habits, on a daily basis, are hard to see. However, after many years, the cumulative effect of those habits are readily noticed. Rich Habits produce an avalanche of positive consequences and Poor Habits produce an avalanche of negative consequences.

This invisibility of the effects of habits is why, when success hits, it appears to the outside observer as if that person became an overnight success. They only see the avalanche of success event. What they are unable to see is the daily devotion to Rich Habits, those years of engaging in certain constructive daily routines, that created the avalanche of success event.

Define your ideal, future life today – a clear vision of who you want to be ten years into the future. Then start your success journey by pursuing just one goal and build daily activities around that one goal. Stick with it until those activities become habits. Then move on to the next goal. Baby step your way to success, goal by goal, dream by dream.

Each dream you realize is another rung on your ladder. Your ideal, future life awaits you at the top of that ladder.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Hi Tom!

    I find your research fantastic and very helpful but I want to better understand your research like how many persons were interviewed for your research? And what was the basis for selecting said persons?

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