Achieve a Major Goal in 8 Weeks:
March 6 – May 1, 2021
2021 has just begun. If you got off to a slow start, or you had a fast start you want to extend, now is a perfect time to review the past and set goals for the future. Don’t let your great intentions dissolve into inertia or get lost in the daily routine.
Make it different this year by joining me for Launch 21 Episode 2. By participating in this program, you will:
- Set a goal or resolution that makes a material difference to your health, wealth, or relationships, which you will achieve by May 1
- Troubleshoot and overcome any practical difficulties that stand in your way
- Build measurable emotional resilience to draw on as you pursue other challenging goals in the coming year
This program addresses all of the problems that come up when you start a self-study course or join an ongoing program.
How exactly will it work?
When you register for Launch 21, you will get immediate access to a curated sequence of materials that will help you set a goal and prepare yourself to work on it regularly during the program. You will also get immediate access to all of the other resources in the Thinking Lab. You can either jump in and get a head start on the coursework, or just take some time to look around, and maybe listen to a recording or two. In any case, you don’t need to be overwhelmed by all of the material available to you. I will take you by the hand. To give you an idea of how this will go, day by day, let me spell it out:
Registration (Prior to Kickoff March 6): Optional early preparation for setting your goal
When you register, you will get access to my goal-setting process, which will help you set your goal for the next two months. I will explain a specific process that ensures your goal will be both important to you and achievable by May 1. Is your goal an annual goal? No problem. You’ll figure out the meaningful subgoal to complete by that time. Is your goal to change some behavior, such as diet or exercise? No problem. You’ll identify a resolution that you can get up and running smoothly by May 1.
If you have trouble choosing a goal, you can use the Decision Cards technique taught in one of the early recordings available to you.
Saturday, March 6: Set your goal with help from me on Thinking Day
Saturday, March 6 is Day 1 of the program. You will get an email reminder to choose your goal. I will also encourage you to check in during Thinking Day to get feedback on your goal and/or answers to your questions about the program. I will be on the Zoom bridge from 10-12 Eastern, 2-3 Eastern, and 5-6 Eastern.
Sunday, March 7: Start tracking your emotional resilience
The key to achieving any challenging goal is to deal with your own emotions around the failures and setbacks that are inevitable. I have developed a very simple measure of emotional resilience. On Day 2, I will send you an email explaining how to use this tracking tool, and you will fill out your tracking sheet for the previous day. This is something that will take you less than a minute each day, but which will give you objective evidence of both challenges and successes in your life.
Monday, March 8: Start the week 1 thought work
The thought work each week will have a specific purpose. I will explain it in Monday’s email and then elaborate on it in the emails on Tuesday through Friday.
Each week, the purpose will evolve slightly. I’ve designed this email sequence to address the issues I’ve seen in myself and others when working toward challenging goals. Generally speaking, we will focus on troubleshooting practical difficulties in the first month and motivational issues in the second.
The thought work will all be done as “thinking on paper,” which is taught in one of the recordings. To do the work, you will need to dedicate a notebook (if you use handwriting) or a document (if you think on paper on a computer) for all of your thought work for the program. Make sure you date each entry!
Tuesday, March 9 – Friday, March 12: Chew this week’s issue in the daily thought work
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the thought work I send by email will be a variation on the theme established on Monday.
You may be thinking, why would I want to think about that same issue again? It won’t be the same issue. The situation will have changed a little or a lot since the previous day. Additionally, it is your job to find some new aspect of the situation that needs attention. If you have a challenging goal, you benefit tremendously by thinking for 15 minutes every day about how you’re going to achieve it.
I will give you a process. Your job will be to use the process to think through your specific situation. That is the skill you will be learning by daily thought work. By systematically doing this work every day, or at least most days, you will get practice turning on your critical faculty to figure out what you need to think about in order to actually make forward progress…rather than spinning in analysis paralysis.
If your 15-minute daily thinking seems unimportant, repetitive, or unhelpful, then you need to run — not walk — to the next coaching call to get support. In 15 minutes, you should always get a new insight. It should be worth the effort every single time. If it’s not, holler. This is a learnable skill that you will use for the rest of your life. Launch 21 is a great opportunity to learn it.
Wait a minute, this sounds like a lot of time. How much work is this going to be?
