Take a minute to step back and look at your life. Look at all the things you’ve overcome. Look at your current struggles. Look at who you once were. And look at who you want to be.
After you’ve done all that imagine a bottle of water. Alone water has no form. Rather it’s flexible and takes the shape of whatever container holds it. When you pour the water from a bottle to a glass it changes form. People are the same way.
Humans have no default form. We’re capable of adapting to almost anything, but we never adapt to things unless our environments force us to.
The reason so many people are lazy losers is because our genetics only care that we survive, not that we thrive. Since there’s no real consequences to being lazy it’s most people’s default response because it’s effortless and requires no adaption.
Another problem is because things like food, and mating opportunities were once scarce, our natural reward system has trained us to get as much of them as possible while the “getting is good.”
Everyone knows cookies are unhealthy, but most people still eat them because they provide an instant dopamine hit which we perceive as “being yummy.”
The problem with the modern world, however, is that the getting is always good. We never have to worry about shortages of food or mating opportunities.
A quick trip to the grocery store can provide you with enough sweets for a week and because of internet porn (which your brains perceives to be real) you can see more hot chicks (or guys) in 5 minutes than your ancestors would see in several lifetimes.
When you put yourself in an environment where your survival needs are so easily met, you have no reason to change. Why would your brain want to meet real girls (or guys) when you’ve got access to a computer and high-speed internet?
Although the solution to escaping the path of mediocrity is simple, it’s not easy. If you want to become the best person you can possibly be you need to consciously craft your environment and put yourself in situations where adaption is necessary.
Now this is easier said than done, but aside from slaving away your life to instant gratification as most people do, it’s the only choice you’ve got.
Now here’s the key, if you try to turn your whole life around overnight you’re going to fail miserably. Willpower is limited, and the human brain can only tackle a couple new habits at a time. Fortunately, that’s perfectly fine!
Slow but consistent progress is nothing to be ashamed of. The turtle won the race against the rabbit. Running fast and making big changes is great, but if you lack the previous life experience and track record to do so, you’ll likely only run in circles.
Step One Create A Vision
Before you start implementing new habits you need to have a vision of what you want your life to look like. While creating this vision it’s important to realize that regardless of what you’ve been in the past, there’s no limit to what you can become in the future.
When you’re visualizing your future it’s important to have a vision that moves your soul and inspires you on a deep emotional level. I’d go as far as saying that when you’re picturing your ideal reality it should really move you and you should even cry a little bit. My eyes never fail to tear up when I think about the things I’m going to accomplish or more importantly, the lives I’m going to change.
If you’re having trouble with visualizing what you want I’d recommend opening up a document on your computer and pouring your heart into it until you come up with something that really resonates with you on every level of your being.
If you want an example here’s my current life purpose. To love, be loved, be the best I can be, and help others be the best they can be.
Here’s a couple things to keep in mind when creating your life purpose. First, I’ve found that getting too focused on the specifics is detrimental.
Since I changed my life purpose from being the world’s best motivational speaker to simply being the best I can be, and helping others do the same it’s resonated on a much deeper level with me. I’d recommend focusing more on the message of your goal rather than the medium you plan to accomplish it through.
Second it’s important to not spend too long trying to come up with the “perfect life purpose.” If you can’t think of yours within a day you’re looking far too much into this.
You’re allowed to have a dynamic life purpose. I take some time to change mine every couple months. If you seem to be stuck in picking a life purpose simply pick the one that resonates with you the most and change it later if necessary.
Once you’ve come up with a life purpose that resonates with you put it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. If you spend a lot of time at your computer make it your background. If you’re not a technology geek hang it on your bedroom door. Wherever you decide to put it it’s super important it’s somewhere you’ll see it everyday.
Hanging up your life purpose may sound a little weird, but it definitely helps. You’ll find that when you see your life purpose on a day you lack motivation, it’ll remind you why you do the things you do, and will help you keep the ball rolling.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having a vision. Create one for yourself by the end of the day and don’t continue to the following steps of the process until you have one. Taking action is important, but without a vision you won’t go very far. You can drive for as long as you want, but if you don’t know where you’re going you’ll never get there.
Step Two Use Your Pain As Leverage
When you’re coming from a dark place it’s important to use your pain as leverage rather than as an excuse for why you can’t do something. You’re going to get whatever you tolerate. As long as you can accept being a fat, lazy loser that’s going to be the reality you experience.
