Let these truisms sink in for a moment: You rock. You’re awesome. You’re the best thing since oxygen. You’re the shit.
Don’t believe me? Shame on you! But I understand your skepticism – there is a whole world out there trying tirelessly to convince you otherwise, so let me throw some indisputable facts your way:
- You completely dominated anywhere from a few million to a billion cells to earn the right to be brought into existence – all this before you even took your first breath.
- Over 55 million people die each year, but (I hope) if you’re reading this then you’re still among the living.
- Out of all the pages on the internet, you managed to find my website (Ok ok, I’m just kidding here…but seriously).
Got that into your head? Fantastic! Let’s move on.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being included in Alan Aragon’s talk at the JP Fitness Summit (the best fitness gathering on the planet in my opinion), which focused on the things that matter in regards to health, performance & body composition, so he asked me to present one of the key elements that played a role in my own transformation. I knew going into this that me talking about nutrition after Alan did such a through and outstanding job on the topic would be the equivalent of an 8th grader following up Albert Einstein’s physics presentation with one of his own, so I went another route and spoke exclusively about the what separates me from you, and you from everyone else in the world – your mind.
Mind Over Body
I am a former fast food addict. From a young age I grew up with Ronald McDonald, Wendy & some burger dude with a crown as my best friends, visiting them a few times a week, stuffing my face with portions far too large for my body.
This only got worse as I got older.
Now I had a car and a steady source of income – a bad combination. I knew the hours and locations of every fast food joint in my city, and I knew the tendencies and specials going on at each of them. Is this Wendy’s always out of barbecue sauce? Time to take a trip down the road to the next one, because having chicken nuggets without the sauce is a cardinal sin.
Want proof? Check out the card statements below.
Take a look at the first picture and note that my fast food addiction wasn’t contained by silly things such as borders and large bodies of water – I even crossed into Canada to taste test their version of McDonalds! This is just the damage from a single card – I had another bank account with a much higher frequency of use.
Then came the blood work during a routine physical.
Total Cholesterol: 300+
I knew my eating habits were horrible, but when you’re staring numbers like that in the face as a 20 year old, it puts things into perspective. At this point a good 70-80% of my diet was fast food, and I knew something had to change before I ended up leaving a pretty looking corpse way before my time.
I tried to quit several times, some attempts better than others, but each ending in a fiery binge of grease and chaos, complete with post-food conquest guilt and the feeling that this is how things were going to be until the day I died.
This went on for more months than I’m proud to admit before I simply said that enough was enough. It was Christmas Eve. I pulled up to the drivethru with one of my friends, ordered some chicken tenders and fries, enjoyed my final glorious meal before swearing that I’d start the new year with a clean slate and that I’d never hit up another fast food joint again.
And I haven’t.
But what was different between this and all my other failed attempts? Honestly, the only difference was this: I believed that I could do it and would do it.
While this applies to fitness, it can and should apply to every other area of your life as well.
Whether your goal is to be ripped with muscles on top of muscles, to be the worlds greatest crocheter or simply be a better parent for your children, the first step towards achieving is believing in yourself, believing that it’s possible and believing that you can achieve it.
Do you need to have a solid plan when starting out? Not at all. Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough for the time being – you’ll learn what you need to along the way.
Do you need the support of everyone around you? It’s nice to have, but it’s not a necessity. There is a world full of cynics and naysayers out there ready to try and shut you down the moment you try to move beyond who you are and towards who you want to become, some out of envy that they don’t have the courage to do the same, and others just to see you fail so that they don’t feel the silent sting of your success.
Haters are gonna hate, and the fact that you have some means you’re probably on the right path.
Whatever you do, whatever your goal is, don’t attack it with the “I’m gonna try” attitude. I’m gonna try to lose weight. I’m gonna try to eat better. I’m gonna try to make more money. No – you’re GOING TO do those things, because that’s what you told yourself that you’re going to do.
Think back to a time in your life when someone believed in you – how completely awesome did that make you feel? The fact that you’re reading these words right now is a direct result of the wonderful people that I’ve met along the way who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
There have been many times when I’ve wanted to pack up and stop writing because I felt that the quality was horrible and that it wasn’t reaching or helping anyone at all, but those days are gone and I’m going to keep on keeping on, if for no other reason than my respect for those who believed in me and to serve as an example of what is possible for those who don’t fully believe in themselves yet.
Do you believe in yourself?
If you don’t have that believes in you, then I believe in you.
If you ask why you should believe in yourself, I ask in return why not?
Without belief, nothing is possible but with it anything is.
I’ve never met a person, I don’t care what his condition, in whom I could not see possibilities. I don’t care how much a man may consider himself a failure, I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life anytime he is prepared and ready to do it. Whenever he develops the desire, he can take away from his life the thing that is defeating it. The capacity for reformation and change lies within.
- Preston Bradley