On average, budget 3-4 hours/week for this program, over and above the time you need to do the work to achieve your goal. Most days you will spend 15 minutes “thinking on paper.” Most weeks you will take an hour either to attend a coaching session or to do more in-depth thinking on some issue. For example, unless your goal is already clear, you will probably need a little extra time right at the beginning to clarify your goal.
The rest of the time spent will be listening to recorded classes, which are typically 75 minutes. I recommend you go through 8 classes, in order, as part of the program. If you join early, you can get ahead by listening to these in advance. During the program, I’ll keep you posted as to what recording I recommend you listen to each week.
If that sounds like a lot of time, maybe your goal isn’t important enough to warrant a two-month push. The motivation for doing this thought work is your achieving your goal. If you are sure you’ll achieve your goal without the program, then don’t sign up! If you don’t have a meaningful goal you want to achieve, then don’t sign up!
If you have a goal that you really want, but you dread putting the time in, then you need this program. The thought work is how you sort out why you don’t feel motivation to do something that is good for you. It’s also how you change it so you do. Once you learn how to troubleshoot that kind of motivational disconnect, you will have a skill that you can draw on for the rest of your life.
What if I don’t know what goal to set?
If you have a vague yearning for something, but you don’t know now exactly what, you need more of the resources to get you started. In addition to the specific goal-setting work in this program, you will have access to courses in the Thinking Lab such as Developing a Central Purpose. Your goal for May 1 may be to identify a major direction for your life, or develop a skill. Or you may take a couple of weeks at the beginning to sort out your goal. There are many, many resources available to you once you are in the program, and you can use them as much or as little as you need to get what you want.
Let me describe the rest of the details about how the program will work:
What exactly is “thought work”?
“Thought work” is the 15-minute assignment you do each day. These will always be done in writing. Essentially, I will ask you to answer some thought-provoking questions related to your goal. You will write out your answers in the form of “Thinking on Paper,” or sometimes follow the steps of another tactic. It is fine if you don’t know the answer to the questions at first. These are not tests. They are chances to “pick your own brain.” In the program, you will learn how to answer your own questions, even when you don’t know the answers at first. My job is to make the questions interesting and relevant to you, and to teach you how to adjust your thinking as you go, so that every one of these 15-minute sessions is helpful to you.
What does it look like? Here is a video of me doing “thinking on paper” in my journal (sped up 4x):
Monday, March 8: Optional: Get help at the first group-coaching session
Each week there will be two group-coaching sessions. These will be on Zoom. Either Lin Zinser or I will be there to answer practical questions about the work and to coach you through obstacles.
The purpose of a coaching call is to help you see your own thinking and that you can think through any problems for yourself. You know more about your situation than I or any coach possibly could. But there is an art to being able to marshal your own resources to figure out your best next step in a timely way.
When you come to a group-coaching session, Lin or I may ask you to show us your most recent thought work, or your emotional resilience chart. This information helps us coach you effectively. Please don’t be shy about sharing something that seems messy or not up to some ideal standard. Guaranteed, if you are having a problem, I have had a similar problem before, Lin has had a similar problem before, and someone else in the program is having the same problem right now. It is by working through real cases, and understanding how to use real tools, that you will become completely self-sufficient in solving these problems yourself.
If you want to stay anonymous on the group coaching calls, you can arrange a pseudonym with us in advance, and call in without video. You can also send your thought work to me by email 24-hours before the coaching call. I promise at least a short response, and I could discuss your situation (anonymously) on the call.
These group-coaching calls will be recorded and made available to other members of the program. As a general policy in the Thinking Lab and this program, we ask that all participants keep whatever they hear confidential. Lin and I will of course keep it confidential. That said, if you fully prefer private, confidentiality-guaranteed coaching, that is available one-on-one with Lin Zinser for an additional fee.
Saturday, March 13: Celebrate your achievement so far
It’s the weekend. Time to celebrate. My goal with the Saturday emails is to make the thought work that day sound so delightful that you will stop and do it, even if you are taking Saturday off, and especially if you think you didn’t do enough in the past week to justify celebration.
If you’ve followed my work, you know I believe you build a happy life by focusing on gaining values, not avoiding threats. Well, you need to train your mind to see the values. For this, you need objective self-awareness. This is a skill you will be developing throughout the program. And we will focus on that especially on Saturdays.
