I just finished my morning meditation session. This marks the 87th day in a row that I’ve meditated for at least 10 minutes.
I started meditating to bring more calm, focus and patience into my life.
It wasn’t easy. I almost quit – several times – during the first few days in developing this new habit. And this wasn’t the first time I tried to take up meditation. But each time in the past I had failed miserably.
There was the time in 2006 when I tried to use meditation to help deal with my anxiety attacks. I only lasted a week.
Then in 2009 I worked up to 15 sessions in a row before shamefully giving up.
But this time I knew it would be different.
This time I had my 7 step success formula in place.
Before, I went about it in a haphazard, non-serious way.
Each morning, after I’ve written Turbulence Training workout programs or ETR essays for two hours, walked the dog, and finished my Daily Document review (but before I go to the gym), I sit down on my meditation pillow, close my eyes, sit upright with legs crossed, and focus on my breathing.
At first the habit was excruciatingly painful – both mentally and physically. It was almost impossible to turn off my “monkey mind.” My brain would shift from thought to thought to thought, reviewing my to-do list or coming up with other ideas to implement or people to contact.
And frankly, my mind still wanders during each session, even though I’ve made significant breakthroughs in my ability breathe deeply and focus on practically nothing.
I’m getting better every session. I’m not giving up on this habit.
It’s made me more calm during the remainder of the day. I no longer feel a tiny bit of tightness and anxiety in my chest when my schedule becomes overwhelming. I breathe better (sounds silly, I know, but most of us don’t know how to breathe properly). I relax easier. I have more patience – and this was sorely needed.
This simple meditation habit, now almost 90 days strong, has made a big difference in my life. It’s become a success habit. (And I’m going to show you my 7 Step Success System for any area of your life.)
This time I was able to stick to my meditation habit because this time I also listened to my own advice.
Over the past 16 Turbulence Training Transformation Contests, I had been telling you and 90,000 other TT readers that:
“Success is simple once you accept how hard it is.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that success is easy. I’m staying that it is simple. Big difference.
That means, if you understand and accept that success – in any area of life – requires sacrifice, only then you will be psychologically prepared to make those sacrifices. Then, and only then, with the right mindset in place, success simply becomes a matter of following proven blueprints, and never, ever giving up on what is important to you.
Once you accept this fact, you’ll be ready to successfully apply this formula to transform your life.
After reviewing my own success habits, and those of the dozens of winners of my 16 Turbulence Training Transformation Contests, I’ve identified the following 7 Step Success Formula:
SUCCESS = Outcome Goals + Process Goals + Action + Accountability + Support + Incentives + The Deadline
Let’s walk you through those 7 Steps.
1) Outcome Goals – This is simple. If you want to lose 15 pounds in 6 weeks, that’s your Outcome Goal. It’s your Vision. It’s the Destination you want to arrive it in a given time frame. That’s Goal Setting 101.
2) Process Goals – These are a little different, and yet an often forgotten part of a Goal Setting program. Process goals refer to what you are going to do in order to succeed. For me, I had to make time each day to practice meditation. For someone that wants to lose belly fat, your process goals will include 3 Turbulence Training workouts per week plus 90% compliance to your nutrition program. By hitting your process goals, you’ll ultimately achieve your outcome goals.
3) Action – All the optimism and goal-setting in the world does you no good without Action. You must plan and prepare to take action. And then 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. Action takers rule the world.
However, there’s one Politically Incorrect truth that I must share with you. You need to know this, because if you don’t, you might give up. Worse, you could be giving up just when success was around the corner.
So read this once. Let it sink in. Read it again. And then print it out. Post it on your computer or your fridge.
It’s that important. Here are some of the most important words of wisdom I could ever share with 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. So stay strong and keep on pushing.
Believe me, I know how you feel. Back in 2006 I struggled with an anxiety attack that lasted more than six weeks straight, but I never gave up on looking for solutions.
And what I discovered was that success only happens by taking action every day, strong and steady, by overcoming obstacles and powering through the dips, by trudging onward through tough days and getting energized by great days.
The backbone for your success and persistence will always be a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Make sure that your Outcome and Process Goals are clear. Realize that each action you take is a small victory for you, and each accomplishment is another step closer to your big breakthrough.
Everyone goes through those struggles where it feels like nothing is working, those dips, those stretches where you are seemingly making no progress, and then suddenly…
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 it is, it WILL happen if you keep taking action.
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.
Trust me on that.
So never, ever, EVER give up on what is important to you.
But how can you help yourself to stick with your action plan and process goals through these tough times?
The answer is in the Four Pillars of Success, which are also the final four steps of our formula. Once you’ve nailed down the first three steps – you’re ready to use the final four steps to make your transformation stick. These four steps are Accountability, Social Support, Incentives, and The Deadline.
4) Accountability – Research shows that being accountable to an authority figure increases your chances of success. This might be me, in the TT contests, or your doctor, or your pastor or your supervisor at work. But you need accountability. It can also come from your friends and family too, as we’ll see in the 5th Step.
For my meditation success, 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 might have given up.
5) Social Support – Lean on positive people in your life to support you when things are going well, and yes, to give you a kick-in-the-butt to get back on track when you are slipping.
I used the support of other members in the Turbulence Training forums to stay on track with meditation (as I do everyday to stick to my nutrition, as well). And almost every single winner of the TT Transformation Contests has done the same. The more active they are in the forums, the better results they are getting.
You can’t go it alone and expect to succeed. You must find positive people – and research shows that online support groups work as well as ‘real life in-person’ support – to be there when you need a shoulder to lean on.
6) Incentives – 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 TT Contest winners, it’s the big cash prizes that motivate them to action every day.
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 late last year, I created a virtual 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.) I quickly cleaned up my swearing habits in just six days with this approach.
7) The Deadline – This might be the 2nd most important component after Action. Without The Deadline, we will procrastinate. Our outcome goal of losing 10 pounds of belly fat drags on and on and on without success, unless we say, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds of belly fat by Memorial Day (May 27th, 2013)” and then make this public to our Accountability partners and Social Support while attaching an Incentive to it.
If you do all of those things, I guarantee you’ll have dropped those 10 pounds by the big day.
That’s the power of the Four Pillars of Success. They make you take action, stick to your process goals, and achieve EXACTLY what you want in life.
Put it all together and you have a formula for SUCCESS.
It doesn’t matter if it’s losing belly fat, learning how to meditate, finding the life partner of your dreams, re-establishing your relationship with God, getting a raise, or starting your own business, those 7 Success Steps are a proven blueprint to helping you achieve EXACTLY what you want in life.
Put those 7 Steps for Success into place today, and never, ever, EVER give up on what is important to you.[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. He is also the co-creator of the Early to Rise $100,000 Transformation Contest. Though this round of the Transformation Contest has closed it’s not too late to get access to all the helpful tools and advice that has helped many people make a positive change in their lives. Get started on your major life transformations today.]