Commit to Your Passive Income Goal

May 7th, 2012 by Steve Pavlina

Now that you’ve set a specific passive income goal (as per the Set Your Passive Income Goal post), it’s time to strengthen your connection to this goal.

The idea here is to begin believing in your goal so that it becomes more real and solid, not just some airy fairy fantasy.

Put Your Goal in Your Face

Try this for starters. Grab a piece of paper, write your goal on the paper in a positive, personal, present tense format, and then post this piece of paper somewhere that you’ll see it every day, such as on your living room wall or your bathroom mirror. You can even post it in multiple locations if you like.

Based on my goal from the previous post, I came up with the following goal/intention statement:

I am now successfully creating a new stream of passive income by September 30, 2012, that generates at least $2000 per month on average and endures for a minimum of 10 years, and I’m doing this in a way that delivers strong value for many others around the world.

To make my goal more real and concrete, I copied and pasted the text above into a blank document, increased the font size to fill up the page (46 pt font in this case), and printed it out in landscape view. Then I tacked it up on the cork board in my home office. Now whenever I sit at my desk, I can’t help but see this goal since the paper is within my field of view. Even if I don’t acknowledge it consciously, my subconscious mind will be exposed to this goal repeatedly. I will keep the paper there (or use some other goal reminder) until this goal is achieved.

Feel free to embellish your goal with language you find attractive. I find it more motivating to set goals that provide value for others, so I added that phrase to the end of my goal.

This step is important because the natural tendency after setting a new goal is to drop the ball very quickly. Many people lose sight of their new goals within a week after setting them. They get sucked into various distractions, and the goal doesn’t take root. To prevent your goal from fizzling out, you have to keep giving it some attention, just as you would keep watering a plant.

I’ve written about this topic previously, so for more ideas on how to solidify your goals, read Keep Your Goals in Front of You.

Create Consequences for Failure

Another thing you can do to make your goal more solid is to create consequences for dropping the ball. Since I’m blogging about this along the way, it will be difficult for me to lose sight of this goal. If I quit or flub this up, there will be some negative consequences. Humiliations galore and that sort of thing.

If there’s no negative consequence for quitting, it will be easy for you to quit. That’s bad. We want to create more resistance to quitting, so that once you get going, it’s hard to turn back.

How you do this is a very personal choice, but if you’re not willing to do anything of the sort, then how committed are you really? If you’re committed to your goal, then it shouldn’t be a big deal to line up some extra sting for failure.

Quite often people will find the avoidance of the negative consequences more motivating that the positive benefits they’ll achieve. Instead of winning, some people become more focused when they really want to avoid losing. If the positive motivation for passive income was enough for you, wouldn’t you have already achieved your goal by now? You could have done this a year ago, such as by using the SBI service that I’ve been recommending for years.

If you’ve been interested in this goal for a while but you’ve been putting it off and you’re now telling yourself that you’re finally going to do it and that this time things will be different, why should anyone believe you? Do you even believe you? Or are you just trying to act confidently to convince yourself?

If the only consequence of failure is that you continue to experience more of your old reality, that isn’t much of a consequence, is it? After all, you’re already tolerating that kind of reality right now, so there’s no reason to believe you can’t keep right on dealing with it for another decade. But if turning back somehow looks nastier than going forward, you’ll very likely make some serious progress this time.

One suggestion is to find your biggest doubter and make a bet with him/her that you’ll succeed in achieving your goal by the deadline. If they’re willing to bet against you, this can  engage your competitive spirit and boost your motivation significantly. And if they refuse to bet, it can give more confidence since maybe it means they believe you’ll succeed. You can bet money, or you can make the consequences something more creative.

If you’re into politics, another idea is to promise to donate money to a candidate or political party that you hate if you don’t achieve your goal by the stated deadline.

Your ability to do this is partly a test of how confident you are in achieving your goal. If you struggle to make this sort of commitment, then what does it say about your level of confidence? If you’re truly going to achieve your goal, then the negative outcome will not happen.

When you do this, be careful not to create too much of a counter-force to your goal by mistake. You want to engage your competitive spirit if you find that helpful, but you don’t want to go so far as to incentivize others to sabotage your success. So if you promise a nice benefit to a bunch of people if you fail, you may motivate people to root for your failure and to withhold help they might otherwise have offered.

Involve Others

One more way to increase your commitment to your goal is to involve others in its achievement. Instead of engaging your competitive spirit, you can create a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. This is the approach I’m choosing to use for my new passive income goal.

I believe that we can all achieve our goals together and help and support each other along the way, so I wish to create a spirit of cooperation. I wouldn’t find it helpful to have people wishing for me to fail. I’d rather see all of us intending each others’ success as well as our individual success.