Sunday, March 14: Do your first review
I recommend you do 15 minutes of thought work every day. To keep you interested and focused, I’ll send a new mini assignment each morning by email. However, I’m anticipating that most participants will skip some days, either intentionally or accidentally. Some may choose to work the program only on weekdays, others only on weekends. Everyone will go through busy patches during which time it’s hard to catch up.
So, like a good engineer, I’m building redundancy and flexibility into the system. If you miss one day, you do not need to go back to do the thought work you missed. You just carry on!
On a weekly basis, there will be chances to catch up. In particular, on Sundays, I will send an email that recapitulates the goals of the previous week and encourages you to finish up and/or consolidate your gains so you are ready for the next week. Of course, depending on when you enrolled and started thinking about your goal, this first review could cover more than a week.
Sunday is a great day for reflection. Making it a routine has many benefits. First, regular review is critical to identifying problems early. Second, it enables you to get help in a timely manner. Third, it’s a great time to send feedback to me. Email me your observations; that will help me keep the program focused on real needs. I promise at least a short response, and sometimes your feedback will hit jackpot. Feedback from clients has led to new articles for my newsletter, new classes in the Thinking Lab, and new self-study courses on the Thinking Lab site.
Rinse and Repeat
You have now seen the pattern of the program. On Monday you get thought work on the theme for the week. The thought work on Tuesday through Friday will expand on that theme. On Saturday you celebrate. On Sunday you review the past week. Each week there will be two group-coaching calls you can attend to get some extra help. If you can’t attend, you can listen afterwards to see how others are dealing with the same kinds of issues you are.
Self-Study on the Side
During the two months of the program, you’ll want to go through all 8 curated recordings, in order.
But you will also have access to all of the materials in the Thinking Lab. There are 19 self-study courses. There is a library of over 50 thinking tools. Plus, each month there are two new live classes and one open Q&A called an “Overflow Session.”
You can participate in the Thinking Lab activities as much or as little as you want. On the coaching calls, Lin and I may refer you to Thinking Lab materials, particularly if they are directly relevant to your goal.
Saturday, May 1: Time to Celebrate!
I hope you will join me on the May 1 Thinking Day to celebrate your accomplishments, and figure out where you are going from here.
The only person who can achieve your goal is you. But we can give you the moral and practical support so that if you falter and don’t know how to get back on track, you have the resources you need to regroup, recommit, and restart progress.
Every day in the program you will receive an email in the morning. It is just the day’s 15-minute thought work. That is really all you need to do. You don’t need to get overwhelmed. You will be able to achieve your goal, one step at a time. Convinced?
How will this “thought work” actually enable me to achieve my goal by May 1? Isn’t action the key?
Of course, action is the key. Much of your thought work is going to be reviewing what you did and didn’t do, and why, so you can repeat successes and avoid repeating failure. The thought work is how you stay on top of action and make sure that you are giving this goal the attention it needs so it actually gets accomplished. The thought work is essential to the three promises I’m making:
Promise #1: You will set a goal or resolution that makes a material difference to your health, wealth, or relationships, which you will achieve by May 1
How do I know it will make a material difference to your health, wealth, or relationships? Because you will figure that out as part of the thought work. That is a critical step to setting a goal that motivates you to take the action. You will have the benefit of my feedback to make sure that your goal is sufficiently meaningful that it can be worked on consistently over these two months.
How do I know you’ll achieve it by May 1? Okay, there is a little bit of slight of hand here. The thought work is going to guide you to set a stretch goal that is realistic. It will also ensure you re-assess its realism, if needed, as you take steps toward it. Some people in the program will eventually conclude that their initial idea for a goal is impossible to achieve on this time scale. If that’s the case for you, you will figure out what is possible and do that instead. But you won’t give up prematurely! The other two promises will ensure that.
If you signed up for the program in good faith, and have put in the effort to implement the advice, but it just doesn’t work for you, let me know by April 3.
The only requirement is that before I give you your money back, you agree to have a 30-minute conversation with me in which we can discuss what wasn’t working for you and why. This will enable me to fine-tune the program in the future and/or be more specific about who should and shouldn’t sign up for it.
