2 Mammoth Fitness Character Traits That Will Guarantee Your Success in Anything

fitness character traits
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“Follow this plan and incinerate the fat in 4 weeks.”

“Go on my 15 day plan and buy these supplements and watch the weight slide off effortlessly.”

“Do this one trick and quit your job and drink mojitos on the beach.”

Do this plan. Do that plan. Actually, do this one now.

One person tells you to do this and the other tells you to do another thing—next thing you know, you’re confused and decide not to do anything.

But, before you get weighed down by countless fitness decisions, diets, and training plans—make sure you’re approaching the situation from a sustainable standpoint.

In life, we need to take chances. Show some intestinal fortitude to stick with our plans, even when progress is slow, or when we don’t have a cheerleading squad telling us we’re doing good, or when people are telling us to quit.

Before wasting money on the latest ‘business secret’ or ‘fitness secret’, you need to become systemic and relentless toward your goals.

Van Gogh was obsessed and relentless with his craft even without notoriety and a flock of followers. Jackson Pollock was relentless about his craft, which over time led to him producing better work. Michael Jackson didn’t become who he was without developing a systemic and relentless approach toward his music.

No matter if you’re chasing a fitness goal, writing goal, business goal, relationship goal, or anything—you must be systemic and relentless with your approach.

What is being systemic and relentless about

Being relentless and systemic with our approaches to fitness and life begins in our heads. Becoming relentless and systemic leads to a more efficient life and higher probability that we’ll accomplish whatever we set out to accomplish.

Becoming Systemic

What you do on a regular basis is the foundation of your systemic approach.

If you’re filling up your daily tank with junk information and food—then expect your life to be a manifestation of that intake.

Whatever you do, your systems bread and butter is run by consistency. Small daily progress adds up to major results. Improving 1% a day leads to a total reinvention of yourself in 6 months. One page a day adds up to a book at the end of the year. 1Lb a week delivers a hot and sizzling body in 6 months.

Being systemic is about being in the present moment, which is ultimately all that we can control. Being systemic is focusing on winning one day at a time.

You’re aware of the big goal in mind, but you understand that it won’t come to fruition in one graceful sweeping motion.

Becoming Relentless

Being relentless is about displaying persistence.

Going after anything of worth stretches us outside our comfort zones, which requires us to become resilient, equip some steel fortitude, and display some determination.

Your workouts will be challenging. Temptation will be all around you as you watch your friends knock back some beers, feast on a platter of wings with some fries on the side. You’ll feel distractions when trying to create meaningful work and feel the resistances tugging you. You will curse and be flustered with your goals at times. After all, fitness is tough and creating a remarkable life isn’t a piece of cake.

When approaching your goals, don’t treat them like someone who goes on dates with people that they can only tolerate and feel ‘meh’ with.

How bad do you want it? Are you in this for the long haul or just hanging around pretending until the shit hits the fan?

Being relentless is not accepting “no” for an answer when someone tells us something is impossible or to be realistic. Being relentless is not using genetics, work, or friends for excuses toward our fitness goals.

Once you are relentless, you develop a sense of invincibility with your goals.

fitness character traits
Become resilient & you'll be able to borrow an invincibility star from Mario..- Photo Credit: WizPip via Compfight cc

No matter what happens, you’re still going to be around—fighting and going after your dreams and goals no matter the challenges presented along the way. No one will stop you and giving up isn’t an option.

How to be systemic and relentless during a setback

Setbacks are bound to happen. Unexpected challenges will arise. You might even question yourself at times and ponder are you making the right decisions. While we can’t control the uncontrollable, we can control our responses and approach to those situations.

Here are 4 steps I use to bounce back from a temporary setback.

1. Face the reality of the situation- Fitness goals, writing goals, business deals, and even relationships are tough as hell at times, but facing ‘Captain Truth’ is necessary.

Without addressing the elephant in the room, you can’t move forward with your goals. Before addressing my self-worth issues, I couldn’t move forward in business, creating, nor with my relationships.

Trying to place temporary solutions on the matter only makes the situation worse. Trying to cover food guilt issues by never eating out with friends isn’t solving the core issue.

Face the truth and it shall set you free.

2. Keep Working- Whether it’s a failed business. Maxed out credit cards (I know this story). A huge setback with your fitness goals. A creative project that plummeted down the toilet. Accept the pain and whatever feeling that it’s currently causing you.

Just as clouds pass by during our days—this pain and terrible feeling passes by eventually. It might not be a day, or a week, but instead a month. But, know that this moment eventually goes away. This moment won’t define you for the rest of your life.

Let it hurt for a hour or two, but then get back to work doing something—anything!

Start something new, even if it’s just an idea in a journal, a new food, or a new 15 minute workout to bring back the good vibes.

3. Take breather– After you’ve gotten yourself back in the positive direction by taking a small action—go do something not relateable to whatever was causing you grief or pain.

You could do a myriad of things such as: go out and dance (my favorite), go on a date, read a book, take yourself on an artist’s adventurer’s date, meet friends—just get away from ground zero.

