Over a decade ago, I took my buddy Doug wheeling on the Rubicon trail. Even though he was just a passenger in my Jeep on that trip, like most who experience that trail for the first time, he instantly fell in love with wheeling. Within a couple of weeks of our trip, he went out and bought himself a stock Jeep YJ.
I still remember the first day he bought his Jeep. We stood in his driveway looking over it, beers in hand, while he laid out all the plans he had for it. He was going to find a rear Dana 44 axle for it, he was going to do a spring-over lift with 35-inch tires, change out the gears and get a Detroit locker, and slap some cool Metalcloak tube fenders on it. He was beyond excited at the time for his new project.
“You guys head to the trail, I will just knock out this axle swap and I will be right behind you!”
It has been ten years, and his rig is still bone stock. I don’t think he has even once chunked it into 4low, let alone drive it on dirt. He cruised it around town and to the grocery store with the top down a few times. His wife drove it for a while when her car broke down, and now his teenage daughter drives it to school every day. Doug’s Jeep’s goals never came to fruition.
Unfortunately, this is the case with most Jeep owners. They have lofty goals for their vehicles that never come to fruition. More often than not, they blame it on a lack of money or time. While I understand that most of us don’t have as much money as we would like, let’s face it, lack of funds is just an excuse. If you really wanted it, you would get it.
“David wheeled the Rubicon bone stock because David is not a little Sally”
Since it is the start of a new year, and people are making New Year resolutions that they will most likely never follow, I am going to help you ensure your Jeep resolutions will not fail. I am going to teach you a method on how to get what you want. While this article will focus on how to get your Jeep built, this same method can help you in many other ways in your personal life. So please keep going down the trail with me here and continue to read, this article may very well change your life.
- Create a list of goals for your Jeep.
Many years ago, some Ivy League professor did a study on successful people. What made billionaires and millionaires more successful than the rest of us serfs who just toil at normal jobs for a living? That study found that all of them had one thing in common: they were ALL habitual list-makers. They all had daily to-do lists, they all had listed monthly and yearly goals for themselves, they all had a list of life goals. Even their companies had goals. You can not get what you want unless you know exactly what you want.
“My team’s list three days before the King of the Hammers. Seriously.”
As I type this article, there are multiple race teams wrenching away in shops and garages for the King of the Hammers race in February. I can guaran-damn-tee you that every single one of those teams all has the same thing. A necessary tool that they cannot go without. It is not a torque wrench: it is a whiteboard with a dry erase marker that hangs on the wall.
Listed on that whiteboard is everything that must be done to the race car before the King of the Hammers. If they were not to make that list, the team may miss some important thing (like a heat shield for the exhaust) or not be completely focused. You can’t race KOH without a list.
“Two Days until we leave for the King of the Hammers? NO PROBLEM!”
As soon as you are done reading this article, grab a pencil and a sheet of paper and create a list for your Jeep. Do not make it super-exhaustive, otherwise, it will seem too overwhelming. Just keep it to five to seven things at the most that you would like to get done on your rig this year. Do you need a lift? Wheels and tires? Tube fenders? An “angry-grill”? (That last one is a joke. Please do not get an Angry grill)
Just writing those things down will not make your Jeep goals magically appear. You don’t live in a Disney movie where Princess Upgrade is going to tap your Jeep with a wand and instantly lift it, you need to apply step two:
2. Know EXACTLY what you want.
When you create your Jeep goal list, the last thing you want to do is to be vague. Do not write down “Lift Jeep” or “get 35-inch tires”. You need to know exactly what you want and you need to be able to visualize your Jeep goals. Get online and research exactly what you want for your Jeep. Look at pictures of Jeeps with those upgrades, research companies that sell those upgrades and look up the prices of what you want to buy, even watch Youtube videos of the installation of those upgrades.
“Rigs are not built in a day. Scotty spent many years getting his to this level”
Writing down “Metalcloak JK Wrangler 3.5 Game-changer suspension” on your list is a much more detailed and focused goal than just “Lift Jeep.” You really need to see your target if you are going to hit it. Even better, print pictures of your goals from the internet to put on your Jeep goal list. Visualization is more important than most people realize.
Researching your goals in-depth and having them in detail so much that you can actually visualize them does two things: First, by seeing what you want over and over, you will become even more motivated to have it. Secondly, many times when people research their goals in-depth, they find that those goals are much easier to achieve than they actually first thought. You may even find something better than what you originally wanted.
