In part one of What Really Works, I discussed the what. That is, what you’ll need to do in order to succeed in improving your health, fitness, and quality of life through physical living. In this post, I’d like to share the other half of the equation – the better half – if you will. And this side of the coin is just as important, if not more important, than the former. Because it’s not enough to know what needs to be done. You must know how to do it. And so, I’m going to share with you a little success formula to show you how to put it all together and actually make it happen.
If you’ve been struggling to make something happen for a long time, then it’s likely that one or more factors in this success formula are out of whack, and if that’s the case, just knowing and using this formula could mean the difference between immediate progress and no progress at all.
The Simple Success Formula
So, first you need to know what you want. This is your goal. Or, you’re ultimate outcome goal, if you will. And if your goal is measurable, then having some stepping stone goals leading up to your ultimate goal is necessary as well. Much has been said about goal setting before, including on this site (and in my special report on goal setting). So, I won’t rehash the specifics here. But the specifics of goal setting are important to the point of being essential. If you don’t have goals, you will not succeed. Period. And if you don’t have a deadline for your goal, then you won’t succeed anytime soon. Think about that next time you shrug off the goal setting stage – even if your goal seems like a small one.
Once you know what you want, you need to identify to a TEE why you want it. You have to get crystal clear on your true intentions – your deepest of deep motivations. Part of this step involves making sure that you actually have a strong enough desire to succeed. Because I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t want it bad enough, then your chance of actually getting it is about as good as your chance of winning the Megabucks. But once you’ve identified your true motivations – what really drives you – then you need to make sure you get that at the forefront of your mind and do whatever it takes to keep it there.
Now that you know what you want and why you want it, it only makes sense that you figure out how you’re going to get it. This is where knowledge comes in. You need to know how to accomplish your goals, and if you don’t, then you need to find someone or something that does. The purpose of this stage is to come up with a plan for success, but not just any plan. Don’t sell yourself short with a plan that might work. Come up with a plan that will work – a proven blueprint to achieve whatever it is that you’re after – using the methods of those who have succeeded before you.
While you’re at it, you might as well set in stone whatever it is that you need to do next. This is where the ever-dreaded action-taking comes in. It’s where the rubber meets the road, and when you’re given a chance to test your resolve and put your intentions to the test. Obviously, the action is where the magic happens and things start to come together. Don’t let the opportunity to take action on your plan fly by you.
Now, inevitably, there will come a point in time where taking action is really – REALLY – hard. It may be inconvenient, risky, scary, difficult, or just not fun – among other things. Things get tough from time to time. Life happens. And this is when you have an opportunity to make a choice – to see how committed you really are to your goals. It’s a matter of priorities, really. But for whatever reason, despite our best intentions, we fail from time to time. We fall off the wagon. And it’s for these times that having a source of accountability and/or social support is indispensable. This can take the form of a mentor, coach, partner, friend, etc. And even better than simply relying on one person, it’s better to have a whole group you can count on for when the going gets tough. But at the very least, there should be someone whom you’ve shared your goals with, your timeline for achieving them, and who will know you well enough to ask you how it’s going – and not accept “no” for an answer – who will hold you to a higher standard.
Now, of course, there’s more to success than what I’ve outlined here – a lot more. But this is the bare bones version of what actually needs to happen. It’s a blueprint. A guide. And so, my little success formula is this:
SUCCESS = What You Want (goals w/ a deadline) + Why You Want It (source of motivation) + How You’re Going To Get It (plan of action) + Action (getting it done) + Support (accountability, social support, mentoring, etc.)
And if all of this seems like so much work. I mean, what a hassle, right? Then I’m sorry to say, but this is the hassle that it takes to succeed. And if that’s you, then I’m sorry to inconvenience you with the truth. The good news is that this process is a skill in-and-of-itself – the skill of success. And as you practice this new skill, you will get better at it. It will take less time, effort, willpower, and creativity. It will become second nature, a habit, your default. As silly as it sounds, you will get better at succeeding in whatever you put your mind to. And while I’m no success guru, I’ve seen this truth at work in my own life.
The 5 Most Common Reasons Why People Don’t Succeed
I’ve noticed that whenever I’m struggling to achieve something, the reason often boils down to one or more aspects of the success formula being out of whack. Maybe you have, too. So, let’s flip this formula around and decipher some of the reasons why people fail – and see if any of these reasons ring a bell.
Just off the top of my head, people usually fail because…
-They don’t know what they want, or they don’t have goals at all. Or, if they do have goals, they are lousy goals for one reason or another (vague, unspecified, immeasurable, no deadline, etc.).
-They don’t know why they want it. They have no true desire to succeed – only a wish/hope/dream – which isn’t enough to motivate them into action.
-They don’t have a plan for success. So, they don’t know what actually needs to get done, and when, and how.
-They don’t take action on their plan when the time is right. They get all the planning and preparation right, but fold under pressure and fail at the last second when it comes to the actual doing.
-They don’t have a backup system of accountability and support in place for when compliance with their plan wanes.
Now, if one of those reasons strikes a nerve with you, and you just know that, “that’s me!” Then why not do something about it. Right now.
And with that, we close this brief primer on What Really Works. Please subscribe to the newsletter if you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it in the future.
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CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach
P.P.S. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/john_charalambous/