Every year, zounds of people make heart-felt New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape. THIS IS THE YEAR, they say.
Unfortunately, most of them will have given up within weeks of starting, and it’s usually because they’re going about it all wrong – making the same mistakes over and over again before failing and finally giving up.
Of course, it’d be better if instead of following the masses who make and break New Year’s resolutions like clockwork each year, they studied what successful people do year-round, regardless of the season.
Now, most people know that finding a role model is one of the simplest, fastest, and most effective strategies to succeed in any endeavor, whether fitness or otherwise. Better yet, is when you glean wisdom from many role models, applying the patterns you notice among groups of successful people.
Success leaves clues. And successful people often follow very similar, even predictable, patterns on their way to their success. And in this post, I’m going to share some lessons I’ve learned about the people who succeed in fitness and athletics over the long term – who go on to achieve their goals, fulfill their purpose, and move on to even greater things.
So, let’s get to the lessons.
Lesson 1: They have a burning desire to succeed.
Whatever it is that they want, they know exactly what it is, and they want it badly. A strong desire is a precursor to success, and a tell-tale sign that you’re on the right track. Like a flame, it consumes the attention and intention of our mind’s. And if there’s zero desire – if you don’t burn and yearn for success – it’s just not going to happen. And if that’s you, maybe your goals aren’t big enough.
Lesson 2: They have a powerful reason why.
They aren’t just motivated. They are driven. There is purpose in their plans. And their goals are tied in to this purpose.
So, when things get tough, when they have a bad day, when “life happens,” or when they just “don’t feel like it,” they know in their heart of hearts that they have to keep going because it’s worth it.
So, if you don’t have a good enough reason to do what you’ve gotta do day-in and day-out, get that figured out.
Lesson 3: They believe that success is their destiny.
This goes beyond merely having faith in themselves. They are convinced that they will succeed – that it is inevitable. Like elite performers in any discipline, they expect to win, and act accordingly. How would you act if you knew you could not fail?
Note: you can click here to learn how to supercharge your confidence.
Lesson 4: They leave nothing to chance.
If they want something badly, expect to succeed, and need to succeed, then you can bet your boots they are leaving nothing to chance. Nine times out of ten, they follow a proven, foolproof, structured, personalized approach to achieve their goals – that’s flexible enough for when “life happens.” If you want to succeed over the long term, you should, too.
Lesson 5: They never stop moving.
They know that thinking and planning has a place, but action is what drives them forward. It’s what gets results. Plus, it leads to more action. So, they take consistent action – even if it’s not perfect, even if they don’t have it all figured out, even if they’re tired, busy, sore, or sleep-deprived (etc.) – they keep going.
They celebrate little victories while looking forward to the next challenge. In other words, they don’t take breaks from their goals. They stay in motion. And they recognize that improving your health and fitness is not a temporary endeavor that you go “on” then “off.”
Whatever it is that they’re doing, they’re in it for life.
Lesson 6: They work smarter, not harder.
They identify the basics and stick with them. They focus on the most important strategies and ignore the temptations, fads, and other low-hanging fruit. They do the minimum effective dose. They pay attention to the details. They don’t try anything unconventional until they’ve mastered the basics. They stop researching the latest supplements and start eating breakfast. In other words, they do what they’ve known they should be doing all along. They take advice instead of seeking out the next best thing.
Lesson 7: They direct their mind and thoughts for success.
They know that without mental strength, they are doomed to fail. So, they train their mind just like they train their body. They become mentally tough. Their mind starts working for them instead of just against them (which is it’s default, in most cases of personal development). They gain control of their thoughts and harness this power for their own good.
Behind all of this, they are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed – WHATEVER it takes. They’re either going to succeed or die trying.
Lesson 8: They focus their energy on specific, daily tasks that will gradually lead to their desired outcome.
They identify exactly what they need to be working on today to get them to where they want to be, and they pour themselves into it completely – taking baby steps toward their goals. So, they don’t try to change everything at once. They don’t even try to change a lot at once. Instead, they try to change the most important thoughts, habits, and behaviors that will support their goals and that they think they’re able to stick with consistently.
In other words, they don’t bite off more than they can chew. In the same vein, they often choose to let go of thoughts, behaviors, and habits that are not in alignment with their goals – not only to remove bad influences, but also to make time for the positive activities necessary to succeed.
Lesson 9: They embrace failure.
They are ready and willing to fail their way to success, if necessary. If their goal is important enough to them, they don’t care if they fail a hundred times. They’ll try again. Better yet, they learn from their mistakes. And eventually, they start to see failure as an opportunity.
Oh, and they always have a plan B for when they do fail.
Lesson 10: They never go it alone.
They get whatever help they need to succeed. They understand the power of having a trainer, coach, mentor, training partner, or accountability partner to support them. They’re humble and admit that they can’t be their very best without help. So, they seek it out and make good use of it.
Those ten lessons are pretty universal among successful athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Now, maybe you’re thinking…
That’s great, John. But I’m just not there yet. What do I do?
My advice is to get those first two points figured out as best you can, then find someone or something that can help you take the next step – a coach, mentor, membership, program, etc.
Ask for help. Be relentless. Don’t give up. And believe in yourself.
If you believe that you can do it, that’s a start. And it’s enough to get the ball rolling. So, cultivate your self-confidence.
For me, it helps to remember so many people have done this before, and many of them have overcome much greater challenges than I have.
If they can do it, so can we. So, get after it. We’re counting on you.
Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. – Steven Pressfield
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Health-First Fitness Coach