Change requires you to be uncomfortable with your current circumstances. You have to hate being antisocial or fat or whatever your problem is more than anything else. When you get to the point that change is your only choice, when failure and losing are no longer options, that’s the day your life is going to change.
To help maintain motivation for change keep your life purpose and vision in mind constantly. Also remember that losing weight, improving your career, or whatever you working on isn’t just about you. And if it is, you’ll fail.
Although your motivation will ultimately originate from you, it doesn’t need to be about you. Writing this blog post may improve my writing skills and help organize my thoughts, but ultimately I’m creating this because I want to help you change your life.
If you’re really depressed you may reach a state where you’re so messed up you’re unable to draw motivation from within yourself. At one point in my life I was so lost that I didn’t even care about myself anymore, but because I still cared about others I was able to escape rock bottom.
Whether it’s losing weight so you can live to see your grandchildren, or developing social skills so you can make the girl of your dreams happy, find someone outside of yourself that touches your heart, and will motivate you to keep going when nothing else will.
Step Three Craft Your Environment
Although changing your environment doesn’t guarantee the changing of your results, it’s a huge help. Regardless of your level of discipline, if you’re an alcoholic you’re going to struggle staying sober if you continue going to the bar with other alcoholics.
There’s two important things to consider when crafting an environment conductive to your success. First, the things. And second, the people. We’ll focus on crafting the things in your environment to your advantage first.
Most people think the best way to eat healthier is through massive discipline and an unruly amount of will power. That’s wrong.
In truth, excessive resistance simply means your values don’t align with your goals. When this occurs you have two choices. You can change your values or you can change your goals.
In the case of healthy eating changing your values is the better choice. If you struggle to eat healthy food there’s a misalignment in your values that’s causing you to believe that eating the unhealthy foods is the preferable option.
There are two causes of misaligned values. Misinformation, and no information.
The most common cause of misinformation comes in the form of mainstream media. It strengthens limiting beliefs such as the overemphasis of security in our lives, as well as under stressing the importance of following your dreams.
On the other hand lies no information. Maybe you know college isn’t for you, but if you’ve never read books or seen shows about entrepreneurs or those following a non standard career path you’d probably go anyway simply because you didn’t know there was another option.
Regardless, the most important thing you can do is expose yourself to positive forms of input. This blog is a good start, but gradually reduce the amount of mainstream media you expose yourself, and instead read books, and listen to motivational podcasts instead.
Going back to the the person who eats unhealthy foods, the reason they’re unable to stop is because doing so wouldn’t align with their current values. Fortunately, once they expose themselves to more positive forms of input, and educate themselves their values will change and eating unhealthy food would actually be MORE difficult.
However, in the case of unhealthy eating, some detox period may be necessary for a food addict’s brain to be able to think clearly enough to use that information. In that case I’d recommend simply refusing to bring unhealthy food home.
You can’t eat sweets if there’s none at your house. If you can’t stop buying junk food have a family member do the shopping. If your family members eat junk food too bring a friend with you whenever you go to the store and have them hold you accountable.
If you care enough about making the change you’ll find some way to craft your environment to making it the only option. If it’s not important to you you’ll find an excuse.
Besides the media you expose yourself to, another important thing to keep in mind are the places you hang out. If you’re trying to stop drinking going to the bar is the stupidest thing you can do.
On the flip-side, going to the library to read books about addiction or positive thinking would be one of the smartest things you could do. Before you go somewhere always ask yourself, “Would I be ok with doing the activity typically associated with this place?”
Of course just things, places and the media you expose yourself to aren’t everything. The people you associate with are likely even more influential in your life.
It’s nearly impossible to become a positive person when you hang out with negative people. Even if they aren’t actively attempting to prevent you from improving your life, their mere presence alone will hinder you ability to be optimistic. Whoever said you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with wasn’t lying.
If you want to reach a new level in life you need to be willing to let go of your current relationships. It can be scary to do so if you’ve identified with those people for a long time, but it’s necessary. You’ll never get anything better as long as your hands are full with what you already have.
Of course, once you drop your current social circle you can’t rely on positive people to magically show up in your life. You need to actively create these relationships.
Starting a blog, or interacting with successful people on Twitter may be a start, but it’s even more important you cultivate these relationships in the real world.
If you’re trying to become a better public speaker or improve your social skills join Toastmaster’s. If you’re trying to lose weight join a gym or running group. Regardless of your goal you’ll find your progress accelerate once you’re surrounded by people compatible with it.
