Discover how to achieve your goals in 15-minutes a day – the two tools you need to stop procrastinating and

start succeeding
Do you want to discover what it takes to finally stop procrastinating? Do you want two new tools to get clear on what you really want and to take positive action even when you don’t feel like it? Do you want a 15-minute routine that guarantees you will succeed? If yes, then read on …

Discover why you fail – and a new way to get clarity on what you really want
You may think that you already know what you want, but by the time you’ve finished reading this book I’ll have proved to you that what you think you want might not be what you really want. Let me tell you about my friends Sarah and Peter. Independently of each other, both Sarah and Peter have this goal to stop watching TV and instead take up running. However, they have both repeatedly failed to achieve this goal. And why is that? The answer is that both Sarah and Peter don’t really want to go running instead of watching TV. But before I can explain why this is so I need to tell you the difference between strategies and needs. Strategies, put simply, are what you want, while needs are why you want them. Put another way, needs are those things which are important to everyone - things like love, rest, and contribution - while strategies are ways to satisfy your needs. As a starting point, here is a list of 30 needs that I’ve placed alphabetically into three categories – Truth, Love, and Power (this is a simplification, both because there are more needs than this and because not all needs fit into these three categories).


Love Acceptance Affection Appreciation Belonging Cooperation Compassion Contribution Empathy Inclusion Self-care

Power Choice Competence Equality Freedom Growth Integrity Movement Purpose Safety Security

Truth Awareness Clarity Consciousness Creativity Discovery Honesty Learning Meaning Presence Understanding

As you can see, needs are things that matter to us all, like freedom, compassion, and security. In contrast, no single strategy matters to everybody. You know if something is a strategy because it makes a specific reference to at least one particular Person, Location, Action, Time, or Object (which you can remember using the acronym PLATO). So, for instance, Sarah watching TV at home in the evening is a strategy; for after all there are five specific references: to a person (Sarah), a location (home), an action (watching), a time (in the evening), and to an object (the TV). Watching TV is a strategy to satisfy your needs, which could be for fun and rest. Not everyone cares about watching TV, but everyone cares about getting fun and rest. What’s more, there are multiple ways to satisfy your needs for fun and rest instead of watching TV: you could play board games with friends, have a hot bath, or read a book. And that’s an absolutely critical point: what’s important to you isn’t satisfying your strategies but rather it’s satisfying your needs. To drive this point home, think of one of your current goals, whether that’s to learn a new language, make new friends, or start a new business. Look at the list of needs above and have a go at naming the needs that you are trying to satisfy in pursuing your goal. Maybe you are learning a new language to satisfy your needs for growth and discovery; you could want new friends to satisfy your needs for affection and inclusion; and perhaps you aspire to start a new business venture so to satisfy your needs for freedom and purpose. Next I’m going to use Sarah’s example to sketch a powerful tool that will help you with identifying the needs that underpin your goals. The essence of the tool is that you ask yourself ‘what do I want?’ and then for each of your answers you ask ‘why?’ , beginning each answer with ‘because I want …’. And for that answer, for five iterations, you again ask ‘why?’ and answer in the same format. So, let’s demonstrate. One part of Sarah wants to watch TV, while another part of her wants to stop. She starts with the desire to watch TV and asks herself: 2

1. Why (do I want to watch TV)? Because I want … to zone out and enjoy myself 2. Why? Because I want … to relax and have fun 3. Why? Because I want … to recover from my day at work 4. Why? Because I want … to have energy for tomorrow’s work 5. Why? Because I want … to do a good job of helping people Sarah then repeats this process for her desire to stop watching TV. She begins by asking herself: 1. Why (do I want to stop watching TV)? Because I want … to stop being lazy 2. Why? Because I want … to get fit 3. Why? Because I want … to lower my blood pressure (which my doctor says is too high) 4. Why? Because I want … to avoid illness 5. Why? Because I want … to enjoy life and be able to do the things that I enjoy

