This might be tough for you to read and you might not like everything I have to say. But if you accept this advice as a genuine solution, you will why you can succeed where so many others fail.
Goal setting is the health equivalent of pressing the refresh button on your life.
No matter what you did in the past, setting new goals is an opportunity to change everything. The process is as basic as it is motivating: Learn from the past and plan for a better future.
Have hope. Be an optimist. And believe that anything is possible.
It’s a safe and effective approach that allows you to reinvent yourself, set new standards, and become the person you want to be.
Unfortunately, if success was that easy and motivation was a given, you wouldn’t repeatedly set the same goals year after year.
As you might know, willpower is a limited reserve. So really on it is far from a surefire way to accomplish way you want.
So what really separates the successful from the unsuccessful? And why do so many people constantly need to reset goals hoping for the best only to repeat the same failures?
The goal-failure-success continuum really boils down to one simple factor, and making an adjustment to your approach could be the difference between achievement and failure.
The dirty little secret about goals is not complex.
Those who succeed are unwilling to quit. They want to taste success more than those who don’t.
More importantly, those who succeed understand realistic expectations and timelines of progress and change.
According to research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionists, a more effective approach for long term fat loss is a plan that allows you to lose “only” about .5 to 1 percent of your body weight per week.
For muscle gains, if you factor out “rapid beginner changes” you might be looking at a maximum (in the most perfect of scenarios) of 4 to 8 pounds of muscle gain in 12 weeks, and even less the more experience you have.
This isn’t meant to be depressing. Instead, it should be just the opposite. It will allow you to set realistic goals that won’t drive you insane.
Why Progress is Blind
We all have the desire to be better. In fact, that’s what motivates most people to set goals in the first place.
But after working with thousands of people and hearing countless stories—both of successes and failures—the most common reason for success is the relentless drive to succeed.
This is not a blame-game or a lack of respect for whatever hurdles stand in your way. I’ve failed at plenty of my goals too.
This is a reality check that everyone needs to accept, yet few ever mention.
Changing your body, losing weight, gaining muscle, quitting smoking—every goal you desire will be difficult to achieve.
At some point, you’re going to hit a bump in the road, confronted with a challenge, and begin to doubt your ability to make real, lasting change.
Many view this as a bad thing. In reality, this is the inevitable situation you must confront if you want to have long-term success.
Reaching this point is not the problem; it’s how you react after it occurs.
Pulse Moments: The Gateway to Greatness
When situations become difficult and you anticipate trouble on the horizon, do not ignore your frustration. That’s the first step towards failure.
Instead, acknowledge your anger and fear. Channel your frustration and ask yourself one simple question: How badly do I want this?
When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe that’s when you’ll achieve your goals.
This isn’t about six-pack dreams, running a marathon, or building bigger biceps. Those are all great goals that are achievable by anyone. But it’s not the goal itself that matters; it’s your relentless mindset in its pursuit.
I don’t care how far your journey might appear. You can make a change. And if you have any doubts, read the stories of those who are just like you.
I’m inspired by these people because they do the “impossible.” And now it’s our job to eliminate doubt and apathy so that you can join in on the success.
This is a gut-check. Or as I call them: Pulse Moments.
Check your pulse and determine if you’re ready for your own challenge.
Are you willing to scratch, and claw and fight for your health? Are you willing to push harder, make yourself a little uncomfortable, and make the adjustments you need to succeed?
Change is hard, and I understand every ounce of hurt you feel when it seems like you can’t lose weight, you can’t eliminate pain, or you can’t become the version of yourself that you so desperately desire.
Change starts by taking the first step, looking in the mirror, and saying, “I want to be better.”
But that’s just the beginning. You need to remind yourself that this will be a battle. And that the battle should be fun.
Make no mistake about it: Becoming healthy will make you smile more, laugh more, and feel better than you could ever imagine.
It’s worth every drop of effort you put into it. But making the transition from your current situation to the one you want takes time and includes struggles. It will be difficult, it will inevitably frustrate you, and you have to expect what’s waiting on your journey.
Approach your goals with eyes wide open.
Have hope. Be an optimist. And believe that anything is possible. And then tell yourself that when you get knocked down, you will pick yourself back up.
Every. Single. Time.
Do it for your family. Do it for your friends. Do it for the people you love. And most importantly: Do it for you.
Once you achieve that mindset, the rest is comparatively easy.
Your job should be limited to one single focus: Take action and don’t stop until you achieve your goals.
You can be the change.
But change doesn’t start with making a list of goals, finding a great workouts, or finally settling on a diet that you can follow.
It begins with a hard look in the mirror and a determination that your health is worth fighting for.
It’s time to make it count. Take the first step, don’t accept failure as an option, and you’ll never again doubt that you can uncover your best.
Adam Bornstein is a New York Times bestselling author and, according to The Huffington Post, “one of the most inspiring sources in all of health and fitness.” An award-winning writer and editor, Bornstein was the Fitness and Nutrition editor for Men’s Health, Editorial Director at LIVESTRONG.com, and a columnist for SHAPE, Men’s Fitness, and Muscle & Fitness. He’s also a nutrition and fitness advisor for LeBron James, Cindy Crawford, Lindsey Vonn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His work has been featured in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Fast Company, ESPN, and GQ, and he’s appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, E! News, and The Cheddar.