Why is it that so many of us have big plans for our lives but so few of us end up achieving what we define as success?
I remember having big dreams in my 20s. I believed I was going to be a successful fitness professional making lots of money and impacting millions of lives by the time I was 30. I had the looks, knowledge, and connections, so it wasn’t an impossible dream. Yet, I never made any of that happen.
I remember feeling angry and frustrated because I had so much going for me but for some reason, I wasn’t able to use the resources I had to create the type of life and business that I wanted.
I was surrounded by CEOs, multimillionaires, and celebrities that most people would die to spend time with. But somehow their success wasn’t rubbing off on me.
Do you have a similar story of dreaming big? Have you ever wondered why you’re not successful as you thought you’d be?
In my case, I thought that maybe I just wasn’t the type of person that success happened to…
Maybe my genetics were holding me back…
Maybe success wasn’t written in my destiny…
Maybe I didn’t deserve it—even though I felt like I had worked hard…
Maybe I wasn’t a good enough person…
Those were some of the thoughts I had.
Eventually, the anger turned into sadness and depression. Although I regularly trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu and lifted weights, I also lost myself in drug use.
I smoked marijuana almost every day during that time. In fact, the only time I remember not being high was when I couldn’t find someone to sell it to me.
Maybe you’re dumbfounded thinking that a personal trainer would be a business that leads to burnout. But that’s the unfortunate truth for many in the fitness industry. Most personal trainers work double shifts—train clients in the morning for the before-work crowd then again in the evening for the after-work crowd.
I remember being so depressed with the thought of having to do those double shifts that I’d sometimes smoke weed in the afternoon to dull my emotional pain. I went on like that for longer than I’d like to admit.
Thankfully, I eventually figured out that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I wasn’t cursed. And I finally realized that it was my plan that sucked (or my lack of a plan to be completely honest).
It wasn’t working and instead of changing it and trying something different, I took the failure personally.
But, here’s the good news…
Once I put my emotions to the side and objectively looked at the actions I was taking to build success, I was able to clearly see the obstacles that were holding me back.
I set a goal for what I truly wanted to do—to create a business where I got to teach others how to use health & fitness as the foundation to a successful life.
I cut back on what was wasting my time and I started investing in my future. I hired coaches, bought courses, joined groups, and put together a plan to get me to my goal.
Fast forward a few years and here I am now. I’m very close to leaving personal training for good to run Legendary Life full time. It’s literally a dream come true.
Although that’s my story, it’s also what happens to so many of us. We start out with big plans of what we’re going to do in the world only to be stopped dead in our tracks by the cold, hard realities of life.
The truth is that we’re not destined for success. We create success by what we choose to do and not do. By what we spend time, money, and effort on and what we don’t.
There’s a great concept in economics called “opportunity cost.” It’s defined like this: In microeconomic theory, opportunity cost is the loss or the benefit that could have been enjoyed if the best alternative choice was chosen.
What that means is that for every choice you make, there is a cost to it. If you choose to binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, then you won’t be able to get back the time you spent.
If you spend $2000 on brand new 4k TV then you won’t be able to use that money to pay off debt or hire a fitness coach.
Unfortunately, many of us end up being the victims of our decisions instead of enjoying the success which comes from smart investments of our time and money.
But keep in mind that success means something different to every person: like beauty, it exists in the eye of the beholder. It is your responsibility to determine what success means for you.
However, no matter how you define success, the actionable advice below will help you to create a successful life.
In this article, I’ll share 7 things that you should stop doing in 2021 if you want to see your life get exponentially better. Some of these I’ve learned from my successful CEO clients. Some of them I’ve learned from my coaches along my journey. Some I’ve stumbled upon in books or figured out on my own.
Note: It’s not another random list you’ll read off the internet. This is stuff I actually practice.
1. Give Up Being Scattered
One of the biggest reasons people don’t achieve the goals they set for themselves is that they’re lacking focus.
“A lack of focus leads to a lack of progress.”
While it’s great that you want to refinance your home, buy a new car, sell your old one, start a new business, and get in shape, none of those things will ever happen if you try to do them all at once.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t succeed when they join my coaching groups and workouts is that they took on too much at once and didn’t have the time to dedicate to the program. In other words, they were scattered and unfocused.
Instead of making that amateur mistake, focus and prioritize the most important goal you have. And instead of thinking of the word ‘focus’ as some buzzword, think of it as standing for this:
“F.O.C.U.S. = Follow One Course Until Successful.”