By the time you have asked 5 why’s to what you want (and answered in the ‘because I want…’ format) you’ll always get to your needs. In Sarah’s case she has identified that she wants to have the health to enjoy life and to get the necessary rest and fun so that she can help people. At various points Sarah was unsure why she wanted something. For suggestions she consulted the above list of needs and this helped her to work out what she really wanted. (If that helps, here’s a more comprehensive list of needs to print out and keep handy.) Now we can understand Sarah’s situation. She watches TV in an attempt to satisfy her needs for rest and fun, and decided to start running so as to satisfy her need to be healthy. What Sarah has missed is that neither strategy satisfies all of her needs: watching TV fails to satisfy her need for good health, while running is neither restful nor fun. No wonder then that Sarah has failed to achieve her goal! But now Sarah is ready to ask ‘what strategies would satisfy all of my needs?’ 3

After some brainstorming here’s the two-part solution that she came up with: first, to put a treadmill in her living room, so that she can jog while watching TV, thus improving her health; and second, to buy the DVD box sets for her favorite comedy show ‘The Simpsons’, so that instead of channel surfing she’ll find it fun and relaxing to watch TV, which reenergizes her for work the next day. BJ Fogg, a Stanford professor, has three pieces of advice that Sarah can use to further improve these habits. He suggests, first, that you choose a tiny positive habit - something that takes you less than 30 seconds and requires no real effort. So, Sarah could aim to simply get on the treadmill and to then set it to a slow speed. The easier the strategy the more likely that Sarah will do it. Later, when she has established this habit, if Sarah wants to she can incrementally increase the difficulty on the treadmill. Next, it’s best to plan the new habit immediately after an appropriate alreadyestablished habit, because it’s far easier to remember that way. Sarah has a wellestablished habit of switching the TV on in the evening. So, she can set to get on the treadmill immediately after switching on the TV. And, in fact, with some advance planning you can alter your environment to both make it easier to follow your new habits and to remind yourself at the right time to do them. In Sarah’s case, she can place the TV remote on the treadmill – so that she’s on the treadmill when she switches on the TV; she can take the couch out of the TV room – making it harder to choose to sit down rather than go on the treadmill; and she can place her jogging clothes right next to the treadmill so that she can immediately get changed when she switches on the TV – making it easier to follow the new habit. The final piece of advice is important: the more pleasurable you make your new habit the more you’ll want to do it. Sarah could buy a treadmill that has a program that congratulates her when she has run a certain distance; the recognition for her accomplishment motivates her to keep on using the treadmill. Another way of stating these three ideas is that you should choose strategies that satisfy your needs for ease (make it easy), simplicity (ensure that you can remember to do it), and fun (make it pleasurable). If your chosen strategies don’t satisfy these needs then they don’t fully work for you. Now that Sarah has chosen her strategies to satisfy her needs, her last step is to mentally contrast choosing to walk on the treadmill and watching TV sitting down. She mentally flips back and forth between these two options. If she feels any unease about the strategy then she has probably missed a need. For instance, Sarah could feel unease about spending money on a treadmill because she has little money and has a need for security. In that case she needs to adjust her strategy. 4

Mentally contrasting in this way helps you to fully commit to your proposed strategy. It helped Sarah resolve to immediately make a phone call to ask a friend for their spare treadmill. Earlier I said that I would prove to you that what you think you want might not be what you really want. Well, Sarah’s example proves this. She thinks that she wants to stop watching TV and go running instead, but really want she wants is to satisfy her needs for health, rest, fun, and contribution. And even though her initial strategy was to stop watching TV, once she identified her needs she found that there’s a way that she can watch TV that will satisfy all of her needs. However, to connect to your needs just by asking yourself 5 times why you want something isn’t enough. The reason is that self-judgments block you from identifying your needs, and the solution is the Self-Connection game. And that is the subject of the next chapter …

Summary 1. Your ultimate aim is to satisfy your needs not your strategies. 2. One way to identify your needs is to say what you want and then ask, iterating this five times, ‘why?’ and answering in the format ‘because I want …’. 3. Choose strategies that are simple, easily triggered, and pleasurable.