4. Have inspiration nearby- Just as a simple hello can help turn someone’s day around, a small piece of positivity can work wonders as well.

Have some inspiring quotes that hang on your fridge. Have a friend whom you can confide in when times are rough. Have your ‘why’ somewhere easily visible to remind you why you’re trying to accomplish this goal of yours.

Why you can’t rely on external metrics to drive you to success, you can seek external help when you need a pick me up. Everyone at one point or another, needs someone or something to lean on.

The Wishing Game: A Simple Game With no ‘Happily Ever After’

The Wishing Game A Simple Game With no 'Happily Ever After'- the wishing game“I wish I had a better job.”

“I wish I was leaner.”

“I wish I was a ladies man.”

“I wish I had more money.”

“I wish I could live somewhere else”.

“I wish I was a better writer.”

“I wish I was more creative.”

“I wish my business was as profitable as ‘such & such’.”

“I wish I was as popular as ‘such & such’.”

“I wish I had more followers.”

At some point in time throughout my life, those exact words have blurted out of my mouth. Each time I’ve uttered such things, nothing manifested besides moments of self-defeatism, sadness, resentment towards others, and furthering myself from where I wanted to be in life.

At some point in time, you most likely have blurted out the phrase ‘I wish’. You most likely noticed that wishing didn’t propel you any closer to your goals than you initially were.

While on a date to go see ‘Into the Woods’ (an excellent musical I must admit), I was reminded that wishes don’t always equate to being ‘happily ever after’.

Each character in the movie is wishing for a different outcome. Once it arrives, each character expects everything to magically change for the better.

I suffered from this symptom for the majority of my life. However, each character and myself realizes that ‘happily ever after’ isn’t so happy after all. In fact, each character faces the consequences for their wishes and actions.

Cinderella realizes the royal life isn’t all its cracked up to be along with her Prince Charming not being so charming after all. The baker is worried that he’ll be a crappy father to his newborn, just as his father was. He also has to face the repercussions of handing over his ‘magic beans’ to Jack. Rapunzel is terrified of the outside world. The witch, with her reacquired youth realizes that she has lost most of her powers.

I thought life was going to magically change once I added 20 pounds of muscle—nothing happened besides needing to go shopping (self-doubt was still with me).

I thought life would change once I got to 10% bodyfat—it didn’t, I just developed some false bravado.

I thought life would change once I started to get published, it didn’t, I just wanted more & more (self-doubt was with me).

What does all of this mean?

These were all external scenarios. These goals allowed me to build up extra layers, but inside is where we grow as a person. Inside is where the healing takes place. Inside is where the mindset reshapes.

Those goals of losing fat, building muscle, writing a book, and starting a business can be life changing. But, often times, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to our desires. While I wanted to lose fat, what I really wanted was to feel more confident within my own skin and feel like I was someone.

Perhaps you want to lose fat or reach some arbitrary number. That number most likely isn’t what will change your life. What will change your life is the feeling of accomplishing that goal and the confidence in yourself.

A number is just a number.

numbers-the wishing game
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A number won’t change us, but the process of reaching that number can change us if we are aligned with the correct intent.

When it comes to stating what we want, it’s imperative we make these declarations from a place of intent that comes from within and isn’t influenced by external forces.

Sometimes our wishes are not exactly ours, but it’s our ego telling us what we should want. It’s letting outside forces such as our peers, media, and conventional life expectations dictate to us. Letting our ego & external influences be the basis of our decision making isn’t ideal nor will it allow us to ever experience true happiness and be our unapologetic authentic selves.

Getting your wishes granted doesn’t lead to all your problems in life being smoothed over. Those rough patches are still present and the demons are still lurking.

Just because I was physically fit doesn’t mean that my self-confidence followed suit. Just because I was published doesn’t mean my self-doubt was erased. Your promotion, number of internet friends, nor clothes won’t heal your confidence or whatever else is brewing inside.

 The only way to heal a wound is to directly address it. There is no avoiding it or patching it up.

The wishing game can be fun and motivating, but be mindful of where those hopes and dreams are stemming from.

Are those wishes what you really want? Are you making those wishes in hopes of concealing a deeper wound? Are these wishes ego driven and stem from a place to prove a point to others or keep up with others? Are these wishes your families, friends, significant others, or influenced by the media?

Take some time to think and ask yourself, “Is this what I really want and why do I want this?”

Are your recent wishes what you truly want or have you been wishing what you think you’re supposed to be wanting? If the latter, what are you going to do about it?

The Seismic Effect of Establishing Fitness Rituals

To make real change, you have to be well anchored – not only in the belief that it can be done, but also in some pretty real ways about who you are and what you can do.- Twyla Tharp

fitness rituals

American dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp, author of The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life‘ states that “creativity is about establishing habits & rituals, not some god given ability that only a select few can have”. For years, she has used the same ritual to start her day and increase productivity.

 “I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st Street and First Avenue, where I work out for two hours.