Step Four Implement The First Habit
For most people I’d recommend focusing on the physical body for your first habit. Obviously this will allow you to feel better, but I’ve found that doing so will also provide you with increased mental clarity and a much improved ability to implement future habits.
I think ideally you’d focus on eating healthier, but if you’re more confident in your ability to exercise you can choose to do that as your first habit instead.
Regardless of what habit you choose to implement, the most important advice I can give you is to start small.
If you’re trying to eat healthier just replace the chips in your lunch with carrots for the first week. If you’re trying to make exercise a habit do ten jumping jacks every morning.
If you’re able to effectively use your pain as leverage you’ll likely feel motivated to do more. DON’T. The short term results of doing a few extra jumping jacks vs solidifying exercise as a habit in your life isn’t worth it.
Through out this whole process we’re not even concerned about the immediate results you’re getting. Ten jumping jack per day is probably going to do literally nothing for your fitness.
What we’re really focusing on here is creating positive habits you can build on and changing the negative downward spiral you’re in into a positive upward spiral.
You see, the problem with most people is that they’re in a downward spiral. They eat bad food which causes them to feel lethargic, which causes them to passively watch television, which exposes them to negative social conditioning, which only serves to further reinforce the cycle.
Fortunately you can consciously work to reverse this cycle. Eating healthier food will give you energy to exercise, which will give you even more energy, which will allow you to work harder in the other areas of you life, which will serve to further reinforce the cycle.
Once you make a small change in your life, you’ll have both momentum and more discipline to tackle bigger challenges down the road.
Of course, this brings up an important question. What if you’re not able to make the first change?
At this point you have two options. You can start even smaller, or you can go back to step three and do a better job of crafting your environment to put yourself into situations where you’ll have no choice but to change.
Step Five Implement Bigger Habits
If you’ve made it this far give yourself a pat on the back. Your life may not seem different at this point, but it is. Sure, a habit of doing ten jumping jacks a day may not have produced much in the form of results, but it’s HUGE. You know why?
Because you now understand change is possible and that you’re capable of it. You’ve shown yourself that you posses the ability to build new habits. Although you may not yet have the discipline to go the gym for an hour each day, you’re likely strong enough to do twenty-five jumping jacks or go for a run around the block everyday.
And maybe next week you’ll be ready to run for ten minutes everyday. By the end of the month you could be running twenty minutes a day and more importantly you’ll have established it as a habit and done it in a sustainable way.
Next month you can focus on your diet, and the month after that you can work on your sleep habits or social skills. With each month you’ll build more and more momentum, and you’ll find that although it’s still important to start small with new habits it isn’t necessary to start as small as you once did.
You’ll enter the important upward spiral and you’ll it easier to continue making changes in your life. You’ll never be able to go on autopilot and coast, but you’ll find less resistance with each new habit you attempt to implement.
Step Six Continue The Journey
Let’s fast forward a bit now. You’ve made some significant changes in your life, and are feeling better than ever. You may have lost some weight or even got a new girlfriend or career. Now what?
Enjoy it, but don’t ever be satisfied. You’ve put in the work so take some time to appreciate the fruits of your labor, but at the same time, stay hungry. A lot of people who become successful end up reverting to their old ways. Why?
Because they think success is a destination. They think once they become successful they can take it easy. Unfortunately success isn’t something you are, it’s something you do. Once you stop putting in the work you’re going to stop getting the results.
Once you begin making positive changes in your life you will have an upward spiral on your side to some extent, but understand that regardless of how much momentum you have, you’ll never be able to go on autopilot.
Once you stop putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable and force you to adapt you’ll stagnate and slowly regress to what you once were.
The best piece of advice I can give you in maintaining motivation is to have a purpose that inspires you. Whether you want to be the world’s greatest rapper, basketball player, or even father is irrelevant. All that matters is that you find something that motivates you to be your very best everyday.
Somedays you’ll lack motivation and have to grit your teeth to get things done, but wouldn’t you rather learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable than have to look back at your dreams one day and wonder what if?
This post was written by me, 16 year old Cameron Chardukian. This article’s close to my heart because it discusses the strategies I used to turn my own life around. I’m trying to help as many people as possible so it would mean the world to me if you shared this article with anyone you believe it would help.
If you found this article helpful subscribe so you don’t risk missing future posts. Much Love, Cam
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