So, next time that you feel like you want to do a million things at the same time, please stop for a moment and choose one thing. Then stay focused on that thing until you’re successful. That is the way to achieve what you want in 2021.
2. Give Up Obsessing Over Small Details
This is a common mistake—especially for smart people. They get lost in the small details instead of focusing on the big picture concepts.
I recently had a conversation with a coaching client whose goal was to lose body fat. He was in my group, so he had a workout and a nutrition plan to follow. Yet, he wasn’t getting results.
When we had a conversation about it, it turned out he wasn’t following the nutrition plan as it was written and he was too focused on the minute details.
He began to tell me about an article he read that claimed that a deficiency in pantothenic acid (otherwise known as vitamin B5) could stop fat loss from happening.
While pantothenic acid is involved with fat metabolism, a deficiency won’t stop you from losing fat. Only eating too much (i.e. too many calories) stops fat loss from happening.
So instead of focusing on following the diet and workout then losing the extra pounds that he needed, he was focused on finding the easy way out.
This type of thinking about small details often leads people down a rabbit hole that can be hard to come back out of.
“Don’t get lost in small details. Focus on the Big Picture concepts that lead to results.”
We all are busy. Really busy. So spending endless hours on the internet to find the magic diet or supplement instead of doing the work that will help you create the body you’ve always wanted is just not a smart use of your time.
Successful people set long-term goals, and they know that these aims are merely the result of short-term habits that they need to do every day.
These healthy habits shouldn’t be something you do; they should be something you embody.
Next time that you catch yourself at 1 am looking for how to lose 15 pounds in 7 days, please do yourself and start a sustainable program that will offer you safe and lasting results.
Let’s be honest, if you waited 15 years to make a decision to get back in shape, you can wait 6 months to build your best body. Remember, it’s all about the bigger picture.
3. Give Up Being In Meaningless Motion
Everyone’s busy. But not everyone is making consistent progress towards his goals. A big problem is that too many people mistake motion for action. Although they sound similar, they’re far from being the same.
If you want to lose fat and start reading articles about losing fat, you’re in motion. If you start exercising and cutting back on the amount of food you eat, that’s taking action.
If I want to write an article and I start doing research, that’s motion. If I sit down, write, and then publish an article, that’s taking action.
If I want to get in shape and I start watching Youtube exercise videos, that’s motion. If I drop down and start doing push-ups, that’s taking action.
Starting to see the difference?
Sometimes we need to do more research before we take action. You should, for example, learn the proper technique before you perform an exercise.
Far too often, I see people getting into an endless cycle of motion instead of taking the action they need to make progress.
Start asking yourself whether the things you do are leading to results. If they aren’t, then you’re most likely spinning your wheels. Know the difference between the two and spend more time taking action instead.
4. Give Up Your Unhealthy Habits
Jim Rohn said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
I’ve said, “Health and fitness form the foundation of a successful life.”
Important: Whether you’re trying to be a great parent, a loving spouse, a thriving entrepreneur, or have a successful career, health is your foundation.
Good health will enable you to have all the energy to accomplish those things. On the other hand, poor health will crush your productivity.
You’ll spend more time feeling brain fog and low energy than someone who takes good care of their body. You’ll also lose time to being sick. Healthier people get sick less and bounce back quicker than those who are unhealthy.
Making time to exercise and eat nutritious food will keep you performing at your peak. The good news is that while it takes a lot of exercise and consistent good nutrition to transform your body, it doesn’t take much to reap the physical and psychological benefits of a good health regimen.
Here are some quick tips:
- Take a walk every day. You can start with 20-30 minute walks. Then you can download a steps app and shoot for 8-10k steps every day.
- Workout three times a week. This could be a 20-minute home workout of push-ups and bodyweight squats or a full hour-long gym routine. Just get it done.
- Eat fruits and vegetables every day. Start with 5 servings of fruits and vegetables then build up to 10. If fat loss is a goal, then eat more vegetables than fruits.
- Eat lean protein at every meal. Protein helps you maintain muscle and lose fat if you’re eating less food.
No need to complicate things. If you follow those 4 tips, you’ll notice an improvement in your body and energy levels.
If you’re already working out consistently and looking to upgrade your results, then click here to check out our program options.
5. Give Up Poor Sleep Habits
Many people will say that sleep is important but too few act on it. Usually, sleep is the first thing to go in our busy schedules.
Maybe you stay up late to answer emails thinking that you’re being more productive. Or maybe you feel like nighttime is the only chance you get for some fun after the kids are in bed.