The Self-Connection game – how to get past your self-judgments and discover your true needs
The Self-Connection game is a powerful way to remove self-judgment and connect to your needs. To illustrate how to play I’m going to walk you through how Peter played this game to connect to his needs. First some background context: Peter desperately wants to stop watching TV because he feels lonely and wants company. He is filled, however, with self-judgments and they block him from connecting to his needs; for instance, he doesn’t have a girlfriend and, instead of connecting to his unsatisfied needs for intimacy and company, he is wrapped up in judgments of how he’s a ‘loser’ and ‘isn’t good enough’. Now, I was introduced to what I call the Self-Connection game by Francois Beausoleil at a NonViolent Communication Workshop that he led in Glasgow, Scotland. What I present here is my own version of this process, and later on I’ll explain why I call it a game. Here’s how to play the game: first, Peter identifies the different voices in his head. In this case there are just two, which he labels the ‘self-loathing’ voice (which wants a girlfriend) and the ‘addicted’ voice (which wants to watch TV). Since you want to create an emotional distance from your voices it can help to label them. My choice is to give the voices animal names; so, Peter calls his self-loathing voice the ‘Jackal’ (so named because it has incessant judgments) and his addicted voice the ‘Kitten’ (so named because it wants rest and feels vulnerable). Some people skip this step, but I’m going to use these names to refer to the two voices as I explain the process. It’s best to do this process in an open space where you can move about, and where you can stand in a different place for each of your voices. So, Peter goes to his living room and then decides that the Jackal will stand by the TV, while the Kitten will stand by the couch. To begin Peter chooses one voice, it doesn’t matter which, and stands in the right location. This voice, facing the direction of the other voice, then speaks its truth. And it can say anything that it wants however it wants. Nothing is off limits, and the voice is allowed to express itself using judgments. Peter chooses the Jackal to start and goes to stand by the TV. Turning towards the couch, where the Kitten is, the Jackal begins its monologue: “I hate you. You big fat useless lump. I hate that you keep on watching TV every day. You are such a slob. People hate you. I hate that you don’t do anything about being on your own, you just keep on watching TV, every day. I hate that you don’t respect yourself. I want you to get your act together. I’m so fed up of being on my own … ’


And Peter allows that voice to continue speak its truth without interruption until it has said everything that it wants to say. When the Jackal has finished Peter then moves to stand by the couch. The Kitten now tries to translate the Jackal’s judgments and reflect back what he heard was the Jackal’s needs. It’s simple to translate judgments into needs; you simply consider, ‘what is the opposite of this judgment?’ For example, the opposite of ‘slob’ is ‘beauty’, and so the translation of the judgment ‘you are a slob’ is ‘I hear that you need beauty’; and the opposite of ‘hate’ is ‘love’, and so in reply to the judgment ‘I hate you’ the Kitten can say ‘I hear that you need love’. It’s not important that the Kitten’s guesses are accurate. What is important is that the Kitten is genuinely trying to understand what the Jackal said. When the Kitten gives empathy it should try to match the intensity of how the Jackal spoke. So, if the Jackal is loud and forceful then the Kitten should speak with the same power. Mirroring the energy of the speaker is a powerful way to demonstrate that you understand the force of the speaker’s pain. So, the Kitten says: ‘I hear that you really want some order and beauty. You hate that I watch TV because you need some activity, and you long for intimacy and love. It sounds like you really want some care in your life and you are fed up with me watching TV … ’ It’s absolutely critical that when the Kitten has finished reflecting back what he heard he then asks, ‘have I heard everything that you wanted to say?’ This gives the Jackal a chance to both correct the Kitten’s reflection and to say more. So, the Jackal says: ‘Well, I hate that you’re not doing anything. It’s so painful that I’m alone. I so desperately want to have a girlfriend. It would be so nice to have somebody to spend time with. I’m fed up of being lonely, and I really wish that you would do something about this. It infuriates me that you are not doing anything about this, but just keep on watching TV … ’ And again when the Jackal has finished the Kitten attempts to empathize with the needs of the Rat: ‘It sounds like you really want company, and love, and intimacy. You are fed up with being lonely and want to have fun and connection. This all sounds so hard for you and you really want some help and support to get what you want … have I heard everything that you wanted to say?’ Peter ping-pongs between the two voices until the Jackal feels that it has been fully heard. At this point it’s time to switch roles: now the Kitten speaks its truth: 7

