A Manifesto for The Perfect Life

Editors Note: Chuck Rylant, a police officer from California who is also a Certified Financial Planner and a regular contributor on CopsAlive.com, gives us all a New Year’s Manifesto for a Perfect Life and shows us the process it takes to get there.

Chuck J. Rylant
How you can achieve more this year than in the past 10 years combined

This report is free. I encourage you to share it or post it on your web site. My only request is that you do not edit it and keep it in it’s entirety. You are welcome to publish excerpts as long as you identify Chuck J. Rylant as the author. And a link it www.chuckrylant.com is always appreciated.
© 2010 Chuck Rylant


Every year around January 1st a lot of people will begin new years resolutions or do some sort of goal setting, but only about 3% of those people will actually achieve those new goals. Previously I wrote about goal setting from a different perspective, but in that article Brian Tracy found that only 3% of the population writes their goals down. And according to research, those 3% are 1000 time more likely to accomplish their goals.
But this isn’t just another story about writing your goals. There’s plenty of that advice out there already. Traditional goal setting usually involves a written list of the things you want to accomplish. This step alone, as mentioned above, has incredible power at helping you get things accomplished. But there is a better way.

“Most people aren’t really happy, but they aren’t unhappy enough to do any thing about it. That’s a dangerous place to be.”

Tony Robbins

I’ve always been somewhat of a goal setter and usually do fairly well at accomplishing my goals. But when working with private clients, I’ve learned that it’s very hard for most people to accomplish their goals. So this led me to really study the subject of getting things done through goal setting. In researching and working with others, I realized that my informal goal setting wasn’t working as well as it could.

It wasn’t until 2008 that I took those goals that were bouncing around in my head and put them in some logical order on paper. As part of a leadership retreat, we were sent for two hours to sit overlooking the ocean and write our goals. With nothing to do for two hours but think, I figured out some amazing things about myself.

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”

Brian Tracy

The following two years I continued this process and expanded it by taking a couple of days each year and devoting them strictly to goal setting. Last year I went to a beach resort and while there, created the beginnings of the process I’m about to share. But it wasn’t until I read Leo Babauta’s blog post titled “the best goal is no goal” that I really put this whole thing together. My approach is very different than Leo’s, but what he said got me thinking.

The reason people don’t usually accomplish their goals is partially because… they’re not written, but it’s really because the goals are not aligned with a deep burning desire to accomplish them. For example, common goals are things like:

Lose weight
Get a pay raise
Spend more time with the kids
Take a family vacation
Quit smoking

“A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with—a man is what he makes of himself”
Alexander Graham Bell

These are just a sample, but they are typical. The first problem with this goal list is that they’re not specific enough and there are no action steps. But the big problem is that they’re derived almost out of thin air. There is not a deep and compelling reason why you should accomplish these goals. The mistake in traditional goal setting is that the focus is on the end goal, not on the reason you why you want to accomplish those goals.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress de-pends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw


First set time aside specifically for goal setting with no interruptions. You don’t have to be as extreme as I am and spend two or more days at the beach or in the woods, but you do need to block time just for this purpose. You need at least two hours somewhere with absolutely no distractions; no phones, computers or people.

The time is important because during the first 10 minutes you’ll come up with some ideas quickly, but by the end of two hours or days, your list will have completely changed. The more time you spend on this, the more effective you’ll be. I know this from experience.

“For me, goals are my road map to the life I want. They have helped me accomplish things I once thought were impossible.”
Catherine Pulsifer


Write a list of everything you dislike or are frustrated by in your life. Just get a pen and paper or use your computer and just start writing. Write every little thing that annoys you; everything that you’d change if you could wave a magic wand and make it disappear. Make sure you don’t limit your mind by convincing yourself it’s impossible to change certain things. Write them down anyway. Make the list long—hundreds of things—everything.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
Abraham Lincoln

For example suppose your Frustration list looks something like this:
Don’t like my boss
Unhappy with my weight
Would like to go on vacation
Work too much
Don’t spend time with my kids
I don’t think my husband gives me enough attention
I can’t seem to get a promotion at work
I want more money to buy the clothes I want
I need more time to exercise
I need to organize my finances
I don’t cook healthy food for my family
I don’t get to write the poetry I want to Etc, etc.
This is just an example so don’t be limited by this and your list may be much longer.

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”
Earl Nightingale


The first step may take a very long time. You may need to take a break and return to it. It will most likely be an emotional experience because you’re confronting things that have probably bothered you for a very long time. So take a break and when you’re ready, begin processing your list into categories. If you spend enough time, you’ll see there are patterns in your list and everything will fit into a few categories .

In Step 2, rewrite the Frustration list into a few categories that seem to be the common root cause of most of these problems. This is where you have to dig deep and really think beyond your comfort zone. You’ll have to be honest and let go of a lot of baggage to figure out the real root of the problem.

