About 2 weeks ago, I was getting coffee with a friend who radically changed his life in the past year. He was unemployed, broke, on his way to obesity and depression. Now, he has a job abroad, a high salary, a fit body, and he seems truly happy.
The internet is full of these stories, and you probably have already read dozens of them. You don’t need one more, so I won’t tell you about my friend. Instead, let’s focus on the actual journey, the process. It is the same for everybody, and it simply works.
It works, but it is extremely hard. Everybody has read about people changing their life, sometimes to the extreme. We all have read rags-to-riches stories. Homeless to millionaire, poor writer to rich blogger, frustrated employee to CEO… The degree of change doesn’t really matter. It’s the process and the duration that matters. Everything else will follow exponentially.The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. Click To Tweet
Step 1 — Acknowledge that change works
Most of everything is really simple at its core. Take running a marathon. All it takes is training. It’s the simple task of running once a day or maybe 4 times a week, combined with a healthy diet. It is simple to do. But it’s commitment in the long term that is extremely hard.
I don’t exaggerate when I say extremely hard. If it was easy, everybody would be successful at reaching their goals. Nobody would give up, nobody would have regrets.
A lot of people try. They set a goal for themselves, and they start working towards it. Regardless of the scale of the project, people will experience a “progress boost” for the first part of it. Then, a plateau will come. Progress will be slower.
As you can see, the progress boost usually makes up for a rather small part of the whole project. It feels great in the beginning, but it will plateau soon after. That’s when a lot of people will start losing their motivation and eventually give up.
For each progress time frame, the number of people who keep going will always decrease as time goes by.
Part of the reason this happens is because people are impatient and not ready for commitment. They expect success to come fast, and progress to be linear. But that’s never ever how it goes.
Success never comes easy. If you want to be successful you need to acknowledge the process and trust it. Hard work pays off in 99% of the cases, but only if you keep going in the long term.
Nobody will do the work for you. Nobody will change your mind to the one of a doer, and nobody will keep going in the long run for you. It’s all on you.
Acknowledgement begets realization
The first step towards change is realizing that change works. If you don’t believe in what you do it won’t get you anywhere. You need to understand that if you work hard enough, you will succeed in 99% of the cases.If you are willing to put the time, effort and commitment into where you want to be, change will happen. Click To Tweet
Step 2 — Do the change
Once you have acknowledged that the problem is mostly that you are not willing to get to work, you need to have a massive mindset switch. Again, this is extremely hard and will take time. Don’t get fooled by the progress boost in the first phase of your change. Keep going and never stop.
How do you change your mindset? With one simple realization. You choose how your environment affects you, not the other way around. This is will seriously change your life. Productive and effective people create their own weather. They don’t let rain bring them down, they are active whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring.
This realization will enable you to move forward a lot quicker than if you were letting the rain affect your success. Unpleasant external events vary in intensity and happen to us on a daily basis. Most of us are so used to reacting in a negative way that we don’t even realize what a waste of time and energy we allow by doing so.
Changing your mindset to carry your own weather everywhere you go takes a lot of time and training, but it is worth it. Start with the simple things everyday. Next time somebody annoys you, change your mindset, analyze the situation and move on. Next time it rains, try to smile more.
By pairing your mindset switch with a radical lifestyle change, you will become successful. To change your lifestyle, you need to implement habits into it.You will never change anything in your life until you do something daily. The secret of success lies in daily routine. Click To Tweet
We are what we repeatedly do. By changing what you do, you will change who you are and your life in general. Remember this plateau after the first progress boost?
Because most people don’t use them the right way, habits are usually what causes people to give up. They start implementing them in their lifestyle, get more and more motivated during the high boost. Then, they start skipping days as their progress plateaus. Then, it’s only a matter of days until they completely give up. They might tell themselves they will pick up the project again and finish it one day, but they never will.
The main reason habits cause people to give up is because they don’t acknowledge them. They don’t make themselves aware of it. If you want to train for a marathon and set yourself a goal of running 4 times a day, that’s a habit you need to implement in your lifestyle. If you want to build your own RC Car from scratch in your basement, that’s also a habit you need to implement.
If you just think to yourself: “I’m going to train for a marathon” without the idea of commitment in mind, you will give up in 90% of the cases.
Setting out goals
Lay down the goals you have been wanting to achieve for too long and never got to work on. It can be anything.
Then, create a column next to your goals. Next to each goal, write what you can do at least once a week to start getting closer to that goal.