‘I feel so tired when I get home from work. It’s so much effort to do anything. I just want to be on my own. And I hate all the judgment that you put on me. I hate that. I can’t deal with it. I need a break. I need to be on my own. I can’t take it anymore. I want you to leave me alone! Just get lost! I can’t cope with what you throw at me … ’ Like before, when the Kitten has finished the Jackal attempts to reflect back what he heard, translating the judgments into needs. So: ‘I hear that you are so tired and are needing rest. It sounds like you want a break from the pressure I put on you. You really want some ease and comfort, and it’s so difficult dealing with the judgments I make of you … Have I heard everything that you wanted to say? Peter then swings back and forth between the Kitten and the Jackal until the Kitten feels satisfied that he has been fully heard. When all voices have been heard the final step is to stand in the middle and name all the needs that have been identified. So, Peter steps in between the TV and the couch and lists the needs that have been named: ‘love, intimacy, self-care, companionship, support, ease, comfort, rest, inner peace, fun, play, adventure …’ It’s easy to judge yourself for your unmet needs. To sidestep this Peter allows himself to fully mourn his unmet needs. He stands in the middle of the room and allows himself to be fully with his sadness about his unmet needs. It also feels wonderful to connect your needs, and this experience is worth savoring. Here are the steps once more: 1. Let one voice speak it’s truth without interruption 2. Reflect back what the listener heard 3. Check in with the speaker if the listener has heard everything that they wanted to say 4. If no then the speaker continues to speak it’s truth 5. Continue the process until the speaker believes that they have been fully heard 6. Switch roles so that the listener becomes the speaker 7. Repeat the same process until the new speaker believes that they have been fully heard 8. Take some time to name all your unsatisfied needs and to be with the experience of these unsatisfied needs Earlier on I promised that I would explain why I call the Self-Connection process a game. The reason is that this helps you to have the lightheartedness to avoid both being overwhelmed by the pain that comes up during the process and judging yourself.


Peter is now ready to create strategies that will satisfy all of his needs. After some brainstorming, one strategy that he came up with is to join a running club – both to get fit and as a way to meet new people. Peter then modifies this strategy in order to satisfy his needs for ease, simplicity, and fun. To make it easy to go to the running club he makes a goal to leave the house 20 minutes before the group starts running. To help him remember to go to the run he leaves his running gear by the front door and plans to leave the house immediately after he has watched his favorite TV show, which he watches every day. To make this new habit of going running more pleasurable he schedules to celebrate afterwards with a good friend at a local bar. Last of all, Peter mentally flips back and forth between the two options of staying in to watch TV and going running with the club. He imagines the experience of both and finds that going running in a group to be more satisfying than staying in to watch TV, because more of his needs are being satisfied. This steels Peter’s commitment to go to the club’s next run. It’s important to modify your strategies if they don’t satisfy your needs. After a few days Sarah got bored of watching The Simpsons. She realized that she needed more stimulation and so she bought 3 DVD boxsets of other comedy shows that she likes. So, now she has multiple choices and doesn’t get bored. Peter, in contrast, after going to a month of meetups at the running club, finds that he hasn’t met anyone that he connects deeply with and so joins the local dodgeball team. Also, it’s worth playing the Self-Connection game every day for 10 minutes. This game helps you to remove your self-judgments and get crystal clarity about what you really want. The Self-Connection game is different each time that you play because you speak the truth of whatever voices are currently present inside you. That said it’s likely you will often repeat certain voices. For instance, Peter’s Jackal and Kitten voices will often come up because they are big voices inside him. However, what the Jackal and the Kitten say will vary from day to day, and the more times that Peter connects to these voices the better he understands their needs. When Peter has connected to these voices multiple times they will quiet down and then he will notice his other voices. When you have played this game many times you will have started to heal and to have crystal clarity about your needs. An advantage to playing the Self-Connection game every day is that you regularly assess if your strategies satisfy your needs. If they don’t then you can choose new strategies that work better for you. If Peter had played the Self-Connection game every day then he would have left the running club after a week rather than a month. To help you remember to play the Self-Connection game everyday plan when you are going to do it. Personally, I play the game after I’ve brushed my teeth. 9

Action Box 1. Play the Self-Connection game every day for 10 minutes. Hint: plan to do this immediately after an already established habit, such as brushing your teeth. I have a friend who does it in the shower!