With my private financial planning clients I do a visualization exercise that quickly gets through some of these barriers, but it’s harder by yourself. You can do it, but you have to be open-minded and put a lot of time into it.

“Goal setting is the core of existence that defines life.”
Joanne Bonomi

Using the Frustration List example above, let’s say you decide that what is making you most unhappy comes from two things:

1) You have the wrong job. It does not provide you enough time or money to do the things you want.

2) You’re uncomfortable with your weight. Often there is overlap between the categories as in this example, because if you had more time you could exercise more.

“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.”

Steve Garvey

Next rewrite each item on your Frustration below the corresponding solution List Item that would be solved if you made the appropriate change. Here is an example:

Change my job and become an author
Don’t like my boss
Would like to go on vacation
Work too much
Don’t spend time with my kids
I can’t seem to get a promotion at work
I want more money to buy the clothes I want
I don’t get to write the poetry I want to

“Goals give you a compass in order to direct your path through life. Goals focus your thoughts and actions on areas that have precise purpose and meaning.”
Catherine Pulsifer

Focus on my health
Unhappy with my weight
I don’t think my husband gives me enough attention
I need more time to exercise
I don’t cook health food for my family

I need to organize my finances

While doing this you may find that some categories overlap. For example, perhaps you think your husband doesn’t give you enough attention because you are uncomfortable with you weight. But it may be that the real reason you don’t get the attention you’d like is because you spend so much time at work.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. Goals tend to tap the deeper resources and draw the best out of life.”

Harvey Mackay

These are just examples to get you thinking how one change can possibly solve many problems.


Now if you really work thorough this exercise and spend significant time on it, you’ll find that there are only a few things you really need to do dramatically change your life. With your list you need to prioritize which are most important and will have the greatest positive impact on your life.

It’s important that you don’t limit yourself. Life is too short or too long, depending on your perspective, to live doing things that make you unhappy.

“All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
Brian Tracy

Your list will most likely be much longer than the sample above, but let’s assume you decide the top two changes are the ones I created. So if 45% of your frustrations in life are from your job and the other 45% are from your health, then it makes sense that all of your goal setting should revolve around those two. I left the extra 10% for the small random things.  Often the few things that don’t fit anywhere, such as the “need to organize finances” are often easily fixed with small changes—like by joining one of my financial planning memberships in this example.

“It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains.”
Thomas H. Huxley


For each solution there are likely many things preventing you from achieving them. These are all the little voices in your head that tell you why you can’t make the changes you want. For example, you may tell yourself that it’s impossible to get the job you really want because you don’t have the education you need and that would take at least 4 years.  Write every roadblock in a list below the corresponding Solution Category. You would make the same list for all of the Solution Categories that you’ve prioritized in Step 3.

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”
Norman Vincent Peale

Here is a sample list of Roadblocks, or reasons you may convince yourself you can’t change your job and become an author.

Become an author
It’s very hard to make money as a poet
We need the income from my job
Leaving the security of my job would make me very nervous
My family may not support my career change
I would need more time to write poetry before I’d be good enough
I don’t know how to sell my poetry
I don’t know how to make income as a writer


Now organize your Roadblock list in a way that you can discover ways to overcome each of the roadblocks.

“Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.”
Dale Carnegie

Eventually you’ll make a list of action steps that you can take to solve or eliminate each of the roadblocks. Here is a short list of examples:

Need to take classes to become a better writer
Need to study marketing to learn how to profit as a writer
Need to attend seminars with successful poets to learn from them

You should write a complete list of Action Steps for each Roadblock.


Now here is where I almost agree with Leo if you visited his blog. Sometimes the pursuit of goals in and of itself becomes more painful than the pain you were originally trying to solve.

“Goals are not only absolutely necessary to motivate us. They are essential to really keep us alive.”
Bill Copeland

When you’re pursuing goals just for the purpose of crossing things off your list, it may be counterproductive. I think this is a frequent problem for people obsessed with accomplishing goals. I’ve fallen into this trap before.

Now that you have an exhaustive list of everything you would need to do to get anything you want in life, it’s time to be honest with yourself. You must decide if all the work necessary to get what you want is worth it. Sometimes it’s worth it and other times it’s more painful to make the change.

To continue with my example, let’s assume you’ve decided that becoming a writer is not worth the work and sacrifice to you. There is nothing wrong with that and now you’ve made an educated decision. This alone will more than likely change how you view your job and it may no longer be as frustrating to you.

“To achieve happiness, we should make certain that we are never with-out an important goal.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

But if on the other hand, you see the challenge as exciting and you get fired up just thinking about it, it’s time to make your final list. By now you must think I really like lists.


