I recently had the opportunity to spend time with 15 IsaBody Challenge Finalists. I observed them closely, knowing that they beat the odds and achieved success where others fail. I learned that success requires four things:
- The courage to start.
- The discipline to keep going.
- Daily consistent action to get it done.
- The commitment to finish, not simply start.
My husband Jim and I recently returned from Las Vegas and our company’s annual Celebration, where Jim was awarded Runner-Up in this year’s Isabody Challenge. This 16-week transformation Challenge requires you submit before and after photos and a short essay. There are 3 challenges per year, and each one results in 5 IsaBody Finalists. Jim was 1 of 15 finalists out of 35,000 participants for the year. Jim not only Defines Healthy Aging and Transformed His Body, he won $13,000 and two all expense paid trips to Las Vegas and Costa Rica. (for me too!) Pretty outstanding results! I call that success.
One of the most remarkable aspects to me is that for the entire year over 109,000 people started the challenge and 35,000 finished. Only 32% of the people that started this 16-week challenge actually finished it. In studying the habits and mindset of the 15 Finalists, I learned what these successful finishers have in common: courage, discipline, daily consistent action and the commitment to finish.
Whether you are starting a diet, exercise program, writing your first book, pursuing a dream or passion, improving your finances, or even starting a new relationship, courage is the step that moves you to action. Let’s face it, we all struggle with procrastination from time to time. It’s easy to say I’ll start tomorrow, or Monday, or when things I’m less busy or stressed. Sometimes we even put things off because we simply don’t feel like doing them. The reality is, if we wait until we feel like it, we may never get anything done.
I love the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. Basically, as soon as an idea comes to mind, you count backward from 5 and when you get to 1, you launch yourself into action. 5…4…3…2…1 GO! It is a tool that takes practice and can begin with something as simple as getting up in the morning. As soon as the alarm goes off (or you wake up) count backward from 5 and then launch yourself out of bed. I’m a huge fan of habits and this is one of my favorites.
Maybe starting isn’t the hard part for you. You can start, and start, and start again, however it’s the continuation and the sticking with something that you can sometimes struggle with. This is where discipline comes in. It cannot come from something external. It absolutely has to come from within. You have to know WHY you are doing something. Why is it important to you to be healthy? Why do you want to write a book? What will it feel like to grow your savings or investment account? When you keep your reason why at the forefront, you will find yourself making better decisions, creating more consistent daily habits, and practicing the discipline to keep going.
Daily Consistent Action
Once you know your reason for wanting to accomplish something, set a timeframe with deadlines and dates. This is where you keep the finish in mind right from the start. If it is writing a book, the finish may be when you get the first draft to your editor, when you have the first printed copy in your hands, or when you have sold your first 100 copies. If your goal is about health or fitness, it may be when you release a certain amount of pounds, fit into a certain size, or run your first 5k.
Put the date in writing. Make it a challenge, but reasonable. Then work backward, chunking your goal into smaller bite size pieces. Set small tasks that you can get done and feel good about and work with daily consistent action.
Commit to Finish
I’m in the process of writing my first book and never have these steps been more important! I’ve heard from so many people that start writing a book, but years later, they are no closer to finishing it.
- When I decided to write a book about my experience with hysterectomy and surgical menopause combined with the tools I used to find my balance, it took courage to get started. I was writing about a very challenging time in my life and seeing the words on paper made me feel vulnerable and exposed.
- It took discipline to complete the first draft but I committed to finishing it by a certain date. I took daily consistent action in small steps toward my goal.
- I wrote and researched with daily consistent action, taking small steps toward my goal.
- Most of all, I committed to not only start writing a book but finish writing the first draft by a certain date.
Whatever the goal you have for yourself, embrace the courage to start, the discipline to keep going, take daily consistent action, and commit to finishing, not simply starting. The practice of these skills is what will bring you success.