Read the title again. Success is a JOURNEY, not a destination and if you’ve ever read anything about The Hero’s Journey, you’re about to step into their shoes in the world of fitness. You’re going to hear the calling and you might refuse it. Then, someone, a mentor, will give you a relic, then you’ll cross the first threshold. You’ll have sidekicks, meet shapeshifters, jokesters, and any other archetype on your fitness success. You’ll enter the cave of trials and return home with new knowledge of fitness, and success.
So congratulations, hero! You succeeded in your fitness journey before even stepping into the gym!
Now, while you may be reading this in disbelief because you either a) have been on fitness hiatus, b) are experiencing a fitness setback of some sort or c) are just now joining a gym, there’s a common denominator linking all of these factors together:
Your decision to join a gym tells me one thing: You intend to change. You’ve undergone the commitment to change – the first step to change.
So, why is it that so many making the New Year’s resolution (over 50%) fail?
Well, let me be clear about this answer.
It’s not failure, even if it seems like the same people are spinning their hamster wheels time and again.
It’s not failure.
It’s merely a setback.
Yet they continue to return to the gym, just as you may be doing.
But as they say, success is an inevitable product of perseverance and the more one perseveres, the higher the likelihood of success.
Because they learn from previous setbacks, which isn’t always a bad thing. So, let me help you take your setbacks and turn them into something positive.
Success is Inevitable
Success is made of numerous setbacks, which some of us might call failures. Michael Jordan once said he’s successful because he failed so many times.
And he’s right.
Guess who else got to experience setback after setback before finally finding his groove?
Yep, the man writing this article: Yours Truly. Me.
This is one of the few posts I’m writing that is more about myself because I want my readers to see, or read, about what happens when despite setback after setback, a perseverance mentality will eventually lead to success.
In the gym and in life.
Enjoy reading about the terrible trouble I put myself in, and the comeback that followed.
Literally since middle school, but let’s focus on recent history.
As some of you know, my own personal training career hit a speed bump with so much magnitude the vehicle of success was nearly totaled. Bouncing around three different gyms all over Pittsburgh didn’t help either and by the middle of 2018 I was down and out; finished. Never to enter the fitness arena again.
So to cover my unemployed butt and make ends meet I took a seasonal job at FedEx which of course, ended when the Holiday Season of 2018 ended. After two weeks of being unemployed, I took a full-time position as a material handler at a local steel warehouse – a job I never thought I’d ever have to bear.
And trust me, I felt stuck.
With no way out in the near future.
Entering a permanent normal job for the first time in seven years and pushing a timeclock to work on someone else’s time is about as indentured of a feeling next to incarceration – especially when it’s an 8 to 12-hour shift five days a week and your co-workers tell you to adopt a mentality that you’ll be at work for twelve hours.
And at a gig I didn’t find purpose and fulfillment in, was a living hell.
But, I remembered who I was. I remembered what I set out to accomplish and this steel warehouse wasn’t it. I had to claw my way back into the game.
But from July 2018 to July 2019, thirteen months total, I had:
1. Quit a failing job.
2. I went four months without work while working on a few other endeavors.
3. I watched my bank account drop to $400 total two weeks prior to working at FedEx.
4. Worked a seasonal gig before venturing to the warehouse.
5. Was still close to total bankruptcy; I didn’t even have enough to pay my student loans at the time while working in a job I absolutely despised and felt a sense of dread driving to five days a week.
6. Dug myself out of the hole, knowing that in addition to my other goals that I had in place, I also knew it was time to get back into fitness.
7. And here I am, spitting out my life’s story.
Throughout this entire process, I learned something: It doesn’t matter how bad things get. If you – no – when you persevere, when you don’t stop, your positive and forward-moving actions will intersect with success.
And that’s pretty damn cool.
So yeah, even when you feel stuck. Even when your long-term goal appears so far off in the distance hopelessness invades your soul, remember that while success is a process, it’s a foregone conclusion.
When you persevere, success is a foregone conclusion.
Let me tell you: I was in the bottomless pit of my own life. While I know there are others out there in far worse situations than simply taking a job I didn’t want and reminiscing about a time that once was, it was the absolute worst situation of my life – having to abandon a once-promising personal training career for a hard hat, personal protective equipment, and the stench of warehouse chemicals without knowing when I’d get off work.
Oh, and did I mention that for the time being a return to personal training, while etched in my mind, seemed like mission impossible?
The same goes for you and your fitness journey. It might seem like mission impossible, but I’m here to tell you it’s mission possible when you trust the process.
How do you trust the process?
Let me explain.
Trust the Process
Okay, so the process begins with what I like to call goals that you and only you need to set for yourself. The same goes for my own client base. I don’t set the goals for them. They set their goals. They set their short-term goals and long-term goals.
Hell, they’re even responsible for figuring out how to reach them. When they figure out how to reach their goals, I come in and hold them accountable to those goals. But with the goals comes the process.
For example, my goal was to get back to personal training or helping others achieve their fitness goals.
But my personal training City of Gold became a ghost town from January 2017 to July 2018. A ghost town and with a side of setback.
What goals did I take?
Well, it was all about visualizing the end, long-term goal, where I saw myself coaching clients again.
For you, you might have a long-term weight loss goal, such as ‘I want to lose fifty pounds of body fat in the next twelve months.’
But how do you get to that goal?
You create smaller goals, and thus the process begins.
For me, my first goal was to simply get back on my feet, hence the job at the warehouse.
But I told myself something: I’m not a material handling warehouseman. I’m a personal trainer, dammit. I’m a personal trainer. I’m a writer. I’m a creator.
But the first step.
Step one: The first long, exhausting step, was to take the job I never saw in my future. The kind of job that gave me nightmares when I did experience the freedom that accompanies the personal training life – okay, it’s long hours but at least they’re rewarding, fulfilling, and purposeful hours rather than 40-50 hours a week of indentured servitude order-filling for giant corporations.
Step two: Start reading fitness-related material again. Basically, I wanted to get back into the mantra of reading and educating myself on my chosen craft again.
Step three: Find another job that allowed me to pursue training and my other passions full-time again, rather than part-time as working at the warehouse forced due to the long hours, five days a week.
Step four: Now that the time was right, renew all certifications.
Step five: Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to live in Cleveland, Ohio – I’ve always felt drawn to the city located just two and a half hours from where I grew up. Look for fitness-related opportunities in Cleveland.
The Foregone Conclusion
For you, it’s your responsibility to create short-term goals for yourself. The reason why this article is more ‘I’ rather than ‘you’ is because I don’t know you. I know me and my own goals and I can use them as an example to show you how to create long-term and short-term goals.
For another, I purposely neglected to use my fitness goals out of fear that anyone reading this article would simply think mine somehow matched theirs and they’ll just go ahead and use my goals as theirs.
That’s a huge mistake, as every single one of us is different and therefore, requires different goals. I wasn’t about to take that risk.
Instead, I just wanted to use myself in life form as an example of what can and will happen when you declare success in any goal a foregone conclusion. In any endeavor, fitness, and life, that you undergo, success is a foregone conclusion.
It might take twenty seasons of starts, stops, sputters, stalls, thirty quarterbacks and a poor start to the year, but success in any endeavor is a foregone conclusion if you make it so.