The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual”

Establishing rituals isn’t just limited to creatives. Your fitness ritual isn’t performing the sets of squats or walking into the gym—it’s the behavior of starting the entire process of going to the gym—the small, overlooked, but important action at the beginning.

What’s a ritual & why is it important?

A ritual is a habit that is triggered by a specific behavior you perform. Establishing a ritual eliminates the option of you deciding if you want to do this activity or not.

A ritual “is a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it—it makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about” states Tharp.

Tharp states “It’s vital to establish some rituals—automatic but decisive patterns of behavior—at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, chickening out, giving up, or going the wrong way.”

Just as creatives need a ritual to keep themselves align during their work sessions, it’s vital that you develop a ritual to ignite your exercise habit. There will be days where you don’t feel like working out nor cooking healthy meals.

As Tharp states “First steps are hard; it’s no one’s idea of fun to wake up in the dark every day and haul one’s tired body to the gym. Like everyone, I have days when I wake up, stare at the ceiling, and ask myself, Gee, do I feel like working out today? But the quasi-religious power I attach to this ritual keeps me from rolling over and going back to sleep.”

We know rituals are powerful, but how can we go about the process of establishing a ritual from scratch. Let’s take a step by step run through of establishing an initial ritual.

The process of establishing successful rituals

“The most productive artists I know have a plan in mind when they get down to work. They know what they want to accomplish, how to do it, and what to do if the process falls off track. But there’s a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work.”- Twyla Tharp

At the beginning, your main objective is to get going, no matter how ugly or awkward it might feel. Develop a simple plan and then go from there in terms of making adjustments. Something is better than nothing and starting is everything. Here’s the ‘Nuts’N’bolts‘ method to starting a ritual.

1. Start small and lower your expectations
The worse thing you can do is overload yourself with steps and expectations of an outcome.

Instead, make these beginning steps easy. These steps should almost feel effortless. Be easy on yourself for any slip ups. Decide where you are in life with your habits and start from there. Run away from the all or none mentality.

Aim for small day to day victories. Small actions add up to become large wins. These small actions build daily momentum, allowing you to carry momentum onto the next phase of your rituals. Confidence comes from doing.

fitness rituals
One step at a time.-Photo Credit: wecand via Compfight cc

2. Develop a process for your desired behavior
The tougher the barrier of entry, the less likely you are to stick with it for the long term. The tougher the barrier, the more reliance on willpower (a brief and fleeting asset).

Make the process of entry into your ritual simple and concise by limiting the process to 3-4 steps for activation.

3. Schedule and commit to your ritual to condition your behavior
Anything of importance to your life needs to be scheduled into your calendar. If you ‘play your goals by ear’, they’ll never become a priority and you’ll consistently land mediocre results. The high achievers in fitness, art, and music make their work a priority in their lives.

If you don’t make yourself a priority, don’t expect anyone else to make you one.

4. Know what’s your signal to trigger your ritual
When does your ritual begin? What’s the ignition to you getting into your activity?

For Twyla, the ritual was the cab itself—telling the driver where to go. For me, I set my timer, have a bottle of water, coffee or tea, & hit play on my playlist—now I automatically understand its time to write.

A ritual for waking up in the morning would be the ringing of your alarm clock. Deciding what your ritual for exercising, sleeping, reading, cooking, or anything else is going to be is entirely up to you.

5. Experiment with different methods of preparation until you find the magic combination
First and foremost, have fun with the process. There’ll be some bumps along the road at the beginning when establishing a ritual. You’ll only find the perfect steps by doing and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Let’s take a look at some example rituals

I highly recommend that you experiment with your own methods to find the perfect combination.

Working out– The best way to set up an exercise ritual is to place it around a time with the least amount of resistances. Try setting up a fitness ritual first thing in the morning before any work related material is given attention. Alternatively, pack your gym clothes and exercise after work or during your lunch break. If you’re lifting in the afternoon or evening, place it on your schedule so nothing sneaks it’s way onto that specific time slot.

Sleeping– Start a preparation ritual 60-90 minutes out. Here are a couple ideas…
● Eliminate caffeine hours earlier (Ex. Zero consumption after 2pm)
● shut off the PC an minimum of 1 hour before bedtime. (I recommend this software(flux) for nights this isn’t possible)
● No tv or playing on the phone 60 minutes before bedtime
● Keep your room dark as possible
● Eliminate as many electronics from your room as possible
● Meditate for 10-15 minutes
● Have sex
● Invest in tinted shades if you have to use electronics at night

Waking up– Besides having the alarm clock, try these options.
● Have a morning wake up song (I wake up each morning and dance for 5-15 min before doing anything else. Here's a couple favorites, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Skipworth & Turner (listen to extended play if you really want to wake up, Jamiroquai)
● Do a couple of pushups and squats to wake yourself up

Don’t overload yourself and attempt an overhaul on all facets of your life. Choose one area and focus on it for a bit until it becomes easy peasy.

What’s an area of your life that could benefit from establishing a ritual?