How to Model Physical Success in Other Areas of Your Life

Note: this post was actually inspired from my experience in childhood athletics. I grew up playing a variety of sports, and a common theme that kept coming up is that kids learn just as much playing a sport as they do in the classroom. My parents, teachers and coaches told me that sports taught us things like discipline, respect, and how to work as a team, and that’s true, but nobody told me what I’m about to share with you in this article. This is one of the most valuable lessons that a lifetime of athletics has taught me, and I wish I had learned it sooner.

How Physical Transformation Can Be Used as a Springboard For Life Transformation

Of course, you’ve heard that success is a skill (If you haven’t, then read part 1 of this article). Like any other skill, success itself can be practiced, trained, and developed over time. It’s not some rare phenomenon that happens by accident. It’s the result of applying a simple formula and taking a lot of deliberate, focused action until your goal is achieved. The skill of success is no different than any other physical skill such as martial art or fly fishing. Something else that’s cool about success is that it can be self-serving. In other words, experiencing success in one pursuit can lead to a greater likelihood of being successful in others. This means that you can actually take the skill of success and translate it into other areas of your life.

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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/documentingtrees/

For the last few years, I’ve used the pursuit of physical goals as a model for achieving other goals. In my case, it’s mostly been familial, business, and career goals, but the success formula can be applied to any endeavor. A physical transformation enables you to experience a sort of lifestyle testing grounds – boot camp for mastery over yourself. If you can achieve a fitness goal that once seemed impossible, then you develop a better ability to achieve seemingly impossible goals in other areas of your life.

By simply striving for a health, fitness, or athletic goal, you are unconsciously programming your mind to succeed when you pursue other goals.  A physical transformation creates a road map for how to succeed in the future. This has immense, life-changing implications! Imagine finding a formula that guaranteed success every time you applied it properly. Not only could this formula be used for fitness-type goals, but for almost any life goal, whether it be business-related, relationship-related – anything. Applying this technique can change your life, like it has mine.

Become a Fitness Champion

Every now and then, someone comes along who drastically changes their lifestyle in pursuit of better health and fitness. This is not your ordinary gym junkie, but someone who has made a serious commitment to improving themselves physically for the long-term. Usually, this person has achieved an awe-inspiring body transformation in a relatively short period of time. Whether they’ve lost a significant amount of weight, built an attractive physique, or successfully completed a tough athletic event (ie: the Ironman), this person is a fitness champion. They’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, and they are now enjoying exceptional results that inspire others.

Now, of course, a lot of athletes and fitness competitors are quite naturally fitness champions, but they’re not the only ones. I’m also talking about ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary results. A fitness champion doesn’t need to be a professional – just someone who has set a lofty goal, and successfully accomplished or exceeded it. Anyone can be a fitness champion if they so choose. It’s not reserved for the elite, but for anyone who would pursue physical excellence.

What Every Fitness Champion Has In Common

Being in my profession, I’ve been blessed to know many different people whom have completely re-worked their life in order to achieve their physical goals. Over the years, one theme that I’ve noticed is that every fitness champion has one thing in common. When you ask them about the benefits they’re experiencing now that they’ve successfully achieved a remarkable physical goal, they almost always say the same thing:

“I’m more confident now.”

They might say it in a slightly different way. Maybe their confidence level has been boosted, or they have more self-esteem than they remember. But this theme rings true for almost every fitness champion I’ve spoken with.

You might be thinking, “Confidence, huh? That’s great and all… We could all use a little more of that, but what’s the big deal?”

Well, let’s dig a little deeper into that phrase, “I’m more confident now.”

If you ask the champ to clarify what they mean, they’ll probably tell you, “well, I’m more confident in how I look and feel.” They might even add in that they’re feeling more confident at their job or in other similar responsibilities.

Now, watch what happens when you peel back another layer, and go really deep. Certainly all that confidence isn’t just resulting in feel-good emotions, better posture, and possibly standing up to your boss at work. There’s just gotta be more! Oh, and mark my words. There is.

Feel The Power

When you get down to the very core of what fitness champions mean when they say they’re more confident, it’s that they feel empowered. They literally feel like they could do anything. If they realize that they can control their physical health and fitness to radically change their body, then they can also better control other aspects of their life (business, relationships, finances, etc.). This is not a mindset that comes by accident, but from habit and repetition. It’s a direct result from accomplishing something extremely challenging – maybe even something they once thought was impossible. Just the very nature of experiencing success broadens the scope of what you believe to be possible, which in turn, changes your life in subtle or dramatic ways (you decide). But these “side-effect” benefits don’t stop there. Empowerment is only the beginning – a candle that has the ability to start an inferno of potential.

In radically transforming their body, fitness champions stumble upon a blueprint for transforming their entire life. And this is where the real value of physical transformation comes into perspective. Health and fitness benefits are only the beginning. Physical training provides us with a framework to not only set and achieve goals, but also to experience the process of working for them. The physical process of achieving a health or fitness goal is much the same as the physical process for achieving almost any other goal. The action steps may be different, but the underlying strategy is the same.