No matter what your reason is for staying up late, it’s affecting your mood, energy levels, productivity, and health.
Lack of quality sleep is linked to anxiety, memory issues, depression, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. While an occasional late-night can be fun, chronic sleep deprivation will crush your dreams for success.
“Sleep deprivation is linked to anxiety, memory issues, depression, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.”
Instead, start implementing some healthy sleeping habits to ensure you get regular rest.
6. Give Up Watching Negative News
The number one reason that most people give when I ask them about why they obsessively watch the news is that they need to stay informed.
You see how ridiculous this line of thinking is when they’re telling you the newest obnoxious tweet Donald Trump made. Or what is the latest gossip with the Hollywood celebrities? Or telling me about how horrible the most recent mass shooting is.
While it’s important to keep in touch with what’s going on in society, most of us spend our precious time watching and reading about stories that don’t help us move forward in life.
And that’s a big problem—especially when the news is mostly negative.
A study by Pew Research Center that spanned several decades found that American news preferences have remained consistent over the last twenty years. Not surprisingly, war and terrorism have consistently ranked at the top since 1986, where the study began. So have bad weather and natural or manmade disaster stories.
The problems with negative news stories is that:
1) They’re not representative of everything that’s going on. Despite what the headlines suggest. Violence has actually decreased, and the quality of life has improved for millions of people.
2) We spend our time watching them when we could be doing something more productive. (Remember the opportunity cost principle?)
3) They have negative effects on our mood and behavior.
At best, we spend our time watching or reading the news when we could be doing something that would help us achieve our goals. At worst, continual bad news can cause PTSD-like symptoms.
A 2001 study found that watching the events of 9/11 on television was enough to trigger PTSD symptoms — like worrying about future terrorist attacks and reduced self-confidence — in some viewers. Unsurprisingly, the people in the study who spent the most time watching negative news had the most severe symptoms.
“A 2001 study found that watching negative events on television was enough to trigger PTSD symptoms. So stop watching the news.”
Your life is stressful enough without worrying about statistically improbable tragedies like terrorism, shark attacks, plane crashes, and mass shootings.
As scary as all those things are, heart disease and cancer are the number one and two killers in the U.S., respectively.
I’m sure there are plenty of positive experiences in your life. I am willing to bet that you have more positives in your life than negative ones. You’re capable of living with a positive perspective.
If you want to cultivate success in your life then you need to concentrate on all the good. You shouldn’t disregard the negative, but you don’t have to give it so much of your attention.
Otherwise, you’re never going to be satisfied because you are so focused on the unfavorable conditions of your life. Even if you reach a level of ostensible success, your continued focus on the negatives will prevent you from relishing your accomplishments.
7. Give Up Spending Too Much Time On Social Media
I know it’s tough to give up arguing about politics on Facebook or scrolling through the crazy posts on Instagram, but if you’re serious about achieving success in 2021 you’ll reign in your social media usage.
The average Facebook user spends almost an hour on the site every day, according to data that the company shared in 2016. A Deloitte survey found that for many smartphone users, checking social media apps like
Facebook and WhatsApp are the first things they do in the morning—even before getting out of bed. (That doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it?)
While social relationships are good for us, social media—especially when used too much—is wasting precious time we could be doing something more conducive to our goals and is potentially causing us harm.
In prior research has shown that the use of social media may stop us from forming face-to-face relationships, reduce the time we spend doing things that actually matter to us, increase our sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen time, and damaging our self-esteem by comparing ourselves to others.
Every time I scroll through Instagram or Facebook and see other content creators like myself leading what seems to be a more exciting and interesting life, I end up feeling like a loser.
It’s so serious that I’ve made it a point to get off of social media immediately and do something productive whenever I feel that way.
A rigorous 2017 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found the use of Facebook was negatively associated with well-being. In other words, the more you use Facebook, the worse you feel.
A 2017 study shows that the more you use Facebook, the worse you feel.
So using Facebook also makes you feel worse about your life while taking away the time you could use to actually change your situation for the better. That’s what we call a lose-lose scenario.
Here’s the truth: change is hard.
And our current behaviors are rooted in our emotions.
In other words, we’re spending time on Facebook and watching the negative news because it meets some need for us.
Yet, if we want 2021 to be different than last year, we’ll need to do something different in order to make that want a reality.
As the late great John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” I think that sums it up beautifully.
Committing to even a few of the changes outlined above will put you on the winning path to a successful year, despite the world that we’re living.
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