Promise #2: You will troubleshoot and overcome any practical difficulties that stand in your way
I predict that every single person in the program will run into difficulties following through on his or her goal before the end of the program. Some will have problems the first day. Some may only have them at the end of the first month or later. But everyone will have problems. It’s inherent in pursuing a challenging goal. If you could achieve your goal without making uncomfortable changes to the status quo, you wouldn’t be enrolling in the program.
Here’s my second prediction: when you have problems, you’ll be tempted to avoid the issue. This is a predictable motivational event. If things don’t go well, you have something that looks like difficulty or failure, it will be unpleasant. Every person on the planet feels aversion to unpleasantness.
It is going to take a bit of effort to take a look at what happened and regroup. If you don’t have a system in place to help you do that, your goal will just mysteriously slip out of mind, perhaps even for a week or two at a time. If this happens to you, it will eventually pop back into mind, and you will feel guilty, because you’ve been ignoring it. That would make it even more unpleasant to examine, leading to greater aversion to it.
One of the key purposes of regular thought work is to prevent that kind of vicious cycle from starting. You will take a look at how things are going on a regular basis, in a neutral, non-self-critical way. You will learn to look at problems objectively, without jumping to the conclusion that something is wrong with you, or you’re “bad,” or “lazy.” There is no insulting yourself in the thought work. It is 100% constructive. If you have any trouble with the thought work turning into self-recriminations, run, do not walk, to the next coaching call. Lin and I can help you with that, to help you ensure that your thought work always helps you get oriented in a constructive, positive direction.
That said, you may need to develop some emotional skills to deal with the problems in a nonjudgmental, positive way. Hence the final promise:
Promise #3: You will build measurable emotional resilience to draw on as you pursue other challenging goals in the coming year
You can find a lot of sappy quotes about how failure is just a step on the road to success. And it’s not failure unless you give up. And it’s not failure, it’s a learning experience. And they’re all true. And that doesn’t make failure any fun. To anybody. Ever.
Therefore, I am not promising that March and April will be fun. I expect you to experience some failure along the way, sooner or later.
What I am promising is to teach you skills for dealing with it, emotionally, so that you can come back and make a new effort.
This is the quality of emotional resilience, which you are going to measure and build throughout the 2-month program. How? Thought work. Yes, the thought work is how you build that strength. The thought work is designed to give you objective self-awareness. This means you are aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. Your skills and your limitations. Your motivation and your lack thereof. When you can be objective about what you bring to the table, you can set more realistic goals, and troubleshoot obstacles in a matter of fact, efficient manner.
Learning to do this may require some coaching. That’s why there are two coaching calls every week. If you run into a tough spot, you can get help within a few days. Of course, you can also ask for help by email. I promise at least a short response.
By the end of the program, you will have measurably more emotional resilience. This is a capacity that you can draw on for the rest of your life.
How do I know I can help you?
I’ve been teaching these skills for a long time. Over the years, I have run several programs similar to this. In every case, the people who did the thought work in a structured way on a regular basis got amazing results. The people who used my goal-setting tools got amazing results. The people who learned the introspective tools got amazing results.
This particular program was run for the first time in January, 2021, and it was a huge success. I created it with more support to make sure you do the work. I doubled down with daily emails and 8 group coaching calls a month. It paid off.
Why this design? Market research. I checked out some competitors to the Thinking Lab, and found some things they were doing that helped me be more accountable when I test drove their programs. I’ve adapted what I learned for the Launch 21 program. In particular, I am in the middle of the certification program for the Life Coach School, and will be using that unique coaching process on the coaching calls. It meshes with everything I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and gives me a new confidence I can help you re-set your approach in a short conversation.
Frankly, this is one reason I am offering the money-back guarantee. I don’t think the first round was a fluke. I truly believe this is going to achieve the results I’ve promised, because I have built in more than enough support for anyone who puts in the effort. If I’m wrong, I need to know that.
As I tell people in the Thinking Lab, be a squeaky wheel. I am going to be eager for feedback, good and bad. If you raise an issue, and I see I need to add something to the program, you can bet I will. I may write a new article. I may set a topic for a class. I could even put together a new mini-course. I am committed to doing everything I can do, to support you in doing your own work.