When you make a decision to do whatever it takes to succeed and you actually follow through on that decision, the experience you draw from that process is invaluable. You learn and hopefully internalize several things:

  • taking action is the number one secret of success
  • taking action even when you don’t feel like it is the next best secret of success
  • taking action even when you’re not 100% sure of the best move is better than not taking action at all
  • the best plan is useless without the necessary action
  • a consistent, mediocre effort will usually yield better results than an inconsistent, ideal effort
  • clearly identifying your goals, and keeping them at the forefront of your mind daily, is a major key for aligning your daily actions with your long-term desires
  • finding a powerful source of motivation makes following through with action much easier
  • resistance always strikes at the worst moment
  • overcoming resistance is one of the most valuable skills anyone can practice
  • tracking and recording your results is often a necessary way for ensuring continual progress
  • finding a source of accountability is sometimes what makes or breaks follow-through
  • an honest form of social support is always the best form of accountability

This list could go on and on. Some of these items may sound overly-obvious, and they are. That doesn’t mean they’re easy to apply. In order to succeed using these strategies, you need to not only understand how they work, but you also need to believe that they will work for you. It’s easy to read about theories, but much harder to become a scientist and put a theory to the test. The message I’m trying to convey is that these are things that you can read volumes about and still not internalize. You can research and study all the goal-achievement and success psychology programs in the world, but it’s worthless without experiencing it for yourself. Just like everyone knows they should probably be eating more vegetables, getting more sleep, and watching less TV, most people already know what they need to do in order to succeed.

Experience is the Best Teacher

The bottom line is that people need to experience success in order to reproduce success. It requires that you be pro-active, and this is why I know physical transformation offers the best opportunity for experiencing the process of success. Physical transformation is especially useful for modeling lifestyle transformation for two main reasons:

1) The body is subject to the laws of conditioning. Thus, it functions entirely by cause and effect. Subject the body to this, and you will get that result – every time. Do you want to lose weight? Do A, B, and C. You will lose weight – every time. Do you want to build strength? Do A, B, and C. You will build strength – every time. Do you want to get better at your sport? Do A, B, and C. You will improve – every time.

2) The body provides constant feedback about how it’s reacting to any and all stimuli. If you have a consistent and reliable method for measuring and tracking progress, then you take most of the guesswork out. You figure out what is working and repeat that until it slows, plateaus, or stops working entirely.

The body works by cause and effect and provides constant, reliable feedback 24/7. This is exactly why physical transformation is the ideal tool for developing the skill of success.

Change Your Body To Change Your Life

Physical goals cannot be achieved passively. You can’t pay for a healthier, fitter body. There aren’t any magic pills or supplements that build a dream body. You have to work for it. You have to create an experience, and that’s exactly what I want you to consider doing today. Start the process of your lifestyle transformation with your body as the canvas. Make it your goal to become a fitness champion – whatever that means to you. A good goal is usually one that is neither too hard or too easy. It should make you a little uncomfortable, but you need to believe that you can do it. Be adventurous and set high expectations for yourself. If you want something magnificent, then make that your focus. You may be happy with moderate results, but think of how ecstatic you would be with exceptional results. Dream a little, but balance that with a realistic view of what’s actually possible, and what you’re willing to commit to. Treat goal-setting as a skill itself, and educate yourself about how to best employ it.

Once you have a goal in mind, reverse engineer the necessary steps to achieve that goal. Outline daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that need to be met in order to succeed. Keep it simple, and only include what is absolutely necessary. If you need to make adjustments in your schedule, then account for that in your plan. Make sure you have a good “big picture” battle plan for pursuing your goals, but don’t fall into paralysis by analysis. Remember, the best plan in the world is useless if you don’t follow it. Like Da Vinci said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Now that you’ve got your goal and an outline of how to achieve it, there’s only one last thing to be done. Do the work. Take action. Be deliberate and disciplined, and harness empowerment. Now, persistence is the key. Your own free will and the power of conscious choice is the only thing preventing you from succeeding. You’ve already succeeded before. You’ve been practicing success your entire life, whether you’ve realized it or not. It’s time focus that success on your goals now. If you find that you’re struggling with the action, then enlist help. Find an accountability partner, make yourself an offer you can’t refuse, post reminders where you’ll see them, find ways to reaffirm why this goal is important to you. No matter what, don’t give into the resistance that would have you quit. Get tenacious!

Most importantly, when you fail (and you will fail), remember that failure is just a normal result in the process of success. It’s not a end-point, but a launch point. Don’t get mired down in negative self-talk or inaction. Pick yourself up and get right back on track. At this point, there are no shortcuts or secrets – just decisions to be made. One of those decisions is that you cannot let anything stop you – even the illusion of failure.

Wrap-Up

That’s it – a blueprint for creating positive change in your life using physical transformation as the model. As you do the work – each exercise, set, and repetition becomes part of a beautiful symphony that is working towards your own inner mastery. Every time you train, eat, or make any choice that affects your goals, it offers you an opportunity to experience the intricacies of success. As your body changes, so will your mind, and your new mindset will lead to greater empowerment that enables you to pursue greater goals. Become a fitness champion today!

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CST, CST-KS, NSCA-CPT
Fitness Professional

2 Responses

  1. Thanks John !
    That’s basically what I think regarding exercice & success but always had difficulties to express it.
    I certainly will refer to your article when people ask me “what are the benefits of exercice besides a better health ?”

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