In 2006, I dealt with crippling anxiety attacks. They were so intense I visited the emergency room twice, fearing it was a heart attack.
Over the next three months I searched high and low to cure myself, trying everything from meditation to Qi Gong to Yoga in order to overcome the anxiety. Eventually I conquered it because I listened to my own advice.
“Success is simple once you accept how hard it is.”
This is a phrase I’ve been sharing with my body transformation clients and Internet Marketing Mastermind coaching members for years.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that success is easy. I’m saying that it is simple. There’s a big difference.
It’s not easy to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact, it’s brutally hard, as Mark Ford found out. But it’s simple. You put one foot in front of the other, do the work, listen to your guide, and follow the path.
The same approach works for almost everything in life, whether it’s losing weight, overcoming anxiety, getting out of debt, finding the love of your life, or getting rich.
You follow your mentor’s advice, you do the work, and you never quit on what’s important to you.
If you understand and accept that success requires sacrifice, you are psychologically prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. Then, and only then, with the right mindset in place, success simply becomes a matter of following a proven blueprint.
After reviewing all of the success stories that have passed through the ETR world, including the 75 winners from my Turbulence Training Body Transformation Contests, as well as the Mastermind members who have built 6-figure, 7-figure, and even 8-figure online businesses, I’ve identified the following 7-Step Success Formula that applies to every area of your life:
SUCCESS = Process Goals + Planning + Accountability + Support + Incentives + The Deadline + Action
Let’s walk you through those 7 Steps.
1) Process Goals
We’re all familiar with traditional goal setting. You pick an achievement and sometimes connect it with a date, and then you declare it to yourself, and perhaps a few friends on New Year’s Day.
“I want to lose 25 pounds before Valentine’s Day,” the world screams. And then they try to make 10 big lifestyle changes at once and burn out before the big day.
That’s okay, it happens to all of us when we rely on outcome goals and neglect to include the more important Process Goals in our plan.
Process goals refer to what you are going to do in order to succeed. When I was overcoming my anxiety, I had to make time each day to practice meditation. I had to show up for my Qi Gong and Yoga appointments for the week. If I missed my process goals, there was no way I’d achieve my outcome goals.
Likewise, for someone that wants to lose belly fat, the process goals will include doing three of my Turbulence Training workouts per week, sticking to their diet 90% of the time, and checking in with their accountability coach or social support network each day. By hitting these process goals, you’ll naturally achieve your outcome goal of losing weight.
Process goals are simple. They are not easy to stick to, but they are simple to stick to. You just have to do the work. But in today’s world of hourly temptations to get off track, how can you stick with your process goals through tough times?
The answer is in using my Five Pillars of Success, which are also the next five steps of our Success Formula. These are Planning, Accountability, Social Support, Incentives, and The Deadline.
You need to plan and prepare better than you ever have before. It’s not enough to plan ‘one day at a time.’ If the deadline for your goal is in six weeks, you need to have an incredibly detailed 6-week plan. Don’t just outline what you need to do tomorrow. Make a plan for everything you need to do each day and every week. Identify who you need on your side. Figure out a way to get them, and implement every one of the next steps with tactical precision.
3) Professional Accountability
Research shows that being accountable to an authority figure increases your chances of success. This might be your doctor or a personal trainer if you are trying to lose weight and improve your health. If your goal is to improve your marriage, you might use your pastor or a therapist.
Regardless of your big goals, you need professional accountability. Your professional accountability partner is there to give you expert advice and to give you a kick-in-the-butt to get back on track when you are slipping in your habits. Tough love is what you want from them.
When taking up meditation to overcome my anxiety, I held myself accountable to Matt Smith, my business partner, and my chiropractor, Dr. Michael Sommers. Both of these men have been long-time practitioners of meditation and gave me expert advise on making my sessions better. Without them, I would have given up, but with their accountability I’ve turned meditation into a daily habit.
4) Social Support
If Professional Accountability is your success coach, then your Social Support network acts as the cheerleaders in your life. They are the people that are always there to cheer you on and support you through the tough times and dips in your days.
Not every step on the climb of your personal Mount Kilimanjaro journey will be easy. You need as many positive people on the sidelines as possible yelling, “Keep going. You can do it!”
