Successful people make winning a habit. That doesn’t mean that every single day of their lives is spent competing at the highest level of their profession and coming out the sole winner. Instead, every day of their lives they choose to focus on doing the little things, accomplishing one or two daily goals, no matter how small, and capitalizing on that success to make even greater achievements throughout other areas of their lives. Simply put, they choose to win every day.
However, you don’t want to get into this mindset of winning every day. Besides being potentially dangerous, the probability of you winning every day is very low and you’ll most likely spiral into a feeling of depression because you’ve become so familiar with failure at every attempt.
A better strategy is to break your larger goals down into bite-sized realistic goals.
If you’re a salesperson, try cold calling one new client every day. If you’re trying to lose weight, then start making it a habit to take the stairs instead of the elevator every day on your way to work. If you’re trying to improve a specific Met-Con time start by doing one more sets unbroken.
By doing the little things every day and seeing them as individual goal markers along the route towards success, you train your mind to recognize victory and it reinforces the positive feeling that comes along with winning. This way, you condition your brain to win every day.
In his 2014 speech to the graduates of the University of Texas, Admiral McRaven imparted very simplistic wisdom to his audience: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
How could something so seemingly insignificant as laying some blankets across a mattress and fluffing a few pillows have such a compounding effect on the entire world?
By making your bed each morning you start the day off with a win. You train your brain to start each day feeling accomplished and you seek out greater opportunities to continue this pattern of success. When you’re lying in bed at night, reflecting on the chaotic day you’ve had and you’re feeling like it was completely wasted, you’ll remember that even though everything else might have gone awry, you accomplished your daily task and you’ll do it again tomorrow.
In Tribe of Mentors, New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferris looked for inspiration during a tough point in his life not from within, but utilizing his network of highly successful individuals to build pages and pages worth of invaluable information and resources to help readers achieve their goals.
You can take a similar approach when you find yourself struggling to capture motivation in the monotony of life. You can use Tim’s questions or even better, create a series of questions that are personal to your journey and reach out to your friends, family, coworkers, people you follow on social media, or anyone who inspires you to live a better life. You might be surprised who takes the time to connect with you and even more surprised by the quality of responses you receive.
The Navy SEAL’s preliminary training known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training is known for being the military’s hardest training course with nearly 75% attrition rate. During this 24-week training course, it is often said that what gets most candidates at BUD/S to DOR or Drop-On-Request isn’t a specific event or even the frigid Pacific Ocean water, it’s the daily grind.
This same logic can be applied to achieving long-term goals. When it seems like the proverbial finish line is so far away that you can’t drill the same move for the thousandth time or do the same workout again that you just feel like quitting, how can you keep pushing? By switching it up.
If your typical week is filled with heavy lifting and high intensity conditioning, try taking a week off and going for a hike, a bike ride, an open ocean swim, paddle boarding, kayaking, or any low impact activity outdoors. Spending time outside, working out or not, has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.
Sometimes the path isn’t clear, sometimes we feel like no matter how hard you train we will never lift that weight, master that skill, or shed those last few pounds; but during these most trying times you need to remember that success doesn’t come overnight and it is earned by those who continually punch their time card and work hard every day despite the outcome.
The journey before you is yours alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enlist those around you to provide support when you feel lost. Sometimes in life, you need to develop a plan and try to stick to it. Things may fall apart, and you may feel like tossing in the towel, but you have to trust your gut, make the best decision with the information you have, and move on without looking back.
So, what do you do when all your hard work seems like it’s never going to pay off? Do you fall and collapse under the pressure or do you bite down on your mouthpiece, step back into the ring, and persevere in the face of adversity?
- Even the best plans will not be successful every day. This is not a reason to throw in the towel.
- The most successful people have a tribe of other successful people around them.
- Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to take action.