Whatever your goals may be, no matter how big or how small, how you approach them will likely define whether or not you actually ever achieve them.

In the era of social media and instant gratification, I’ve seen a massive uptick in posts of people creating a glorified appearance. Whether they are self-proclaiming themselves the #GOAT or posting unrealistic lifestyles #DoITForTheGram among a million other things we’ve all had force-fed to us through our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feeds on a daily basis.

Now as much as I believe confidence is 100% a MAJOR factor in success, I also strongly believe that false confidence exclusively portrayed on social media lacking any actual body of work behind it is just a facade put up to impress all your followers & create an identity that just isn’t real. Why are we wasting our time and energy either creating this image or following along in the charade when we can actually use that time to start our own process towards success or the lifestyle that we desire?

I’ve taken some time and put these five steps together for anyone who is genuinely interested in taking a look from a different perspective at how to attain a lifestyle fully based upon being successful in whatever you may choose. Whether it’s sports, entrepreneurship, being a better student, employee, or parent these steps can easily be carried over to fit the field you are looking to improve at.

Step 1: Honesty

Before we dive down the rabbit hole that is these 5 steps, we need to completely reset our mind back to square one. We need to take a few minutes and have a complete restart before we can move forward with building ourselves to where we want to be! How I choose to do that, is through honesty and self-talk. When I mention honesty here in step 1, I don’t mean the kind that we were all taught as little kids to avoid getting in trouble. What I’m really talking about here is with ourselves. We need to have that uncomfortable conversation in our own heads that for some, maybe significantly more difficult than for others depending on where you are in the process of life and openness to change. When we are alone in our own thoughts & we are looking at ourselves and the decisions we have made it can get a little scary but we need to have this talk. I beg you to be as brutally HONEST with yourself as humanly possible. To get the most out of these steps I need you to really break down the type of person you have been and the decisions you have made up to this point and if they have been produced to the lifestyle you are trying to create. For me personally, I’m a pen & paper type of guy so when I did this with myself I broke out the legal pad shut off the phone and focused on getting it all down on paper. Within an hour or so I had a short novel written down about the bad decisions I had made and the direction my life & my business were headed if I did not make a change. It wasn’t all bad though, I also listed the things I thought I was good at and enjoyed. I then drew out a plan and listed some goals that I wholeheartedly knew were going to be difficult but also attainable if I can limit some of my bad decisions. Once you can truly be honest with yourself about where you currently are and where you want to be in the future you can then begin to lay the groundwork for the future you want.

Step 2: Confidence

Confidence is a weird thing. It’s not a physical attribute but oh man if you have it, it shows. Earlier in this piece, I mentioned false confidence and referenced social media posts glamorizing cheesy quotes and acronyms. When I mention confidence here I’m referring to something much different. A couple of years back when I was learning how to snowboard I stumbled upon a conversation with one of the employees at an outdoors store in upstate NY. At some point in our conversation, it had been brought up that he was a professional snowboarder, and being I was relatively new to the sport I asked him “If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to snowboarding. What would it be?” He responded with “Ride with confidence. In your head picture you are the best snowboarder on the entire mountain, now picture how you would ride, now loosen up and ride just like that.” Now obviously that is easier said than done, this was almost too simple of an answer in theory. But when I tell you that simple tip from a stranger in a snowboarding store in the middle of nowhere improved my ability on the mountain tenfold by the end of the season. And over the years since then, that little tip has been something that I have tested and applied to multiple different aspects of my life whether I was on the mountain, playing a sport, or in my business. If you’re a member at Apex Performance or ever had a heart to heart with me about competing on any level there’s a good chance you’ve heard me say something like, “Play confident” or “Believe you’re the best out there”. The reason I say things like that isn’t because I like to hear myself say corny coaching ques, it’s because in my experience if you approach a game, meeting, or speech and you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities leading up to it, you are finished before you even start. I don’t care how physically prepared you are, if you are not all in on yourself mentally you are going to run into major problems. You need to be loose, relaxed, and prepared. I often hate this term but it fits here, you need to carry yourself with a little swag once in a while. Don’t be arrogant and obnoxious about it but have just enough for you to let yourself be free to compete and expect yourself to win at whatever you do. Confidence may not be physical but if you learn how to properly apply it, the results of it sure will be.