It’s not enough, however, to play the Self-Connection game and to create strategies that satisfy your needs. Even if Sarah and Peter play the Self-Connection game every day there will be times when they won’t want to and won’t do their chosen strategy: Sarah will watch TV without going on the treadmill, and Peter will stay at home and watch TV instead of playing dodgeball. And why is that? Put simply, because they are uncomfortable with discomfort. Which is the subject of the next chapter …


Discover why you procrastinate – and a new tool to succeed
Why does Sarah watch TV without going on the treadmill? Well, while driving home she imagined that it would be painful to go on the treadmill. Furthermore, she has this judgment, as you do, that pain is something bad. So, to satisfy her needs for comfort and ease she watches TV sitting down. The same thing happens with Peter. He imagines that he’ll feel embarrassed and shy around the new people at the dodgeball team. What’s more he’s averse to discomfort and so to escape this unpleasant experience he chooses to stay at home and watch TV. A common mistake is to try to overcome your discomfort to achieve your goals by using willpower and to ‘just do it’. Discipline is mostly ineffective for it fails to satisfy your needs for comfort and ease. In that case, what can you do when discomfort threatens to derail you? Well, in the long run repeatedly playing the Self-Connection game will help you to let go of your judgments and reduce the pain you feel. However, there is a Catch-22 here: you need to play the Self-Connection game to reduce your pain, but you don’t play the SelfConnection game because it’s too painful (for after all you are bringing up your painful emotions). So, what else can you do? Imagine that instead of feeling averse to the pain you experienced that you embraced and enjoyed it. If Sarah were comfortable with being uncomfortable, then when she imagined it being painful to go on the treadmill she would be okay with it being painful and would still do it. And if Peter embraced his discomfort then he would be okay with the prospect of feeling embarrassed around new people and would still go the dodgeball game. So, how can you embrace your pain? There are two ingredients that you need: one, create emotional distance between you and the pain, and, two, enjoy the pain. The more you identify with the discomfort then the more it seems like a big deal. And also, the more pleasurable it is to be with your pain the easier it is to stick to your new habit. Here’s how I achieved both of these effects. I listed my past experiences where I was comfortable with feeling discomfort. Here are three examples. I can remember meditating with my eyes closed and feeling as if a spider was crawling across my face. Despite my terror I stayed present and mindful and I ended up feeling blissful. I can vividly recall when I first realized that everyone was going to die. My mum comforted me as I cried and it felt so sweet to feel safe as I shared my pain. I can also remember feeling


euphoria despite excruciating pain as I raced up a mountain on my bike in France against 9 friends. I have found that it helps to adopt the perspective of somebody who enjoys my discomfort. I often have this impulse to stop writing and instead play a computer game. Since it’s uncomfortable to have this impulse, in order to relieve my discomfort I often choose to play a computer game. To counter this I imagine a relevant previous experience where I enjoyed my discomfort. In this case I recall the bliss I felt during my terror that there was a spider crawling on my face. I don’t mentally recall this experience, but instead I try to conjure up the feelings that I had in that moment. Once I’ve tuned into the vibe of enjoying my discomfort I then imagine feeling blissful when I have an impulse to play a computer game. I then flip back and forth between these two possibilities, taking my time to experience both of them. By recalling a past experience I create emotional distance from my discomfort, and by adopting a perspective that takes pleasure in what I’m doing I can take enjoy my pain. To train myself to shift perspective in the moment that I feel discomfort, every night I spend 5 minutes mentally contrasting between being averse to, and then embracing my pain. To do this exercise you are like a gladiator sharpening his sword before he enters the arena. The practice readies you to do what you need to do when during the day when you feel uncomfortable. When you routinely embrace your discomfort you’ll learn two important things. First, discomfort rises and falls like a wave in the ocean – when you embrace the discomfort it will naturally ebb away. Second, that the waves of discomfort are now calmer than the tidal waves of your past. This is because most of your discomfort is created by your aversion to pain, and when you fully embrace the discomfort it no longer feels so painful. There are other ways to embrace your pain as well as this practice. To create emotional distance you could imagine that life is a dream, or place your whole attention on following your breath. And to enjoy your pain you could pump you fist or imagine a flight of angels trumpeting. You can play around to find a way that works for you to embrace your discomfort. I strongly recommend that you do this 5-minute exercise mental rehearsal exercise. You can do it after you have played the Self-Connection game for 10 minutes. Put together you have an pleasurable 15-minute daily routine that will guarantee your future success, for you will enjoy both gaining clarity about what’s important to you and practicing making it pleasurable to do the right thing even when you feel discomfort.