You can’t go it alone and expect to succeed. You must find positive people to be there when you need a shoulder to lean on. Research shows that online support groups work as well as ‘real life in-person’ support. Swedish scientists found that the more often a weight loss study participant visited an online weight loss forum, the better the weight loss results. I’ve found this to hold true in the Turbulence Training Transformation Contests in my business. When a member is active on our forums, they have greater odds of success.
You might find yourself surrounded with negative people in the real world, but if you go online and seek out Facebook groups or website forums, you’ll find the positive support you need. It works just as well as having a friend cheering you on in person.
5) A Meaningful Incentive
There are two ways to implement Incentives into your Success Formula. You can use the “carrot” or the “stick.” The “carrot” approach is based on a reward you’ll give yourself for taking action and hitting your process and outcome goals.
For people that join our body transformation contests, the cash prizes motivate them to get started. Eventually they internalize the benefits and don’t care as much about the money as they do about continuing to see results. However, to get over the initial inertia, the idea of winning $1000 is a meaningful incentive.
On the other hand, you can motivate yourself with negative consequences. That’s the “stick” method. For example, you can punish yourself for not taking action or for not hitting your outcome goals.
When I quit swearing, I created a “swear jar.” Each curse word cost me $10 that had to go to a charity I did not want to support. (You can also choose to donate to the political party you don’t support using a website like Stickk.com.) I quickly cleaned up my swearing habits in just six days using a meaningful, negative incentive.
6) The Big Deadline
This is a crucial factor in your success. Without The Big Deadline, we procrastinate and never reach our goals. As the old saying goes, “Dreams are just goals without deadlines.”
Once you have a Big Deadline in place, you’ll be well on your way to success. It’s almost like the old Woody Allen saying, “80% of success is showing up.” In this case, 80% of your success might come from setting that deadline.
Set a hard, but manageable deadline, one that challenges you to push outside of your comfort zone to make big breakthroughs in your life.
All the optimism and goal setting in the world does little good without Action. You must plan and prepare to take action. You must force yourself — even on those tough days, for example, when you want to skip your meditation session or workout because you are tired or too busy — to take action. But as I like to say, “Action takers rule the world.”
However, there’s one last truth that I must share with you.
There will be days when you feel like you are doing everything right, days where you are taking action on your process goals, days when you’re checking in with your accountability coach and getting pats on the back from your social support, and yet you’ll find yourself struggling.
It’s okay. We all go through these dips.
On those days, when you feel like you’ve hit the wall and you’re ready to quit, remember this phrase, and better yet, print it out and post it on your computer or your fridge so it’s always there in front of you.
Success comes in spurts.
There will be times when you’ll work and work and work, and you’ll feel like you’re getting nowhere. You might be experiencing this right now.
Believe me, I know how you feel. Back in 2006 as I struggled with my anxiety, there were some very dark days, but I never gave up on looking for solutions.
What I discovered was that no matter how bad things got, I could not quit. Neither can you. The 7 steps to success always come through. So no matter how tough the times in your life right now, you cannot give up. You must keep taking action every day, getting help from your coach to overcome obstacles, and leaning on your social support to power through the dips. And when you do…
WHOOOOOSH. Success will come.
The fear, stress, and anxiety in your life will dissipate. The scale will change by 2-3 pounds seemingly overnight. The person of your dreams will walk into your life. A big break will happen at work. Whatever your big goals and dreams, you will achieve them if you keep taking action and stick to this plan.
It happened to me and it will happen to you too. I dealt with the anxiety every single waking moment for six weeks, and then I finally found the answer to my problem. And POOF! I was cured almost instantly.
Success. It comes in spurts.
This is why so many “overnight success stories” are really 10 years in the making.
Realize that each action you take is a small victory for you, and each accomplishment is another step closer to your big breakthrough.
Trust me on that.
So never, ever, EVER give up on what is important to you.
If you incorporate all 7 steps into your success blueprint, I guarantee you’ll achieve you big goals and dreams in life.
I’ve created the perfect system to help you put all 7 steps into place. It starts with watching this new video, The Perfect Life Assessment, that I’m giving away as a free bonus with my Perfect Day Formula kit. Get it here this weekend only and start changing your life today.
Craig Ballantyne has been the Editor of Early to Rise since 2011. He’s also a Strength & Conditioning coach in Toronto, author of Turbulence Training, a contributing author to Men’s Health magazine, and a member of the Training Advisory Board for Maximum Fitness and Oxygen magazines.TurbulenceTraining.com features Craig’s best-selling programs.