Step 3: Priorities

Now that we have had a chance to be extremely honest with ourselves about who we are and what we want out of life, we have created some confidence in ourselves and our abilities. It’s now time for priorities. It sounds so easy when you think about it, take care of your priorities and you will likely be successful at whatever you are focusing on. Yet why isn’t it? In a world full of distractions it’s easy to start a task and not finish it for days, weeks, months, or even years. I’m going to fill you in on a secret that was told to me by my mentor a few years back. This advice, as basic and simplistic in thought as it may sound, physically changed my life and will change yours too if you can stick to it. My mentor told me “Wake up at 6 am every day, have a list made up of your priorities for what you need to get done for your business that day, make sure you finish all of your daily objectives (priorities).” That simple piece of advice single-handedly skyrocketed the productivity of my business over the course of 6 months. I had fallen into a trap of laziness of being my own boss, I would often only clock into the business when it was time to punch the clock and physically be there. Now for a lot of people reading this you may not be a business owner so you may be thinking, “I have no reason to wake up at 6 am and make a list of objectives to achieve throughout the day.” And you’re not wrong in saying that, but you still should 100% be prioritizing what is important to you and hopefully making an attempt at building a better future for yourself on a daily basis. Hear me out, If you are not prioritizing the things you want, you will never have them. Read that again, because it’s the truth no matter what job you have, the sport you play, or the business you run. IF YOU DO NOT PRIORITIZE THE THINGS YOU WANT, YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THEM! I’m going to introduce you to Darren Hardy’s concept of MVPs made popular by his best selling book “The Compound Effect”. MVPs stand for Most Valuable Priorities. Most Valuable Priorities will be different for everybody if you’re an athlete that may be completing your workout for the day followed by making sure you are following your diet or maybe working on a part of your game that may be lacking in etc. For a parent it may be making sure you are teaching your kids good morals, making sure all of the bills are paid on time, or even looking over your kid’s homework. Everybody is different but the point is we all have them, find yours, and make a habit of doing them every day. Speaking of habits, we are going to make Step 3 a two for one. Habits by definition are “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Habits are a double-edged sword. Hear me out, good habits on one hand are fantastic and excellent tools for your personal growth. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and saving money are all examples of good habits that can drastically improve your physical, mental & financial health. On the other hand, however, bad habits such as poor diet, smoking and frivolously spending money can be extremely destructive habits that can not only cause damage to your own personal health but can send you spiraling in the wrong direction further and further away from your goals. For anyone who enjoys a good read or has some time and is interested in taking a deeper dive into habit-forming I highly recommend giving James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” a full read. It gives a tremendously in-depth look into how to develop good habits and rid yourself of bad ones.

Step 4: Accountability

Ahh, finally. We have arrived at the step that the vast majority of people out there want to avoid more than the plague. Accountability, what is accountability? “An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility.” In a world where everyone has something or someone to blame for the position they are in, you need to learn to believe that to some capacity YOU are likely the one responsible whether you want to admit it or not! And the sooner you can learn to own up to it and take responsibility for it the sooner you can learn to not make the same mistakes again in the future. Winners take ownership in every situation. Whether you’re a kid fighting for a spot on your high school team or an adult looking to shed a few pounds & live a healthier lifestyle. Take away the laundry list of excuses that are holding you back. Take a deep breath and think for a second, what did you do today to improve your position? Did you wholeheartedly put in the effort and lay the groundwork to get the results out of life that you want? Did you leave it all out there? Did you exercise every spec of ability that you have towards getting a little bit better?

For that high school kid, what did you do in the offseason? Did you play your sport year-round? Did you evaluate your strengths & weaknesses? Were you working on improving certain skill sets specific to your sport that is needed to become a better player?

For that person trying to drop a few lbs, what are your eating habits? Did you monitor your calories taken in? Did you go out and move today or did you wake up, go to work at 9-5 then leave to come home, have dinner and go to sleep? Why didn’t you make time to go on a walk, ride a bike, strength train? Stop blaming your failures and the obstacles of your life on other things or other people. Yes, some people are born better athletes than others. Yes, some people are born with better metabolisms than others. Yes, some people are born smarter or wealthier or stronger than you. But you can’t control that, so why waste your time and energy complaining or making excuses about why you don’t have those things. What you can control, however, is your accountability to the facts. OWN your failures, OWN your deficiencies. Wear them on your sleeve, if YOU want to get better at them take it upon yourself to do the little things necessary to improve on them every day. If YOU choose to accept those failures and deficiencies and allow them to define who you are that’s fine too, but understand that is 100% on YOU and no one else. One of my favorite quotes in relation to this mindset is by Randy Pausch “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”. You’re in control of your life, you’re in control of the decisions you make, no one else.

Step 5: Self Discipline

This to me, is probably the most difficult of all the steps. If you can make it hear & dominate this step to the fullest, you will undoubtedly become successful at whatever you want in life. I would love to tell you that self-discipline is easy, that it won’t take much practice or commitment on your end. But that would be a lie, and I didn’t take all this time writing out these steps just to lie to you on the home stretch. Self-discipline will make or break this process, If you are honest with yourself for who you are & what you want If you build confidence within yourself if you prioritize your goals and make a habit of attacking them everyday & if you take accountability for YOUR actions than you are on the right track towards the successes that you want out of life. You now need to have the self-discipline to live this every day. We are humans, we are imperfect creatures. As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow morning, there will be days where you aren’t feeling your best, you’re tired, you’re hungry, you don’t see the progress you’ve made & you feel you are wasting your time. You need to do everything in your power to get full control of yourself both mind and body and WILL yourself to stay the course. It’s easy to stop pushing forward when you’ve hit an obstacle, it’s easy to stray from your diet when you’re hungry, it’s easy to skip a workout to go party with your friends on a Friday night. But if you’ve stuck around this long, you’re probably not interested in the easy way. You are interested in bettering yourself in whatever it is you do. We will see hardships along this path and we will fail numerous times that I promise you. But will you portray the self-discipline & fortitude to continue on and stick with the process? This game of life and success is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t waste all of your energy on the first lap, practice consistency & longevity in self-discipline. Practice when it’s fun, practice when it’s boring. Find something you love, and don’t ever stop chasing it. If you can do that, you will find the success you’re looking for. I will leave you with this Vince Lombardi quote to drive it home. “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”

Thank you to anyone who stuck around with me, I hope these steps help you as much as they have helped me and you’re able to apply them to your own life.
If you enjoyed this read please check out our website Apexperformancegym.com where you can keep up with more of our content on both fitness and goal achievement!