How To Set Winning Goals In 2019 with Joe Duncan (@before5am)

Joe Duncan, the founder of the iconic Before5am brand, teaches us how to set goals that will ramp up your life. Do you want to enhance your life?  You know how to set goals, and even hold yourself accountable, but you are still spinning your wheels in certain areas of your life and career.  Joe teaches us how to set goals that will actually bring you to your desired destinations.  Joe Duncan is a coach, speaker, author, and entrepreneur.

Before 5am is a leading personal development brand and movement that has helped thousands of people around the world (with over 1 million subscribers across platforms).

Joe’s mission is to help people all over the world perform and function at their highest level and find their unique voice so that they can make an impact in their community and beyond.  The Before philosophy is simple. No matter where you are in life, no matter your situation or resources, you can do a few simple things each day that will allow you to change your life for the better!

Favorite Success

“The ultimate expression of power is self-control.”


Key Points

1. Execute On The Fundamentals

The ideal time to get started on a new year in February.  Most people, from a business sense, are most productive from February through October.  It is never too late to sit down and start setting goals.

2. ONLY Set Goals That Align With Your Greater Vision and Life’s Purpose

The first step to goal setting:

Any goal that does not align with the vision or purpose for your life should be removed.  To facilitate achieving the most important goals, you must prioritize only them.  One important way to do this is by eliminating distractions. Strictly hold your goal setting to this standard and you will find you make far better progress in 2019.  Do not focus on consumption and “what you want to buy”.  Most of us tend to have resource heavy goals.  Start with the bigger picture.  Focus on the things you want to give of yourself, not on what you want to accumulate.

Our world focuses on consumption and taking, so assess your goals and how much of them are not focused on your vision.
Make your goals about who you are going to become.  Be ruthless about setting ONLY goals that support this.  Having goals around material things is okay, but have that as a smaller part of your focus.  The material desires tend to come into your life as a side effect of you focusing on what you can give and contribute.  Goals are stepping stones toward a greater vision.  Without a vision, goals will hardly serve you.

3. What Drives You Is How Certain You Feel About Anything

Certainty is power.  The more certain you are about your goals, the more certain you are that you can make them happen, the more inclined you are to really move forward and go for them.  You will be far more inclined to push forward to achieve your goals by knowing them.

4. Study Your Goals

The second step to goal setting:

Once you have formulated the correct list of goals, study your goals.  As you study your goals, seek those who have achieved the same goals and how they did it.  You need to know your goals inside and out.  This will give you certainty about your goals, and show you that you have what it takes to achieve them.  Certainty and belief yields results.  If we do not believe we will and can achieve our goals by pursuing them, then we will likely not pursue them.
Create certainty around your vision focused goals.

5. Have Patience, Actually

Timeframe awareness is non-optional.  An understanding of timeframe is crucial when studying goal achievement.  Motivation and certainty are directly related.  Without a proper awareness of timeframe and patience, you will likely lose motivation to keep pushing forward because you are expecting quicker results.  Building the brand awareness you want comes down to being professional, and remaining aligned with your values and beliefs.  To avoid learning the hard lesson of waisting three years or more being impatient, understand immediately that building a brand, company, or anything takes time.

“The more organic your brand is, the more longevity it has.”


6. Implement The Education Instead of Indulging In Impulses

Hear this.  Younger entrepreneurs are generally more impulsive.  Keep in mind, money earned should be put away into a place that allows you to create and build.  Be disciplined with money and fight against impulses.  Being free to create, usually requires one to have the resources to create it without the encumberments of a financial burden.  Passion runs out the door when bills start to stack up.  Do not put yourself in a position where bills can stack up on you.  Invest every extra dollar you ear.  Invest in your business and create wealth by putting money aside.  Put yourself in a position to increase what you earn.  Live by a budget.

A few years before Joe successfully launched his company, he spent time budgeting and cutting back on his indulgences.  He credits this with the success of his brand.

