I once heard a motivational speaker say, “You are going to fail your way to success.” Kind of intimidating if you think about it, right? Hearing that might discourage some from even trying to chase their dreams. However, if your mind isn’t conditioned to deal with disappointment to some degree, then it probably is not ready for the amount of trial and error needed to become successful. The reality is failure is not enjoyable, under any circumstances. Failure can be a great teacher, but experiencing it just plain sucks! We need to be able to minimize our fear of failure when chasing our goals and dreams.
The process of achieving success is filled with numerous challenges. It is easy to have a dream. Making it happen is a different story. Simply wanting is not enough. EVERYONE WANTS! What are you willing to do to get what you want? What are you willing to devote or give up in order to chase your goals or dreams? We must focus more on our process/plan toward our dreams as opposed to the dream itself. We must use the progress we make in our process as motivation. Progress indicates positive, consistent actions toward an expectation or goal. We have a much greater likelihood of sticking with our goals if we are focused more on the consistent actions to reach a goal. Consistency in our actions leads to growing confidence, which strengthens our resolve in progressing toward our goals. To be successful, we must consistently make progress. Success doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time. There will be trial and error along with disappointments. The road may have detours and delays, but you can reach your destination. Achieving success is a process and not an event!
Talk is cheap! It really is. Think about it. It costs you nothing. It takes extremely minimal effort to do. Talk is important for communication, but the communication must be followed by action. How many things can be accomplished by simply saying that you are going to accomplish them? None come to mind off right off the bat. What good is it to state you are committing to a healthier lifestyle if you do not exercise or eat healthier? What good does it do to state you need to quit _________ (smoking, drinking, spending money, etc.) if you choose not to change? We live in a world that respects action. Talk with no action undermines credibility. What follows is 3 strategies to make sure your “talk” is not cheap!
- Make yourself accountable: Utilize formal and informal support systems if you struggle with being accountable. When we know we have someone to answer to, it helps us to fight through those times where our motivations may be a little low. Your support systems can include family, friends, groups, and social media networks. Documenting your actions or progress toward a certain goal on your social media account is an excellent way of staying encouraged and accountable. Those who comment will likely be very supportive of you. Plus you may unknowingly inspire someone. Allow it to be a positive tool.
- Change your people, places, or things: Granted, in many cases, it is hard to make wholesale changes due to certain circumstances in our lives. However, we typically are able to change an aspect of our lives to some degree. For example, a person who is dieting may drink water or tea instead of soda. A person who is quitting smoking or drinking may avoid bars. The downside to this is that when we make changes to our people, places, and/or things, in many cases, those closest to us are the least supportive or understanding.
- Have a plan: You want to have a plan in place for change. Your plan is your foundation. It will likely need to be adjusted; that is ok. Plans provide a vision.
Doing these 3 things will ensure that you are more than just talk!
I was watching a video of motivational speaker Les Brown and he instructed the audience to say “Good things are supposed to happen to me.” He recommended that the audience say this to themselves daily. Brown then went on to say we tend to expect bad things to happen to us, so we need to affirm the positive. Affirmations are designed to change our subconscious thoughts by constantly referring to them in our conscious minds. Our subconscious impacts us in ways we are unaware of. We tend to have thought patterns and experiences in our past which, if we are not aware, can undermine our conscious efforts to do better in the present.
So what happens when we start to internalize the message that “good things are supposed to happen to me?” Does that mean everything we pursue will happen? Of course not! Does it mean that you won’t be disappointed? Absolutely not! This message is rooted in your faith in a higher power (God) and yourself. People who believe good things will happen for them will start to become more perceptive of opportunities. They will tend to attract those good people who genuinely can help them.
There is a flip side to this type of thinking. If you truly believe good things are supposed to happen for you, then you will believe that if something doesn’t happen, it just wasn’t a good thing. I’ll keep it real with you, sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow if you are in a desperate situation or have tried repeatedly at something. It’s ok to feel disappointment, but we can’t let it keep us down. In this day and age, we have many opportunities to overcome our circumstances and do well. It can happen when we exude a faithful, positive mindset, with efforts to match.
A well known verse in the Bible (Proverbs 27:17) states “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Whether you are a believer or not, one cannot deny the power, meaning, and truth behind this verse. An iron blade is best shaped and sharpened with another tool made of iron; most substances do not have the strength or durability to modify iron.
In applying this principle to our lives, it is important for us to surround ourselves with people who are likeminded. The iron in our lives can be those that have similar goals and can provide genuine encouragement and support with honesty. If we expect to reach our potential, we must surround ourselves with others who are striving to meet their potential. Those people will relate to what we are going through and are likely to provide needed advice and encouragement. We typically seek to be successful in a number of areas which are interrelated: relationships, financial security, spiritual growth, and work, to name a few. Striving for success in these areas is a complicated and difficult process with many potholes, stops, and detours along the way.
No one achieves great success without the support of others. We all need and depend on others to provide support in some form or fashion. Support can be providing encouragement, advice, time, or financial support. The bottom line is that it is extremely important to surround ourselves with people who have similar visions and ideals like us. There is mutual benefit when we do this. Embracing the meaning “iron sharpens iron” is key in reaching our goals!
A common resolution at this time of year is to lose weight. It may be for that summer vacation, that summer wedding, or for health reasons. While we know that our outward appearance is not what makes a person, it has a huge impact on our self-esteem. It is difficult to be at your best for yourself and others if you are unhappy about how you look. When you feel look good, you are more likely to feel good.
There are many strategies to help people lose weight; exercise plans, supplements, special diets, personal trainers, etc. Those strategies can all be very effective. However, they can also be costly too. Guess what? It doesn’t have to be. No matter the strategy, the formula for losing weight is actually pretty simple. You simply need to create a consistent calorie deficit. In other words, you need to burn more calories than you are taking in. That’s it. For example, let’s say you are taking in about 3000 calories per day before you decided to commit to an exercise program. You may decide to eliminate 500 calories from you diet by eliminating a couple of sodas each day. Then you would also burn 250-500 calories by doing moderate exercise 3-5 days a week. With just that simple formula, one would be on the way to losing approximately 2 lbs a week, maybe more. A combination of moderate exercise and a reduction in calories will melt pounds away. While there is nothing wrong with special diets, personal trainers, etc., you can do it without them. You likely have everything you need to have the body and health you so desire! You can win by losing!