If there's one thing I've learned over the years that holds true for nearly everyone I've ever coached and talked to, it's that reaching your fitness and physique development goals isn't always easy.
Oftentimes we find ourselves confronted with obstacles and challenges that can prevent us from moving forward: events, habits, or friends can derail progress or, in the worst case, prevent us from building a better body.
Make no mistake about it, we cannot travel through life without facing some sort of a situation or event that challenges us. An obstacle that stops us dead in our tracks and prevents us from moving forward. Whether it's a tragic event, such as a close relative or family member passing away... or a temptation to eat the "wrong" foods… or simply the lack of time we all seem to face in our busy lives... or perhaps the multiple deadlines we're up against that challenge us to juggle our priorities.
Whatever they may be, or however unique to us these challenges are, there is one fundamental truth I know for sure: they are certain to come. What's more, these roadblocks are highly unpredictable. As you've likely experienced, they usually decide to pop up at the most inconvenient times.
Needless to say, each of us... each and every day... whether we're confronted with a roadblock that prevents us from achieving our best bodies or a tragic event that temporarily stops us from living life to the fullest—each and every one of us makes choices about how we plan to deal with the challenges that lie in front of us.
Now, while some decisions are certainly more important than others, we must understand that to overcome any challenge in life, we need to make choices that will lead us in the right direction. Because with each new choice, we open the doors to many more exciting, new choices—which either lead us closer to our expected outcome or further away. And as a result, for better or worse, our life's ultimate direction, and whether we can overcome these challenges, becomes the sum total of these decisions.
Here, today, just as you're reading this, take a moment to ask yourself: "When faced with a roadblock or a challenge, do you choose to complain about it, or do you choose to create a possibly for success and plan to overcome it?"
Go ahead. Take a few minutes to really search yourself for the answer. From what I've seen, there are two types of people: those who complain and break when confronted with obstacles... and those who create endless possibilities, transform their circumstances, and find ways to transform the obstacles.
Which type of person are you?
If you're typically a "complainer," my hope is we can help you transform your way of thinking. If you're a person who nine times out of ten chooses to create a positive situation from a negative experience, then great... you should be extremely proud of yourself.
Now, what I'd like to do is explore more than the "roadblocks" you've likely encountered—those obstacles that have, up till now, prevented you from building your absolute best body... but more importantly, I'd like to share with you a remarkably powerful, yet incredibly simple strategy for how to take any obstacle, challenge, or roadblock and quickly and easily turn it into a positive, rewarding, and educational stepping stone to your success.
It's called The Power Principle™—it's a four-step exercise, and here's how it works:
STEP 1: Choose Your Final Result
The result is what you want to look like and feel like once you've accomplished your goal. It's different from the goal itself, which is a very specific, measurable outcome. The result is more about what the situation will feel like. What your life will feel like. How you will feel about yourself, once you've accomplished your goal.
For instance, if you're trying to build a better body, your result may be how much energy you have. How much more confidence you'll exude. How your physical appearance will look— will it be muscular or lean or shapely? These are all a result of what you are setting out to achieve.
STEP 2: Determine Your Specific Goal
While the result is what it looks like when it's done, the goal is what you want to have happen. Your goal must be specific, measurable, realistic, and time-dated. These are the elements that make up an effective goal. A goal so specific and clear that your mind can almost see it. Again, if your goal is to build a better body... well, that won't cut it as a goal. You've got to follow the guidelines of a goal. So, you can turn that statement into a powerful goal by simply stating it more clearly. "My goal is to gain 10 lbs of muscle and lose 12 lbs of bodyfat in six weeks." Can you see how much more specific this goal is? Plus, you now have something to measure your progress against.
STEP 3: List Your Obstacles
When you have a clear picture in your mind of what you're trying to accomplish, usually the obstacles to achieving that goal quickly come to mind. (Sometimes, they're just simple excuses.) These obstacles, as you will see, will become your stepping stones to creating strategies to overcome them. So, if you want to build a better body, you certainly know that doesn't come easy. And, as you've already indicated, there is at least one, if not several, obstacles that stand in your way. Now, if you list those obstacles that you feel are your greatest roadblocks, you'll be more than halfway to achieving what you want. I'm serious.
STEP 4: List Your Success Strategies
You're probably thinking to yourself, "What is this guy talking about...? List my success strategies? If it were that easy, I would have overcome my obstacles long ago." Please allow me to explain...
By looking at each obstacle—or simply picking one—you are forced to focus on the "how" to overcome it. If you list all of the possible obstacles, your mind instantly becomes filled with the endless opportunities on how you can achieve your goals. Because within the obstacle itself lies the answers to overcoming it. Your answers become your strategies for success. Let me give you an example. Starting with a list of each of my obstacles, see how the answer to overcome it instantly appears:
- Not controlling portion sizes. (Answer: Measure all protein and carbohydrate-containing foods—they should be equal to the size of my clinched fist.)
- Being tempted by unhealthy foods in my kitchen (Answer: Throw out or donate the "bad" stuff!).
- Eating late at night, especially right before bed. (Answer: Start using a fiber drink, like Metamucil®, about one hour after eating dinner to prevent late-night snack cravings.)
Can you now see how this works? I've found it's really quite amazing how you can build your own strategies for achieving whatever you want (including building your best body) simply by listing ways to overcome the challenges you're faced with.
Interestingly, this process will help you work through virtually any challenge. You'll find it's a very powerful tool to overcome any roadblock that stands in the way of your success. Ultimately though, you have to decide, whenever you're faced with an obstacle that stands in the way of reaching your goals, whether to simply complain about it or create the possibilities to overcome it. I encourage you to try this simple exercise today and let me know how well it works for you.