Guest Post by Mitch Calvert
Are you struggling with a goal right now – unsure how you will accomplish it?
Maybe it’s finally getting around to building the body you want.
Maybe it’s a career change you’ve been dying to make.
Or maybe it’s popping the question to your girl, moving into new digs and starting the next chapter of your life.
Whatever it is, do you have the goal written down with actionable steps to get there along the way?
The make-it-up-as-you-go approach might get you there eventually (if you’re lucky), but it’s not optimal.
Sure, that paddle boat will get you across the lake, but the speed boat will do the job in a fraction of the time.
If given the choice, surely you’d throttle up the speed boat, right?
So why don’t you approach all aspects of your life that way?
Life gives you opportunities to take ACTION.
But they’re limited time offers.
There will always be excuses within reach if you let them take control.
In every big decision, the mind battles with itself – don’t let indecision or the risk of losing what you have win out over the potential reward of taking a giant leap forward.
It’s not your fault if your mentality is one of favoring risk over reward.
Loss aversion, first demonstrated by Amos Tyersky and Daniel Kahneman, refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.
Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.
You probably hear people talk all the time about their regrets. Often the “what ifs” relate to opportunities they had to take a leap of faith, but they didn’t act and weren’t rewarded.
If you sit on your hands, that’s the worst kind of failure.
Action takers get results. Action takers “get lucky”. Action takers WIN.
Your goals are within your control – if you’re willing to take action.
The most efficient way to get good at golf isn’t to pick up a club and swing away, hoping someday you will stumble onto the PGA Tour, but instead to educate yourself on swing mechanics, enlist a pro (if you want to be the best possible golfer you can be) and practice consistently the right way.
It wasn’t until I invested in improving my physique, enlisted a few coaches along the way who I aspired to become, and got an education in fitness (practical and institutional) that things came together.
I have guys like Jason Ferruggia to thank for helping me not only improve my fitness level – but also become a better person – through purchasing some of his programs and continually reading his writings and listening to his podcasts.
You are your biggest asset – invest in yourself.
Let me tell you a story…
I used to be the most vanilla dude ever in high school (closely related to my weight and lack of confidence).
I was more focused on playing video games and hitting on cyber gaming girls than getting out and socializing.
I sacrificed growing as an individual and building friendships during those formative years, and had to play catch-up in my 20s.
But once I started to get in shape and ended up in a university setting, rather than take the balanced approach, I did a complete 180.
I wanted so badly to fit in that I went full Party Boy from Jackass mode (See what I mean in this video).
My first night out with my new college crew went down like this (sorry, Mom)…
I guzzled one too many Red Bull & vodkas pre-gaming,
Allegedly tried to pull the top down of a female classmate while at the club (I say allegedly because I don’t remember this, but it haunted me for several years after),
Puked in a cab and got momentarily chased by said cabbie, but thankfully he didn’t want to abandon his car and gave up quickly (my “run” was more of a stagger),
Got picked up by a RANDOM car full of teenagers/young adults who found my state of inebriation VERY amusing (I still can’t picture their faces, but do remember their laughter),
Managed to get dropped off on the right street by slurring the name of it repeatedly, but instead of going straight home, I jumped a fence and ripped my pants (abandoning them there on the spot),
Mercifully, I eventually awoke on the couch to the disapproval of my parents (it was Remembrance Day – my way of honoring our troops was to not remember much of the night before).
As the cherry on the gong show sundae, this was winter and it was very cold here in Canada. (Pants not optional, in other words).
Anyway, where am I going with this?
Set clearly concise goals and find the balance between pursuing them and sharing memories with those who matter to you most.
Just like my above example, if you lean more towards play, you might want to give up or at least limit hanging out with friends who do nothing but party all the time.
Social support is a key to success, and it can just as easily work in opposition to your goals if you go to one extreme or the other.
As Jim Rohn said,
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Find the balance in your fitness and career pursuits as well.
If you go full bore with monk-like discipline with your eating and training, eventually you’re going to burn out or fall off the wagon, and those around you will feel neglected.
But, even worse, a directionless approach to fitness “when you get around to it” serves no purpose either.
Just the same, if you have big business ideas but never take action on them, your goals will never be within reach.
If it matters to you, get it out of your head and down on paper and go to work (just don’t forget to take time to recharge once in a while…)
Moderation doesn’t have to mean half-assed. Find your moderation and reap the rewards.
Mitch Calvert is a certified personal trainer with a B.A. who has been featured on T-Nation, EliteFTS.com, STACK.com, and was ranked as one of the top 10 fitness blogs by BreakingMuscle.com.