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I have hit home-runs, scored touchdowns, set athletic records in high school and college, and experienced things many people will never get to experience in their lives. I am not saying this to impress you. It actually really bothers me when people have nothing to say other than to boast about what they have done in the past. I am telling you this because the only reason I have accomplished anything in my life is because of the way I think and my self-image.
It really clicked for me when I was in 5th grade. It was gym class and we were running 40 yard dashes for time. At the end of the class the gym teacher highlighted the fastest boy and the fastest girl in the class. When my name wasn’t called, I can still remember the feeling it gave me. From that moment on, I made the choice that I was going to be fast. I did not do any speed training or weightlifting, I just made it up in my mind. This attitude began to spread to other areas. If there was something I wanted to do, I made it up in my mind that I was going to do it, and started acting like it. When people asked who was the fastest, or who was the strongest or the best at whatever it was, I always wanted to be that person.
If you were to look at me as an athlete, wide-receiver probably would not be the first thing to pop into your head. I am 5’9’’ (on a good day), and about 185 lbs. Most people would guess wrestler. Though I started acting like I was fast, I actually just became very quick. I was never an elite sprinter, high jumper and did not have overwhelming size. Based on my physical characteristics, I believe I would be considered about average. I had average size, average speed but was able to achieve above average success in sports. Why? The answer is self-image. I always saw and thought of myself as “that guy.” I wanted to be the best at what I did, and always thought of myself that way. I just simply made a choice to be the best. I always tell people that if I can do it, you can too. All you have to do is see yourself as that person. I could have easily accepted not being the fastest kid in 5th grade or not being the best receiver, the go-to guy or playmaker, but instead of just saying “okay” when I wasn’t in those positions and accepting it, I always said “why not me?” and was relentless upon making it happen.
Again, I am not saying this to impress you. I am saying this with great hope that it will empower you to do the same in whatever it is that you want to achieve. Do you want to get a promotion? Do you want the people you spend the most time around to see you differently? Do you want to set records? Do you want to burn fat, build muscle or get stronger, or do you just want to be average and fall within the status quo? I am telling you that you can do any of those things if you just start seeing and thinking of yourself as those things and most importantly start acting on them.
It starts to get tough when you think about your habits and your current path. The reality is, where you will be in 5 years is dependent on how much time you spend making yourself better and who you are spending your time around. Do you have a goal as to where you want to be in 5 years? If not, you should! Your habits now are going to form who you become in 5 years from now, and that person will determine who you become 5 years from then. Don’t think that just because you get older, you automatically become wiser. Start taking action now, or it may never happen.
At this point you might be getting that little knot in your gut telling you that your current habits aren’t setting you up on a path for future success. Changing habits could be the most challenging things we could ever do. As Training For Warriors CEO Martin Rooney says, “it may be difficult, but it is NOT impossible!”  You might be thinking to yourself “well I’m still young and I want to enjoy my youth” or “I’m too old, there’s no way I am changing now.” To the youth: you are what you repeatedly think and do. The longer you have bad habits, the harder they are to break. To the not-as- young: The bad habits are more difficult for you to break, but not impossible. If you stop drinking and going out every weekend your “friends” are going to give you a hard time. Have you ever been ridiculed for eating or drinking something healthy?! I have! It is a very uncomfortable feeling; constantly being ridiculed for doing things that most people don’t. The fact of the matter is if you REALLY want to achieve your goals, you will embrace this uncomfortable feeling and understand that the more uncomfortable you are, the closer you are to achieving them. Achieving your goals and becoming successful is not easy. Most people say they want to achieve something, but when push comes to shove, they fall back in the status quo and do what is easy; they remain comfortable.
This is where you need to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself what you see. If you see an unhealthy, “average” person, guess what you’re going to continue to be? Start seeing yourself as above average in the mirror and start writing goals based on that person. The key is acting on those goals by replacing your bad habits with good ones, one at a time. If you try to do too much at once, you will become unfocused and overwhelmed. Focus on one thing at a time. Start small, achieve one new good habit and build from there. Small habits and small goals achieved over time will result in complete change.
If you want to be successful, you need to be completely dedicated. Not everyone will be able to embrace the feeling of being uncomfortable and not “fitting the mold.” You might start to see certain people less and less. These people might start to envy you as you begin making the healthy, hard decisions. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around. If your goal is to lose weight and you are surrounded by people who drink and have poor eating habits, do you think this helps your chances of achieving your goal? Surround yourself with like-minded people who are driven to achieve.
If you start becoming comfortable being uncomfortable, changing your habits and making goals, surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and most importantly changing your self-image, there is no limit to the things you can achieve. You are where you are as a result of the choices you have made, not anyone else. You can either continue going down that path, or you can make new choices, develop new habits and accomplish great things. You make the choice!

-Steve Hlavac
Founder, Beyond Measure Training.

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