There’s a battle being waged in all of us.

One part of us wishes to remain safely inside of our comfort zone. The other part of us knows we should be brave, step-up, and move out and onward to greater challenges.

Your comfort zone might mean the safety and security of a high-paying job at a major corporation. You make more, and have more, than your parents ever did.

“Don’t you dare risk losing that job,” says the voice of your mother in your mind. Just sit tight until the kids are done college, and then we can think about starting a business of your own.

The other voice you hear, encouraging you to explore greater opportunities, is your Big Self (a fantastic phrase I first heard from my friend and mentor, Matt Furey).

Your Big Self represents what you could truly accomplish in life.

Unfortunately, the real world contains many enemies of the Big Self, and it is constantly delivering reinforcements to your Comfort Zone. These reinforcements come in the way of excuses, negative naysayers, fear, lack of self-confidence or self-control, and the bad habits we’ve built up over our lifetime.

And that is why you are in the same spot today as you were twelve months ago, only just a year older.

Today I’ll show you how to break through the stalemate.

But it will only work if you are willing to set down your weapons and stop protecting yourself for a while. Call a truce on the battlefield. Have each side bring out its best thinkers and have them work together as one on this big thinking exercise.

Recently I made this same challenge to over 150 entrepreneurs at a recent seminar. Over the course of two days, my guest experts and I had stood and delivered complete blueprints for making more money, getting more done, and having a bigger impact on the world.

But I knew that many people in the audience would go home, let life get in the way, and return next year without having made any significant changes.

I wasn’t going to let that happen again, and I won’t let that happen to you.

That meant I had to challenge the attendees. I had to show them exactly how to make the mental changes that would allow their Big Self to win the battle.

After I summarized the best moments of the weekend, I paused for dramatic effect, made eye contact with as many people in the room that dared to look at me, and asked, “Are you really living as your Big Self? Are you being the Limitless Leaders that I know you can be? Or are you letting Little Limitations hold you back from greatness?”

These were tough questions. They are tough on the ego.

No one, particularly relatively successful people, wants to feel like a disappointment. But we need to be honest. Are we doing all we can with what we have been blessed with in life?

And we have one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, to thank for this. You see, several years ago I attended one of Kennedy’s seminars just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. He covered the topic of internal resistance – something I know is holding back many ETR readers.

Dan said, “The failure to act is much more often the product of inner, emotional resistance than external resistance. To move forward you must give up your story, whether it is excuses about your childhood, lack of education, your ‘bad luck’, your unsupportive family, your low metabolism, where you live, etc., etc.”

It’s time to give up your excuses. It’s time to overcome your natural inclinations of holding back and staying in your comfort zone. It’s time to Man-Up.

It’s harsh, but true. As Kennedy explained, what separates the leaders from the strugglers is often confidence and follow-through, both of which can be derailed by internal resistance. That’s when he taught me “The Exercise”.

Answering these questions is tough on the Ego, but the answers could change your life (if you take action on them). Take the following mental challenge:

1) Ask yourself “The Question”:

“Where you would like to be and have known you would like to be but aren’t?”

2) Be brutally specific and honest.

3) Now list why you are NOT there.

4) Next, identify the changes you need to make.

5) Then take massive action!

Don’t let another year go by stuck in the same place!

You must identify the causes of your internal resistance. Ask yourself “Why?” you want something but refuse to act in congruence with achieving it.

Either say “no” to achievement OR dig in and get to the bottom of the persistent incongruence between what you say and what you do. It is OK to admit you are not willing to pay the price – and by doing so, that will stop self-sabotage. Once you know the enemy, then you can work on overcoming it.

Listen, I know Kennedy can be a little gruff and grumpy, but he speaks the truth and has your best interests at heart. In fact, it’s almost like he’s channeling the wise philosophers of Ancient Greece. I’m currently re-reading a book called, “The Art of Living”, which is a translation of teachings from the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus. In it, I discovered this wisdom:

“Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws, as if it were indeed sinful to compromise them. Don’t mind if others don’t share your convictions. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.”

Take the challenges set forth by Kennedy and Epictetus.

Identify what is holding you back.

Release the brakes.

Become the Big Self and Limitless Leader that I know you can be.

Overcome your obstacles. Defeat your internal resistance. Never give up on what is important to you. So much can be accomplished with a long-term vision and resilience to short term setbacks. If you persist and never give in, you WILL succeed. You can have the life of your dreams while helping and transforming the lives of millions.

Get out there and take action today. Throw the rock of helping into the pond of transformation and watch as the ripples take shape.

Change a life today – starting with yours.

If you need to make a change in your health, start here with my biggest challenge ever to you

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com