UP Primer


“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Let’s get started…

Why are you (1) on this page and (2) on this planet? 

Hopefully the answer for both has to do with you reaching the goals you find most valuable. In other words, living a life of deep flourishing. If so, great. That’s exactly why UP was created.

Realistically we can’t translate everything we’ve learned about how to design and execute an UP in just a few words on this page–or even an entire website–but we did try. Read very, very carefully and get started as soon as you can. (Or consciously procrastinate, if you choose.) 

Make a bet with yourself

To start achieving more of your what’s most valuable to you, we’d encourage you to make a bet with yourself: 365 days from now (or by the end of the calendar year), how likely will you have accomplished all of your goals? What percent do you predict that you will achieve? And how confident are you in that prediction coming true?

Before you bet:

  • Think very, very hard about everything you want to do with your life in this time frame.
  • Capture all of the goals clearly.
  • Try to anticipate all of the good and bad things that may influence your outcomes.
  • Remember how successful or unsuccessful you were with similar goals over the last year.
  • Consider how often people are normally successful at achieving their goals (e.g., remember 7% of people achieve all and 19% achieve some of their New Year’s resolutions).
  • Take the perspective of a bookie evaluating the odds of a team winning a sports competition or a trader thinking through a potential trade.
  • Imagine how your best friend, a neutral colleague, and your worst enemy would rate your chances.

Now honestly evaluate your odds of success.

Whatever you predict, take a self-video describing the bet to your future self. Also set a calendar reminder to evaluate your prediction. Take this action in the next 60 seconds or you will likely never get to it. (This is true even if you immediately logged it into your task management system.)

We love you, but we’re betting against you

We sincerely hope you will achieve all of your (ethical) goals. You’re human and have values that we likely share.

But in our experience that doesn’t usually happen. Life is hard, messy, and complicated. Stuff happens to everyone, even to those “perfect people” we imagine have it all figured out. (They don’t.) 

So as much as we don’t like saying it, we’re betting against you. You’ll likely make progress, but won’t likely get all the way there. In our view, that’s okay. Progress is progress–you should be proud of every step forward. 

If you’re the kind of person that’s motivated by proving someone wrong, please consider this a personal challenge. Go make it happen! Focus on the next 365 days (or just the remainder of the calendar year) and do your best.

If you’re really confident in yourself, we’d be happy to make a StickK bet with you. If you win, well you win. If you lose, we’ll donate your money to a high-impact organization

Our suggestion: take a healthy amount of strategic, disciplined action with an eye towards expected value and comparative advantage. You have 8,760 hours in a year–use that time as wisely as you can in a way that makes sense for you.

So how do we actually reach our goals?

That depends enormously on you. Figuring out what to do, in what order, and how to actually do it is surprisingly complicated and a substantial part of UP. So one clear option is to do UP. Another option is to do an UP-like intervention on your own. And there are even more alternatives to consider.

On your own

  1. Predict: If you haven’t already, do the aforementioned prediction self-video. Ideally now or after you finish reading this page.
  2. Design: Design the basic structure of your UP. Use the UP Protocol as a general guide. 
  3. Prepare: Hold a dedicated UP Day to clarify your life and annual goals and write realistic UP Plans with clear milestones to achieve them. 
  4. Execute: Begin executing your plans, ideally with a team and starting with an UP Week where you sincerely attempt to live your optimal life for 168 hours. Begin absorbing the material in the Learn page until you reach basic mastery.
  5. Review: Dispassionately review your results every day, week, month, quarter, year, and decade.
  6. Update: Update your plans as reality teaches you what does and doesn’t work for you. Don’t give up–just mindfully iterate.

With our help

  1. Call us: Reach out and we’ll talk through what an UP might look like for you.
  2. We co-create your UP: Over a few short calls and emails we’ll go through our design process. There’s a lot to think through in creating the optimal program for each unique person. Individual differences profoundly matter.
  3. Start your UP: Begin executing your UP Plans with your UP Team, delegating work as cost-effectively as possible based on comparative advantage.
  4. Adapt your UP: Continue with us until you’re “done” or take on everything yourself and continue for as long as you’d like. 

In a year…

In a year from now if UP makes sense for you, great. If not, that’s perfectly fine, too. It’s not the right program for a lot of people, for a number of good reasons. We encourage you to just keep moving forward one way or the other.

As a small incentive to take action now, if you do a prediction, evaluate it in a year, and email us to us to let us know how it went we’ll happily give you a free gift. It’s a surprise, so no asking what it’ll be.

Good luck! Or more accurately, good planning and execution!