“The chicks started appearing once Tyler put bigger tires on his Commando”
When my son needed new 35 inch tires on his Willys, we were originally thinking of going with BF Goodrich tires. After researching online, reading tire reviews from other wheelers and looking at prices, I discovered Milestar Patagonia. They were much cheaper and worked great in the rocks! My kid loves them. Had I not done the research, my kid would still be saving for tires.
Researching Jeep parts before you buy them in depth is also important when it comes to quality and safety. Anyone on the road with revolver shackles on their leaf-sprung rig obviously did not do their research.
3. Review your Jeep goals daily
The first thing I do every morning at work is to grab a post-it note and create a daily to-do list. The stuff I list is not just boring work stuff, I also put down stuff just for me. I may write things down like “Call Brian and see what he has been up to” or “Lookup LS engines online”. I try to keep my list to just 5 to 7 things so it does not seem overwhelming. But here is the important part: I stick that post-it note onto my computer monitor so it is in front of my face all day long. In this way, I am constantly reminded of my daily goals.
“A daily to-do list makes sure you reach all your goals”
As I complete each thing I had written down, I put a checkmark next to it to show that it has been completed. I do not cross them out, because I like to read what I had completed. I do not leave work for the day until each goal has a checkmark next to it. It may sound dumb, but I really feel a sense of accomplishment for the day when I have my entire list checked off.
Once you complete your Jeep list, do not just tuck it away somewhere. Put it somewhere where it is visible to you all day long. On your computer at work, on your refrigerator, on the wall in front of the toilet, etc. You need a constant daily reminder of your Jeep goals to stay motivated. Review that list every day and think to yourself, did I do anything at all today to reach one of these Jeep goals?
4. Set deadlines for your goals
On January 1st, 2015, I stepped on a scale. The scale did not show a weight. Instead, the digital dial showed the words “PLEASE GET OFF ME!” I was not just fat, I was obese. I was so fat that I had my own gravitational field, and smaller far people were orbiting me. So I set a goal. I was going to lose 60 pounds.
Every day I would do some type of research online as part of my daily to-do list to reach my weight-loss goal. I would research diets, different workouts, fitness tips to lose weight, etc. One day in February, a month into working on my goal, I found out by researching fitness stuff online that my town had a Triathlon every year at the end of April. I was not even looking up stuff about triathlons, I was researching fitness stuff and just stumbled upon it.
I signed up for it. At the time I was still a fat bastard and would get out of breath just tying my shoes. Suddenly s#@t got real.
Now I HAD to lose weight. I HAD to train. If I did not, I would absolutely die either swimming, biking or running during that Triathlon. Since I spent money on it to sign up for it, I would just be throwing away the money if I didn’t compete in it.
“This would have never happened if I had not set a deadline for myself”
Signing up for that triathlon was the best thing I could have done. I was already motivated and working hard to lose weight, but now I pushed myself even harder than I thought I could. I lost 55 pounds in three months and crossed the finish line in 3rd place for my age group at 224 pounds. It was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, and something that I would have NEVER thought of doing before setting my weight loss goal.
“Set a trail goal and use it as motivation to get your rig dialed in”
Your goals need deadlines to motivate you. You need an “end game.” Otherwise, they are just dreams, and dreams don’t mean jack. Goals do. Plan a wheeling trip with your Jeep for this coming summer. Make that a goal. A big trip like wheeling Moab or the Rubicon. Then tell yourself that the upgrades you want for your Jeep must be done before then. Of course just saying, “I want a lift by the beginning of this summer”, is still a very good thing to do, but having a trip to run to celebrate makes it even more motivational.
5. Don’t wait to wheel
My friend Ryan Taylor is the one who bestowed this awesome piece of knowledge upon me. It is most likely the best advice you can give to someone with a Jeep. Every time I meet someone that has a 4×4 and who has never actually wheeled before, I invite them to go with me on the Rubicon or on one of my club’s wheeling trip. The response is nearly always the same, “Oh, my Jeep is stock, it is not ready for anything like that.”
All over America are Jeeps that never see dirt because people believe that they need all sorts of upgrades. There are even people involved in wheeling that are holding off on some cool wheeling trip because they say they need to do something like buying a locker first.
“Wheeling a stock rig is the best way to learn to wheel”
Don’t wait to wheel. Wheel what you got. Wheeling a bone stock Jeep where you actually have to pick the right line and think everything out will actually make you a better wheeler. It is the best way to learn how to wheel.
How will wheeling a stock rig help you to accomplish your Jeep goals? Because every wheeling trip will motivate you to upgrade it even more. If you are using your Jeep for what it is made to do, all the parts and money you sink into it are so much more worthwhile.
Enjoy the ride…