Coaching Call Schedule
(All times are Eastern Standard Time)
Saturday, 3/6/21, 10 am – 6 pm, Thinking Day
Monday, 3/8/21, 12-1 pm
Thursday, 3/11/21, 8-9 pm
Monday, 3/15/21, 3-4 pm
Thursday, 3/18/21, 12-1 pm
Monday, 3/22/21, 8-9 pm
Thursday, 3/25/21, 3-4 pm
Monday, 3/29/21, 12-1 pm
Thursday, 4/1/21, 8-9 pm
Monday, 4/5/21, 3-4 pm
Thursday, 4/8/21, 12-1 pm
Monday, 4/12/21, 8-9 pm
Thursday, 4/15/21, 3-4 pm
Monday, 4/19/21, 12-1 pm
Thursday, 4/22/21, 8-9 pm
Monday, 4/26/21, 3-4 pm
Thursday, 4/29/21, 12-1 pm
Saturday, 5/1/21, 10 am – 6 pm, Thinking Day
Let’s summarize exactly what you get
- A simple goal-setting process coming to you when you register
- The Thinker’s Toolkit mailed to your home (and soft copy)
- March 6: Finalize your goal with help from Jean’s live group coaching as part of Thinking Day (part of the Thinking Lab)
- Daily: 15-minute follow-through process, coming to you by email each morning
- Weekly: Two live group-coaching sessions each week, to help you get out of your own way and/or apply tools to your situation
- Monthly: Two new classes each month on managing your mind (part of the Thinking Lab)
- Monthly: One open Q&A (the “Overflow Session” in the Thinking Lab)
- A new tool for measuring emotional resilience (starting March 7)
- Access to 19 self-study courses during March and April, including “Do What Matters Most,” “Tap Your Own Brilliance,” “Just-in-Time Planning,” and “Defining a Central Purpose” (part of the Thinking Lab)
- Access to a library of more than 50 Thinking Lab Tools that you can use to augment your thought work (part of the Thinking Lab)
- The skills you need to stick with and achieve challenging goals for the rest of your life
- Completion of your goal, and a chance to celebrate with others on the May 1 Thinking Day
Frequently Asked Questions:
What’s the benefit of registering early? You get immediate access to the curated content, so you can get a head start setting your goal and listening to classes. Not only that, you get full access to the Thinking Lab and have extra time to check out those additional resources.
I am already in the Thinking Lab. Is this included? No, but you qualify for a discount, since the fee includes two months in the Lab you’ve already paid for. Email me for details.
I participated in the first episode of Launch 21. Do I get a discount for continuing? Yes, there is a $70 discount. Email me for details. Note: You will get only a soft copy of the The Thinker’s Toolkit, since you already have a physical copy.
How does this program relate to Do What Matters Most? Recordings of Do What Matters Most are included in Launch 21 as part of the curated content that you go through during the 8 weeks. But in this format, you get much more chance to apply the ideas, ask questions, and chew the material.
Do I really have to register by midnight March 5? Yes. The program starts March 6. Everyone will go through it in the same sequence. On March 6, as part of Thinking Day, I will be on the Zoom bridge from 10-12 Eastern, 2-3 Eastern, and 5-6 Eastern. I encourage you to attend live during one of the sessions to get help setting your goal!
That said, the page will stay up until Monday, March 8, mainly because some people in the Thinking Lab may attend Thinking Day and decide to add this on. You can join as long as the page is live, but no discounts, and you’ll need to hustle a bit in the first week!
What are the group-coaching calls? The group-coaching calls are designed to help you see what is getting in the way of following through. Come with questions about your daily 15-minute thought work, material from Do What Matters Most, and/or specific obstacles you run into. Note the calls will be run by Jean Moroney or Lin Zinser. The calls are on Mondays and Thursdays at noon, 3:00 p.m., or 8:00 p.m. Eastern. The time varies to accommodate people in different time zones. If you want to know the full schedule, see the sidebar at right.
How does Launch 21 relate to the Thinking Lab? As part of Launch 21, you get March and April in the Thinking Lab, so that you have access to all of those resources while you are working toward your goal. The Launch program is like a deluxe membership in the Thinking Lab, because there are many more group-coaching opportunities.
Happy Goal Achievement Everyone!