1. Find your inner drive. External motivators are nice. There are dozens of sites dedicated to famous quotes, inspirational statements, proverbs, and pictures/videos that can keep you driven for a little while; but ultimately, the seed has to be planted deeply within if there's a remote chance for your long-term success on the competition stage or in the fitness industry. This has to be something you want badly! How bad? More today than yesterday; and even more so tomorrow than today. With each passing day your desire has to grow. Everyday you live this lifestyle should be one more day of wanting to squeeze more out of what you are given and what you've earned.
People post encouragements to me all the time on facebook. Truth is, I don't need it. Do I have bad days? Absolutely. I have bad days and worse days. But the desire to succeed is embedded at such a depth it would take a whole lot more than a few bad workouts to unplug me. It's not about how many times you get knocked down. In fact, I probably get knocked down more often because I manage to get back up faster than the next guy. I know what makes me tick and the life I want. It's all internalized. Reading quotes does get me hyped up, no doubt. But more so than anything else, the willpower to thrive under any condition is something I look for inside. Why? Because that's exactly where I found it the first time I needed it.
2. Don't let anger drive you. Put simply: don't live your life trying to prove other people wrong; live life to prove you right. Not saying that proving other people wrong isn't a strong enough force to push you to a win; just stating the opinion that doing so brings too much negative energy to the surface. I have always believed that in time, I would become a winner. I don't remember who said I wouldn't be, there were probably too many to count. I was just deaf to those words because the only voice I needed to hear was/is/will always be the one inside my head. Nothing satisfies me more than the knowledge that I did something I said I would do.
3. Swing for the fences, always. Life has its upswings and down swings. What shouldn't change is your outlook on it. Upswing, downswing, you better believe I'm swinging. Life has a way of delivering curve balls when you are aiming straight, fastballs when you are ready to slow down the pace, and change-ups when you are looking for some consistency. Doesn't matter. The pitches might be different but dammit, I've only got one kind of swing: the big kind. Don't get out of the way. Stand your ground and swing away. Life might not be consistent, but you can be. Do it for long enough and you'll be justly rewarded.
4. Compromises are good, but sacrifices are better. When you compromise, you give up a portion of something important to find a middle ground. Works well for most things in life, but ultimately, when that just won't cut it, it's time to sacrifice. Sacrifice is giving up something important in it's entirety for a CHANCE to achieve something important. As is with all things, nothing is guaranteed. Still, you have to be willing to make that trade at times.
5. Carefully devise a plan-of-attack for every objective, and then....STICK TO IT. Most people have good plans, and most good plans can be used to accomplish great things. The problem is that quite often, people abandon these plans way too early. Consistency over time is what delivers the best results, so it always boggles my mind to see people change course as soon as they perceive difficulty or stagnation. Is change bad? No, fine-tuning is important for any plan-of-attack because you can't possibly foresee all the twists and turns from the get-go. Change isn't bad. Abandonment is. Some people stick to a diet and lose 10lbs but shut down the entire operation when the next 10 don't come fast enough. Some people train for 10 weeks with great progress and then hear a whisper in their ears and inexplicably want to make wholesale changes to their regimen. Will there be times when a call has to be made for a drastic change in direction in your pursuit? Absolutely. And I hope when the time comes, you are strong enough mentally to make that call. I'm simply saying this: give whatever you planned a real shot to succeed before doubt overwhelms all rational thinking. Believe me, if you thought about it long enough beforehand, you probably came up with a pretty damn good blueprint to work with.
Written by John Lee
Athletic Edge Nutrition Sponsored Athlete
Winner of 2011 Europa Supershow in Dallas Men's Physique Tall Class
Next competition: 2011 NPC Nationals on Nov 18th, 2011.