Now take your action steps and write them all in a detailed list with very specific action items. For example:
January 23, enroll in writing class at the community college
Research and order the top 3 books on becoming a profitable writer
Read book 1
Read book 2
Read book 3
Attend poetry writers workshop April 4

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.”

Brian Tracy

With this list in order of priority, you have a very clear and defined list of what actions you will take and in what order. After you finish the first item you check it off and begin the second.

Depending how many steps you have, it may seem like a mountain to climb, but after you complete a few, you will build momentum and become increasingly inspired. Conquer one step at a time and consider each completed step as one victory and don’t focus on how big the list is.

“When I have finally decided that a result is worth getting, I go ahead and make trial after trial until it comes”
Thomas Edison

As you do this, there is nothing wrong with amending your list as you get new information. It’s also perfectly acceptable to decide mid way through that your goals have changed and to start all over. This is normal and nothing will have been wasted because everything you do in life builds on itself and will somehow benefit you later.

This list is very, very important because it keeps you focused. You wake up each day with a very clear purpose. Most people whether self-employed or an employee, usually begin each day with no purpose. So instead they begin with the easiest step of opening and responding to email.

“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.”
Chris Guillebeau

This is terribly unproductive because it puts you in a reactive mode instead of a proactive one. You are now responding to other people’s priorities instead of your own. This is what leads to frustration,unhappiness and the feeling of being trapped in a rut.


That’s the whole process. I’ve been doing this informally my whole life and it works amazingly well. Each year I refine this process and become more clear and purposeful with it. And without exception, the more effort I put into this, the more I accomplish.


Now the reality. Very, very few people will invest the time to read this. It’s over 2000 words long which means it will take the average person about ten minutes to read. Only 10 minutes to change your life, but most people wont do it.

“Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.”

Helmut Schmidt

Because you’ve read this demonstrates you’re in the top 5% of the population. 95% of the population lives life without purpose and waits to see what will happen. The top 5% live life with purpose and go after what they want. That is obviously you.

But of the 5% who read this, only 3% will write their goals down. This is a well known fact. But I speculate that only 1% of you will do this exercise because it takes a lot of time. So for the 1% of you out there, congratulations—you will accomplish more this year than you have in the past 10 years combined. I guarantee it. I challenge you to be in the 1%

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
Mark Twain


If you’ve been around the internet long enough, you’ve undoubtedly read free reports or manifestos. I pretty sure this one is original in its content and also in another way. Usually these reports end in a hard sale for a product. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you, but today I don’t have anything to sell to you. I just want you to follow through with these ideas and get the life you want.

I do offer financial planning membership programs where I work through these concepts and I have private consulting clients—but right now I don’t have the time to take on any more private clients. If you’re interested in a membership program you can learn more at http://www.cjrylantwealthmanagement.com

“No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.“
Brian Tracy

But there is a way you can repay me if this manifesto was helpful

If this free report was valuable to you I hope you will do something for me. First please comment in my blog at:
and let me know how it has helped you and what you plan to do with it.

Second, please post a link on Facebook or Twitter or your web site with a link to http://www.chuckrylant.com/2010/12/perfect-life-manifesto/ sharing where everyone else can get this information so they can have the same success. And don’t forget you may also send this report to your people by email.

That’s not too much to ask for giving all this information away for free.

“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people – and that social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”
Mark Zuckerberg

Thank you and I wish you a lot of success.
Chuck J. Rylant


I really do hope to hear from you. Connect with me at the following places so we can keep in touch:

Thank you Chuck!

You can download a nicer PDF version of this manifesto by CLICKING HERE

CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers.  We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence.

We do this by Helping Law Enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful lives on the job and beyond.  We think the best strategy is for each officer to create a tactical plan for their own life and career.

The Law Enforcement Survival Institute
(LESI) works with individuals and organizations to help them create and sustain success in their lives and careers as law enforcement professionals.  It is the primary goal of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute to become the preeminent source for training, resources and information about how to create and sustain a happy, healthy and successful life and career while providing superior law enforcement service to your community.

About Chuck Rylant

Chuck Rylant is a retired police officer and regular contributor to CopsAlive.com. He owns his own financial planning business and built it while he was still working in law enforcement. Prior to that Chuck had been a full time California Police Officer for 15 years. He has worked as a detective, patrol officer, field training officer and SWAT team member. He also served his department by volunteering as a Police Officer Association Board member. Chuck is also an active member of the Santa Maria Police Council which is a non-profit community organization developed to raise money specifically for the police department. Chuck is the owner of C. J. Rylant Wealth Management. His firm provides personal fee only financial planning and specializes in providing objective advice to police officers. His clients have discovered how to worry less about money and enjoy life more. Chuck can be reached on his website at: http://www.chuckrylant.com. Here's a link to an interesting video from Chuck about Mutual Fund Fees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLm6ngyLnw8
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