By Shannon Dey, M.S. Health Education & CEO-Founder Bombshell Fitness
Google the phrase “Key to Success” and you will find over 865 MILLION results in under one second! Everywhere we turn, someone is telling us HOW to succeed in fitness, in our careers, in life, in just about everything! Yet, with all of these tips, failure still “happens” and unfortunately quite often dreams are stalled or even lost. In order to understand how to succeed, we must first understand how to FAIL. If we engage in success strategies while at the same time practicing habits that lead to failure, they zero one another out, and we can be left with a big bag of broken dreams.
As Founder and CEO of Bombshell Fitness, the vast majority of my adult life has been spent teaching and motivating thousands women to succeed in their health and fitness goals. Through these women, I have observed many specific traits demonstrated by those who find success. In turn, I have also identified many common traits and behaviors of those who fail in their endeavors. The following are keys for failure, followed by alternative ideologies and behaviors to utilize in order to avoid these pitfalls and ultimately find success.
Failure Key: Require a Cheering Section
In order to succeed everyone around you must be 100% supportive and interested in your endeavors. Their acceptance of your goals is crucial in you displaying the attitude and behavior required to succeed. If someone in your life is not supportive of your newfound interests, you become discouraged, hurt and unmotivated to continue your quest.
Success Alternative: Realize that everyone around you will not understand or even agree with your decision to make a change in your life habits, no matter how positive. Explain to those around you that your goals aren’t changing who you are at your core, simply enhancing your quality of life. If they still do not support you, you empathize with their reasoning, but do not allow it to deter you. From there, be your OWN cheerleader and keep moving forward.
Failure Key: Make a HUGE Deal Out of the Sacrifice
As you embark on a new journey, there will inevitably be sacrifice. Certain things that you enjoy will need to take a place on the backburner. Whether it is substituting your favorite pasta dish for a healthier alternative or giving up an extra hour of sleep to get out of bed and do cardio, changes are inevitable. A great way to make certain these changes do not become part of your every day life is to make a grand production out of them. Reminding yourself and others of the sacrifice you are making and what you are missing on a regular basis will over time cause you to become bitter toward your goals and the life changes you are making in order to reach them.
Success Alternative: When you add new tasks and behaviors to your daily schedule, decide that they are now simply part of your every day activity and treat them as such. Don’t talk about what you are doing, just do it! You will find that your new positive behaviors will become habit and replace the old. With time, consistency and the attitude that this is your “new normal”, you will no longer miss your old habits and will actually ENJOY the new
Failure Key: Expect Everyone Around You to Change
Your life is changing so EVERYONE else’s life should change too, right? So now that you want to follow a nutrition plan it means no one is allowed to have cookies in the house? Getting up before dawn to do cardio means that your husband has to get his A** out of bed with you? Expecting everyone around you to adapt to your new goals and make them THEIR goals as well will put you on the fast track to conflict, resistance and ultimate failure.
Success Alternative: Understand that your goals are just that, YOUR goals! Do not inflict the changes you are making, although positive, on those who are not choosing them on their own. Go about your business and allow those around you to live their lives as they see fit. You will find MUCH less resistance and it will be much easier to incorporate reaching your goals in to your every day life. And who knows, through leading by example, you just may INSPIRE them to make a change of their own!
Failure Key: Take Criticism to Heart
“You will never be able to stick to a program.” “You looked better before you started losing weight.” “I can’t believe you won’t eat this.” “You can’t change your body, you are simply made to be big.” Everyone is a critic and the list of possible criticisms is endless. Taking these critics to heart is a sure fire way to fail. If you listen to the words of the naysayers, believe what they say, you will end up so beaten down that you have no choice but to surrender to their negativity and abandon your quest.
Success Alternative: This one is simple. Screw the critics! No really, I mean it! Screw the critics! Unfortunately, those who do not have the fortitude or the heart to make a change in their own life will often criticize the efforts of another in order to feel better about their own shortcomings. You will not make it through your journey without at least one (if not several) critics. Learn to understand that their criticism is coming from their own personal struggles and let it roll off of you! Simply smile and keep on truckin’. Ultimately, your SUCCESS will silence them without you ever having to say a word.
Failure Key: Single Punch Knockout
In the pursuit of success, you WILL get knocked down and you WILL see roadblocks. These punches will come no matter how hard you work, how determined you are, or how smart may be. A clear path to FAILURE is to stay DOWN after you get punched. Interpret setbacks as a “sign” that you are not meant to succeed, and you will soon decide that it’s simply not worth the fight.
Success Alternative: Adopt the attitude that adversity is nothing more than an educational tool. If you learn from your mistakes and setbacks, they can actually be a POSITIVE step in your journey. Observe the behaviors and triggers which lead to your stumble. Once you identify these factors, use non-emotion fueled reasoning to determine how to avoid these issues in the future. When you get knocked down, get up, dust yourself off, LEARN from it and KEEP GOING!
Failure Key: All or Nothing
When it comes to your daily health and fitness routine, you are either 100% on the wagon or you completely fall off the wagon and you are run OVER by the wagon! In order to have the motivation to follow your nutrition plan, you have to be able to complete your entire workout and cardio. In order to give your cardio your all, your nutrition has to be perfect. If you mess up and cheat during the middle of the week, you completely go off the rails for the remainder of the day, week or even month until you can “start over” and follow everything to perfection.
Success Alternative: Perfection is a myth! You may NEVER have a perfect day in all aspects of your health and fitness routine! If you mess up your nutrition plan, get right back to it with your next meal, and still give your workout your all. If you don’t have time to do your cardio, stick to your nutrition plan anyway. Life happens! Get in what you can as consistently as possible and you WILL see results!
Failure Key: Don’t Show Yourself any Love
With your health and fitness goals looming over you, you can’t stop staring in the mirror at everything that is WRONG with you. You hate your thighs, you squeeze the fat on your stomach, you simply can’t STAND your butt, the changes aren’t coming fast enough, and it makes you so depressed that you dive head first into a gallon of ice cream.
Success Alternative: YOU are the one and only YOU that there will ever be in the HISTORY of the Earth! WOW, that is one powerful thought! Sure, we all have things that we would like to improve. HOWEVER, coming to the realization that you can ONLY be the best YOU that you can be is a freeing proposition that allows you to ACCEPT the skin you are in, flaws and all while still STRIVING to be your best. Change takes time! And like watching a pot as you wait for it to boil, if you constantly stare in to the mirror for results, it will become overwhelming! Instead of focusing on what you perceive to be WRONG, focus on the progress you ARE making! Are you becoming less winded on cardio? VICTORY! Make it through an entire round of plyos for the first time? WINNING! Celebrate your small, everyday accomplishments and they will add up over time to even greater all-around success.
When travelling on the journey to health and fitness, or even the journey of life, you have two choices; Success or Failure. And yes, whether you succeed or fail is quite often a CHOICE. Your beliefs, attitude and behaviors all have consequences that may take you in one direction or the other. While striving for success and doing what it takes to get there, also keep an eye out for the self-imposed pitfalls that could lead to failure. The POWER of choice is yours, and the ultimate outcome is in your hands. The keys to either to success or failure are already WITHIN you. It is YOUR job to use the correct one!