I’m about the start a 30 day health and fitness challenge, with the ultimate aim of shedding a couple kilos to reveal a god-like physique. Well, at the very least, it would be nice to develop a six-pack.
Instead on focusing on the practical details, which are of course important, I’ve been meditating on the core-mindsets necessary to achieve this goal. What struck me was how applicable these are every aspect of life and goals both large and small.
These core beliefs and attitudes are of paramount importance for succeeding in any goal, whether it be in fitness, career-wise, learning a new language, or developing a new taent or skill-set.
So here we go: the 10 most important mindsets for getting a ripped midsection or any other goal.
1) Raise your standards of acceptability
Generally, people attain what they believe is personally acceptable. If someone doesn’t have a six pack, it is safe to assume that not having a six-pack is acceptable to them. To repeat: your physique (or anything else primarily within your control) is a reflection of your own personal standard. If you just barely don’t have a six pack, your standard for yourself is probably just short of having a six pack .But congrats, since you still have above-average fitness.
So you need to raise your minimal standard of acceptability. But this isn’t so easy. Personal standards form over long periods. They are also are influenced by both the others’ opinions and the inertia of individual behavioral patterns.
Nonetheless, for whatever your goal is, you must have the mindset that absolutely nothing less is acceptable. If you want a six pack, then the notion of not having a six-pack has to be out of the question.
2) Consistency and persistence
Results take time to accomplish.
Success, more than anything else, is the product of habit.
If someone isn’t seeing results yet they seem otherwise committed to their goal, I would wonder how consistent and persistent they have been in their efforts.
You have to literally be working toward your goal every day for an extended period. Unless you are sick, every day must include some effort, not matter how small, toward your goal. Work toward your goal needs to be carried out habitually, if not passionately.
3) Understand the different dimensions of your goal
A) Visualize the goal from different directions.
If you want to make a big change, do this. Write 3 lists successively. The first list should be about the cost and burden if you don’t make the change. Be expansive. The second list should contain all the benefits of making the change which you hope to experience. The final list should be of the actions and efforts you are willing to make in order to make this change. Write as much as possible. Keep these lists close, read them occasionally, consider them in your thoughts when you are pondering different immediate courses of action in your everyday life.
B) Acknowledging the quality of the problem and goal addressed by it
All problems are not created equal.
As far as fitness is considered, a spare kilo or two is not a horrible problem to have. It is the sort of problem that implies a pre-existing state of above average fitness. At the same time, if having a six-pack is the singular goal of your entire life, it would be a rather sad and misbalanced life.
I’ll get into striking a balance later.
For now, I simply want to point out that it’s often useful and inspirational to acknowledge the positive quality of your problem, recognizing how your previous hard work has already yielded results. On the other hand, if your are at the bottom of a long journey, contextualizing and immediate goals into a larger plan can help motivate real strides towards your final destination. So that said….
4) The law of the extra
You’ve raised your bar of personally acceptability, committed to consistency and persistence, and have a crystal clear view of your goal. Now, how do you move from where you are now to where you want to be?
That is where the law of the extra comes in. The law of the extra states that your greatest results will be garnered by the small extra efforts that you are currently not doing. By consistently adding extra effort, you expand the boundary of your capabilities.
You need to ask yourself, ‘what is that little effective extra bit that I’m not doing?’ and incorporate it into your routine. Gradually, over time, through constant effort, consideration, and incorporation of the extra bit more, results will develop.
5) The one thing
If all of that sounds extreme and daunting, fear not. This next mindset for reaching a goal should bring some relief. It is the one thing.
The one thing says that success comes from focusing on one thing for an excessive period of time. Simply put, if your are reaching for five or six big goals at once, it will be difficult to grasp any single one. Instead, you need to consciously plan and dedicate an extended period of time during which you will primarily work on one goal.
6) Create the right circumstances to make your goal happen
So many people immediately fall through on working toward their goals because of they are missing this component. Your behavior is largely shaped by your circumstances. Whatever the goal is, you must eliminate the things in your life which you use to hold yourself back. Create an environment and daily circumstance which aids in your goal.
Before making any big change, clean your place. Eat healthy food while making a change (that should go without saying for trying to get a six pack). If you have people in your life that are negatively impacting your willingness to strive for your goal, cut back from seeing them or explain the situation if they are close to you.
7) Shoot big but focus on small steps
One way to make your goal more viable is to divide it into the smallest tasks possible. Make completing these tasks a daily goal and part of your daily routine. Similarly…
8) Enjoy and excel at the process
In terms of success, the process is the crucial element. The reaching the goal is incidental and merely a confirmation that the process was undertaken conscientiously and consistently.
You must be driven by and focused on the process more than the result. Set aside time to evaluate your own efforts and praise your own minor daily successes.
10) Get past the doldrums
Goals take time to reach. Points of lowered motivation are natural. Nonetheless, it is highly important to get through the doldrums. Even when it feels easier to give up or relax, keep up a proactive routine. Your ability to making breakthroughs toward your goals is directly proportionate to your ability to continue taking action while getting past periods when motivation is lacking.
11) Take massive action
It goes without saying, reaching our goals require action – usually of the sorts which is unfamiliar or presses against our boundaries. The ability to constantly take action is a major key to reaching goals. Start early and go hard to leverage momentum. But it’s also never too late to take action. Taking action toward your goal should itself be a goal..
12) Study the success of others
It order to reduce the time and effort wasted on ineffective methods and trial and error, find out what has worked for other people who have attained goals similar to yours. If you can, find a mentor or surround yourself with people who have already achieved the results you’re hoping for.
13) Contextualize your goals into pillars
A fulfilling life is held up by pillars, different aspects through which our lives are qualified. Typically, these are described as four pillars: health, wealth, love, and happiness. However, I think more could be added to the list, such as purpose and impact, adventure, and continued learning. Moreover the relative importance of each is highly individual.
Typically, our goals fall into one of our pillars. While it’s often necessary to work steadily toward one goal in order to receive maximum results, you don’t want to ignore one or more pillars for too long.
Create a strategic plan to successively focus often different areas of your life for periods of time. You should aim to a develop habits, skills, and reference experiences to be successful in all of the most important areas of your life.
14) Don’t play yourself
At the end of the day, the only thing preventing you from attaining your goals, especially for something as banal as a six-pack, is yourself. You are, after all, that crucial component over which you have the most control.
Step back from yourself to identify and discern which actions, thought patterns, and attitudes are beneficial toward your cause. Only let that which is useful occupy your efforts, mind, and time. Be accountable to yourself for yourself.
The real limits are those you impose. Don’t play yourself with negative thinking and self-talk. Become your own teacher and student instead, and approach your own life with an activistic zeal. What is reaching big goals, after all, but changing the way we relate to ourselves?