For those who don’t have time
Here is non-exhaustive list to help you remove some of the most common time wasters from your daily routine:
Commitment comes with useful sacrifices. You have no idea how much time you can make by ditching those online distractions. Want to get concrete insights? Install a time tracking app on your phone and laptop. At the end of the month, you’ll get a full report on how much time you spent on each time waster. That’s how much you can get back.
If you are not ready to realise that online distractions (and offline distractions too) are getting in the way of your success, I would advise you to go back to step 1 and focus on what you really want to achieve in life.
Laying out your plan
A goal without a plan is just a wish. By starting to track your habits, you will create a plan and an incentive to keep going.
The more specific you get, the more likely you will be to commit. Break down each day into timelines. Fill out those timelines with your concrete actions towards your goals.
Along with creating strong habits, time management is one of the key components in achieving success. Your schedule will look great on paper, but it will be really hard to stick to it during the first progress plateau. No pain, no gain.
Now you have the right mindset and your plan properly laid out, it is time to get to work to build long term momentum.
Step 3 — Work
Find a way to track your progress. I recommend having a paper version. It is the simplest way, it’s distraction free, and it feels satisfying to check off your concrete actions after finishing them. You can use a bullet journal to keep track of everything. Goals, achievements, upcoming plans…
Working is like a lot of things. The more you do it, the better you get at it.But you only get better if you don’t give up. Dedication is a race, and you need to train and have the motivation to keep going.Every single day you keep going, 100 people quit.Every single day you keep going, 100 people quit. Click To Tweet
If you are the kind of person that feels a need to compare yourself to others to feel like what you are doing has a point, then the above quote will help. But you shouldn’t make it so much about the others, and more about you. You want to get better for yourself, not for anyone else. Think of this quote more as a proof that dedication and commitment are hard, and that only the best succeed.
The rewards of committing
There are multiple, and they feel amazing. As mentioned before, as long as you commit, your growth will be exponential. That’s why the hardest part is the beginning. The tough period varies for everybody, and it’s too long for 99% of the people.
Once you pass the hardest period, the one with the most work, the most change and the most ups and downs, things will start flowing a lot more naturally. You will feel like your dedication is finally starting to pay off, and good things will start happening to you.
Take my friend for example. Because he decided to have a massive mindset switch and to change his life for the better, he started to commit to work. As a consequence, he got at first a normal job, then a really good one. Now, he is at the top of his game and he keeps the momentum going, generating positive side effects. He gets invited to exclusive events, eats at the best restaurants, gets free upgrades…
The definition of personal progress and success is different for each and everyone, but the point here is this: keep the momentum going.
Another positive side effect will be the use of your time. As you progress more and more, you will find that you have a lot more time for what you actually want to do in life. You will turn obstacles into opportunities.
Don’t lose yourself to the game
Out of all the people who fail, some do because they burn out. Remember that the journey takes a long time. You will need to rest once in a while, and that’s completely normal. You don’t have to go to bed at 1am and wake up at 5 everyday. You don’t have to skip lunch, you don’t have to not see your kids/wife/friends anymore.
Don’t associate dedication with crazy working hours. Dedication is a whole system, it’s not just an output. If you work too much and spend your life indoors, you will lose your clarity, lose sight of your goals and your plan to get to them. Besides, just because you’re slowing down doesn’t mean you stop running. You can change your pace. Go outside, go on vacation, have coffee with friends and talk about life for the whole afternoon…
My friend takes one month completely off per year. No phone, no mails, zero distraction. He rents a nice place in some far away place, stays there with his family, and takes time to slow down. The rest of the year, he is full on.
Not everybody has the same needs when it comes to time off. Learn to listen to yourself and find what matches your progress best.
Work does pay off, dreams do come true
Maybe it is because society keeps shouting those classic quotes that most of us have forgotten what their true meaning is.The only thing standing between you and where you want to be is the lack of realization and acknowledgement that what you want can happen. Click To Tweet
People read articles, like and share content everyday, but they never take action. They don’t question their reality. Learning is part of growing, but if you don’t apply the learning to your life, growing will never happen. People who write the content you read are like you and I. They’re humans, they have no superpowers, and they have 24 hours in a day. They just decided to commit.If you really want something in life, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. Click To Tweet
Acknowledge the solution, lay out the plan, follow the plan. The path to success is to take massive, determined action. People who succeed are not people who never fail, they are people who never quit.