By creating and sharing a public series of blog posts on how to create passive income, I’m engaging other people in the achievement of my goal. A positive side effect is that I’m creating a resource to help others achieve similar goals. People generally appreciate this sort of thing, and I’m already seeing a lot of positive feedback on this series. I do appreciate the encouragement, which is very motivating to me.

If I did this as a private pursuit, I might find it harder to achieve my goal since I’m the only one who’d care about it. But by doing it in a way that invites more social support, it becomes easier. Yes, it’s more work to publicly share the steps along the way, but it also turns a solo project into a social one, which makes it more fun to work on. I also have more accountability to keep moving this series forward week after week.

Last week I took a mini-vacation that included a trip to Disneyland, and I didn’t do any blogging during that time. But I saw people posting on Twitter that they were looking forward to my next post in this series. By announcing this series publicly, I’ve invited others to hold me accountable and make sure I keep it going. I’m always free to take mini-vacations when I want, but other people are going to nudge me to move this along since they’re motivated to receive the value from it. I believe this makes it harder for me to fail. Making it harder to fail means making it more likely to succeed.

If you look at my situation and how I’ve set this up, you’ll probably agree that I should have some good motivation to complete this series and achieve my goal. Time will be the ultimate judge of course, but in the meantime, have you set up your goal with a similar amount of motivation and pressure? If not, this is the time to make those adjustments. If it’s too easy for you to drop the ball, you probably will. I’ve actually won money betting against people when I could see that they weren’t putting enough pressure on themselves to succeed.

Create Positive Stress

We know that too much stress is a bad thing. But we also know that too little stress is bad as well. There’s a sweet spot of stress between the extremes where you’ll feel motivated to take action. This positive form of stress is called eustress.

How else can you strengthen your commitment to your goal? How can you keep it in front of you? How can you make it more real and solid? How can you add more negative consequences for failure? Whatever ideas you come up with, act on them right away. It’s okay to be a bit impulsive here. As you do this more and more, you’ll learn what works best for you.

It often takes time for a new goal to sink in, so I encourage you to take this step seriously. This is not a difficult step. Creating and posting my goal reminder in my office only took a few minutes. You can do a lot with a short status update on your favorite social media site, such as by promising a negative consequence if you fail to achieve your goal by your deadline.

Surely you can spare a few minutes to strengthen your commitment.

If you decide to skip this step, my honest expectation is that you will fail to achieve your goal. If you make it easy and safe to fail, you probably will.

At this point you may be wondering when we’re going to get to the action steps. Where’s the how-to part? Well, we’re already into the action steps. This is very much a part of the how-to. We have to set things up so that you’re very likely to take action. How are the other steps going to benefit you if you only read them but you don’t actually do them? How many times have you read how-to info, said to yourself “I should do that,” and then dropped the ball? We need to avoid that kind of outcome.

My intention for this series is not to teach you the steps to generate passive income. That would be a waste of everyone’s time, and it’s already been done. My intention is that you actually create a new passive income stream for yourself. That’s the end result I want you to achieve. I’m writing this for the people who are finally ready to begin receiving some passive income this year. I’m not writing for the ones who are just curious about it. If you’re merely curious, that’s fine, but please don’t get in the way of us doers. ;)

Are You In or Out?

This is the point where you must now decide: Am I going to follow this series as an active doer or not? Am I going to follow along with action and create a new stream of passive income, or am I going to sit on the sidelines and watch other people do it?

If you aren’t sure, then you’re not a doer… at least not yet. Either get sure and commit to this, or this boat will sail without you. You may tell yourself that you can always come back to this series later, but will you? There’s some great energy in doing this in real-time with lots of others. That energy won’t be around six months from now. So I think it’s fair to say that it’s now or never.

You may wonder what this commitment will entail. Shouldn’t you learn the action steps before you have to commit? Nope. That’s not how it’s done. You commit first, and then the steps appear. What more do you need? I’m personally coaching you through this whole thing for free. I’ve already done this multiple times, and countless others have done it as well. It’s obviously a possible and achievable pursuit. And if you’re really committed, then even if I dropped the ball, you’d just continue on without me and learn what you need to learn elsewhere (just like I did).

Do you really have to commit in the dark? You’re not actually committing in the dark though. You’re the one who’s ultimately going to move this goal forward, not me. You’re the light source here. I’m just the helper you’ve summoned into your reality to help you create this now.

What’s the worst that will happen anyway? Even if you commit and fail, you’re still going to learn some amazing things along the way. You’ll see what you’re made of. Worst case you’ll suffer some negative consequences like a little embarrassment. Big deal. You’ll live.

So are you in, or are you out? If you’re not sure that you’re in, you can be sure that you’re out.

A year from now, what decision will you wish you made today?


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