7. Entrepreneur? You Must Treat Yourself As A Professional 

Being an entrepreneur requires you to level up.  Often entrepreneurs find themselves working from home.  The day you cross over the line of professional to entrepreneur, you must treat yourself as a professional.  You will have schedules, routines, meetings, and more.  If you want to move forward, implement a schedule around meeting people.  Treat yourself as a professional.  This includes living by a detailed schedule, and consistently dressing well.  Wear a suite even if you are working from home. 

If you are a professional, you must hold onto a sense of accountability.  
Follow a strict routine around work times – this includes a clear start and end time.

Increase the velocity of productivity.  Conserve your free time for professional contact.  Keep energy high by walking 3x per day for 20 minutes.  Do your work in inspiring environments.

Ask yourself, are you an operator or a creator?  If you are an operator, you may be in it just to make money.  If you are a creator, you may struggle to find a business case or client base for what you do.  Look at your ideas objectively, and understand the difference about which side you fit on, and then which books you are reading.  Be sure to seek information written for your style.  Many business books are written by pure operators verses entrepreneurial creatives.

“Work full time on your job, and part-time on your passion until your passion allows you to work part-time on your job.”

The Heart Healthy Hustle Round

Heart: What activity do you use to care for and strengthen your internal character? 

Joe spends two hours daily working on the work of the soul.  This work may include things like meditating, playing with projects, writing in his journal, and going for a walk.  He does this without holding onto any desired outcome.  

Health: How do you maintain your physical health and avoid burn out?

Joe spends a 2-hour block for health and well being where he may go to the gym or a walk.  He prefers going for multiple 20 minute walks each day.  Joe enjoys meditating while walking.

Hustle: What’s your main motivation for doing what you do? 

Joe approaches every day with the belief that there is someone out there who needs help, advice, or guidance.  By showing up each day, Joe can provide one simple concept that one person, simply by applying it to their life, can positively change and impact them in their life.  Joe views showing up and serving as a duty.  He holds his position as an influential entrepreneur with full responsibility.
Joe desires to help create a better world to live and promote a healthier society overall.  Everyone has a unique gift and talent.  Find out how to extract that and implement as quickly as possible. 

What do you think is holding most proactive individuals back from fully thriving and actually becoming the person they know they can be?

Lack of vision and lack of time.  Get a lot of experience quickly.  If you know what you want to do, do it quickly.  Always remain grateful for learning curves.  The learning curve is where you grow.  Wherever you are, in whatever you are currently doing, learn everything there is to know about the business and experience.  Be curious about every aspect and become heavily invested in what it is you are doing.

Influential Books

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable  by Seth Godin

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure  by Grant Cardone

The Park Bench Paradigm

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self to do and not to do – Why?


“Take the pressure off.  Go out there, fail.  Go stuff up.  Show me how many mistakes you can make and get up, and let’s have a laugh about it.  You’re going to get here anyway!” 

Joe did not think he had the “know how” nor did he believe he was “good enough” to do the long term entrepreneurial type of work he is doing now.  He was comparing himself to masters he was reading about in popular business and personal development books.  He would tell his younger self one word, “believe”.  You have to believe and have faith that your destiny will play out how it is right for you, but it will likely not happen how you think it will.  It takes time.  Joe started his first business when he was sixteen.  He never stopped working.  He had to go through highs and lows to get to where he is.  It’s diligent work.  Remain committed to the work.

Connect with Joe Duncan

If you want a straight forward, organic approach to clear goal setting, buy a copy of The Blueprint For Success here

Email Joe:

Instagram: @iamjoeduncan, @before5am

Bonus question: 
How Can I Wake Up Before 5 am? 

Do work you’re excited to do.  Find things you are looking forward to do.  Do something you love in the morning,before you go to work.  Do the most fun thing in the morning. 

Next Step: Thanks for listening! If you found this content helpful, please pay it forward by sharing it on your favorite social media channel so that others can benefit from the lessons and strategies shared.

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