Action Box 1. Do the 5-minute mental rehearsal exercise every day, after you’ve played the Self-Connection game. 12

What’s your next step? The one thing that you need to do right now to guarantee your future success
Imagine right now what total success feels like. Imagine that you have achieved all your goals that you have for yourself. Take a few moments to relish that feeling. Now, contrast that with a world where you don’t achieve your goals. Imagine life 10 years from now and that you haven’t achieved any of your important goals. How disheartening does that feel? Right now you have a choice. I’m going to recommend an action that you can do right now that will guarantee your future success. It’ll take 10 minutes, and possibly less. You can either take this one small step and achieve your goals, or risk that you will fail to use these powerful ideas that you’ve just learned. And so what’s this single step? Well, if you establish the habit of everyday spending 10 minutes playing the SelfConnection game and also 5 minutes mentally rehearsing perspectives to embrace your discomfort then you’ll guarantee your future success. You will have crystal clarity about what is really important to you, and will choose goals that you really care about. You will no longer self-judge, and instead will connect to yourself with compassion. You will choose strategies that are more creative and satisfying than previously. You can make the right decisions about what work to do, whether to stay in a relationship, or where to live. You will no longer procrastinate. Instead you will have the power to keep on doing what’s best for you even if it’s uncomfortable. You will persevere to achieve your goals no matter what obstacles are in your way and thus your future success is guaranteed. But here’s that Catch-22 again: doing this 15 minute-routine will help you to embrace pain, but it may be too painful to initially establish the habit! So, what can you do? The best thing you can do is to create a big enough incentive right now that will push you to establish this 15-minute habit. And here’s one way to do that: go on to the website, which allows you to stake money on sticking to establishing these two new habits. (I am not in any way affiliated with this website.) 13

Sign up for an account and then stake whatever is a considerable amount of money for you on whether you stick to these two new habits (and make sure that you choose the option of selecting someone close to you to hold you accountable). Imagine what your life would be like if you take the next 10 minutes to put in place a powerful incentive to ensure that you establish this 15-minute habit? Imagine 10 years from now and think of all the goals that you’ve accomplished and the wonderful experiences that you’ll have had. Now contrast that with the alternative: you don’t do this single step and instead in 10 years time you are in the same stuck place that you are today. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to risk your future success or will you make sure you stick to this 15-minute habit?

Summary 1. The Catch-22 is that you find it too painful to establish the 15-minute daily exercise that will reduce the pain. 2. Create a big enough incentive right now that will push you to establish this 15-minute habit.


Discover a new you – and how you can get help
I want to acknowledge that it can be challenging to play the Self-Connection game. It’s difficult to transcend your judgments and to connect to your needs. I know that it can be very helpful to have other people to guide you through the Self-Connection game. They can offer encouragement and support you to follow the process. [And if it’s painful for you to share your inner self with other people then remember to embrace that discomfort!] I know about the challenges of self-connection and I work with people 1:1 on Skype to help them connect to their needs. I guide people through the Self-Connection game so that they have clarity about what they really want. If you want to learn more about how I can help you then you can contact me here.

Action Box If this book helped you then: 1. Make a donation because you will be helping me to continue to share the book with new people. 2. Share this book with your friends. 3. Give me feedback here about how the book helped you. I would love to hear your story. 4. Contact me to help you get clear on what’s important to you.


Biography of the Author
Hey there, My name is David. What can I tell you about myself? Well, I’m profoundly Deaf. I’m English. And I can juggle. For the last 5 years I’ve worked as a Compassionate Communication trainer, leading workshops around the world to guide people to resolve both inner and outer conflict. This work has helped me to understand people and to write this book on achieving your goals. I’m passionate about helping people to connect to their deepest truth. If you are interested in being guided through the Self-Connection process then contact me. And in my spare time I’m often found teaching American Sign Language classes, training for my next marathon, or reading sci-fi fiction. And to cap things off I want to dedicate a few thank-yous for the three groups of people that made this book possible: To Mum and Dad, for their unconditional love; To Anna Broadly and Sam Brightbart, for supporting me to be the writer that I am today; And to Francois Beausoleil, BJ Fogg, and many others, for their ideas that got me started; Thank you.


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