Updated 02 April 2015

How do they do it?

How do we become better, stronger, more determined human beings? How does fitness become a way of life?


Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? What drives that person through the mud, on the track or at the gym? Why do some people accomplish their goals and others fail hopelessly? What makes the difference?

How do we become better, stronger, more determined human beings? How does fitness become a way of life? By setting personal goals. It is easy to get caught up in day to day activities and to lose sight of what is important.

Research reveals that our mental toughness or – “grit”, as they call it – plays an important part in achieving your goals in health, business, and life. That’s good news because you can’t do much about the genes you were born with, but you can do a lot to develop mental fitness and ultimately reach your goals.

So, how do we achieve our goals? If you are anything like the typical human there will be goals – big or small – that you would like to accomplish. This is great but there is often one common mistake we make when it comes to goal setting; we set a deadline and not a schedule. Does this sound familiar – “I want to lose 10 kg before the start of winter”? We focus on the end goal and the deadline we want to do it by.

The problem with this is that if we don’t magically hit the deadline that we set at the beginning, we then feel like a failure…even if we are better off than we were at the beginning. The end result, sadly, is that we often give up if we don’t reach our goal by the initial deadline.

Here’s the good news: You can uncomplicate your life by setting a schedule to operate by, rather than a deadline to perform by. Instead of giving yourself a deadline to accomplish a particular goal (and then feeling like a failure when you don’t achieve it), choose a goal and set a schedule to work towards consistently. This may not sound like a big shift, but it is.

Productive and successful people practise the things that are important to them on a continual basis. It’s not about the performance; it’s about the continual practise. The focus is on doing the action, not on achieving the goal by a certain date. You can’t predict when your body feels like setting a personal record, but the schedule can make sure that you’re in the gym working on that goal.

Exercise is challenging, no question about it! Be clear about what you are after. Mental fitness is the driving force behind your goals. Mental toughness is an abstract quality but in the real world it is tied to concrete actions such as going one month without missing a workout or going one week without eating fast food. You can’t reach your goals by magically thinking yourself into a good mental state of fitness; you have to prove it to yourself by continuously doing something real to realise your goal.

In the words of Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”



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