I took off my shirt and stood in front of the mirror. At 19 years old, I was overweight and out of shape. I was sick of being chubby and soft. I was sick of feeling tired all the time. I was sick of having no confidence.
Truth be told, my whole life was a mess.
And I was sick of it.
I was sick of what I’d let myself become. The worst part? I had done this to myself.
I, and I alone, was responsible for what I’d let myself become.
I had no one to blame but myself.
As I stood there in front of my mirror and looked at my soft, pudgy body, I felt disgusted with myself. I had man-boobs… man-boobs!
It was a painful feeling.
But something happened for me in that moment, something shifted…
I looked at myself and said out loud, “Enough is ENOUGH! It’s time to change!”
All my emotions welled-up inside me, and I kept yelling, “Enough is enough!”
I was ready to take on the challenge of changing my physical state.
That night, I decided to change.
I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be painful.
But in that moment, I also knew that I could do it.
And eventually, I did.
17 years later, I still remember that moment, because it taught me that I was capable of doing anything—but it was up to me.
Now, whenever I’m faced with challenges, trials and tribulations, rather than complaining about them or allowing the victim-mentality to take hold, I choose to believe this challenge is here to help me become better.
I choose to believe there’s a better version of me on the other side of every challenge I’m forced to deal with.
And once I decide to use my problem as an opportunity to learn what I’m made of—rather than an opportunity to complain and wallow in my own misery—a powerful, two-part shift occurs:
1: The first part of this shift is mental: on the other side of this problem, there’s a better version of me. This first mental shift then leads to shift number two…
2: The second part of this shift is physical, which says: ‘Now that I know this problem/pain/challenge is an opportunity to grow, what are the ACTIONS I need to take to make that growth happen?’
It takes the same amount of energy to stress yourself out thinking about your problems as it does to make a definite decision to DO something about them…
Deciding to fix your problems will move you towards an eventual solution—if you take action.
But thinking about why you don’t have what you want, or wondering why bad things “always” happen to you, will get you nowhere but backward.
Problems are a good thing.
Solving them makes you happy.
How to create lasting change in life
1: Think about a major change you want to make.
Or a problem you want to solve. Something that’s stressing you out; something difficult and challenging. Maybe you took a big financial hit recently. Maybe working from home for a year has led to more snack breaks, which has led to a “fuller belly.”
2: Be brutally honest about it.
Don’t say, “I’m feeling the burdens of financial strain.” If you’re suffering financially, admit it to yourself and say so! Don’t say, “I’m looking a tad bit out of shape.” Say, “I AM FAT!” Stand in front of the mirror, strip off your clothes and look at yourself—how does it make you feel? If you look like a sloth and feel like a sloth, then admit you’re a sloth! Make it emotional and painful enough that it will inspire you to change.
3: Make the shift from victim to hero.
Once you’ve faced the reality of your situation, it’s crucial you don’t allow yourself to become a victim of your circumstances. Reality is reality! But you can change your reality if you choose to DO something about it. Take responsibility. YOU are in charge. YOU are powerful. For example: if you’ve admitted to yourself that you’ve allowed yourself to get fat, don’t sit there and say, “it’s a lost cause,” and eat more cookies. Stand up and tell yourself that YOU are in charge and the time to change is NOW. Envision yourself working hard and turning things around. Envision yourself getting into better and better shape. Envision yourself in peak physical condition. Now, you have a painful reason to change—which pushes you away from your current state, and a positive reason to change—which pulls you in the direction you want to go.
4: Make a plan, work the plan.
You’ve got your problem, and you’ve been brutally honest about it. You’ve shifted your mental paradigm from “I’m a victim” to “I’m the hero”. And you’ve envisioned yourself working hard and achieving success. Now, it’s time to take action. What’s the result you’re aiming for? If your problem were solved, what would it look like? Answer these questions and you’ll end up with a goal. Once you’ve got your goal, it’s time to make a plan and begin taking action.
When I was overweight and unhealthy, I set a goal to get down to a single-digit body fat percentage.
I was a chubby mess when I set that goal. I didn’t know how I’d get there.
But I had a target, which meant I could start.
To achieve that goal, I had to start an exercise habit, I had to clean up my diet, and I had to stop spending time with people who didn’t support my vision.
It took a lot of time and a ton of hard work, but I took small steps daily and, one day, I looked at myself in the mirror and I no longer saw rolls—I saw muscles…
The version of myself I envisioned in my mind 12 months earlier was no longer in my mind, it was my reality.
It was a pivotal and powerful moment.
In that moment, I realized I could change practically anything in my life: I went from unhealthy to peak health; from bankrupt to millionaire; from doing work I hated to meaningful work that fulfills me.
And you can do it too.
Now, what’s one thing you can do right now to make your life a smashing success? Decide and get going.