Updated: Aug 16, 2020
#1: Focus on Long-Term Success
Becoming a superhero takes time, but it's your small everyday choices that get you there.
When I exercise, I know I'm not going to get back in shape overnight. I'm probably not even going to be totally fit in a few months, or maybe a year. But that's okay, because that's not really what I'm focusing on. I don't want to just have abs again or just lose 15 pounds (although, I mean, yeah, let's do that too). I want to become a superhero.
You know those great montages in superhero movies? Sometimes you see them in spy movies or cop movies too. It's that scene toward the beginning of the movie where the beat-down, out-of-shape underdog realizes their potential and gets to work. This spans weeks or months or sometimes years, and you see the character become the hero.
They work hard with their teacher/mentor, training their mind, body, and spirit to be strong and hero-esque. They work out, eat well, read and study great texts, and expand what they are capable of. There's an inspiring song ringing out in the background. Man, I'd love to know what movie scene comes to mind for you (Rocky? Mulan? Dirty Dancing?).
Whatever it is, this scene is the one I often think of when I do my superhero training. I work out, it gets hard, and I repeat to myself "superhero training." I meditate and it's frustrating and boring, and I think "superhero training." I know I want to go great places and that it takes time and effort to get there. I'm not going to be perfect, but I can certainly take one step at a time.
This is tough in theory but easy in practice. Essentially, you are focusing on the long-term solution versus the short-term fix, and people tend to hate that. If you could get to where you want to be tomorrow, that would be super awesome. The fact is, though, most short-term 'fixes' just don't last. Fad diets are difficult to maintain, and people tend to gain weight back once they stop. Grand New Year's resolutions don't last.
Besides, even if you could actually fix one aspect of your life (lose 20 pounds, get a boyfriend, get out of debt), it's still just one step in the right direction. It might be a very good thing, but don't fall into the trap of thinking "I'll be happy when… if I can just get…" You won't be. You'll fix one thing and then move onto the next thing to be dissatisfied about.
You deserve more. You deserve better. You deserve to feel great in your body, have power over your mind and potential, feel joyful and grateful for the wonders that you have, give and receive love like a rockstar, access the money and opportunities you desire, and so much more.
Yes, focusing on long-term success will take patience. But that's not how I think about it. It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Every single step I take makes me a better version of myself, and, therefore, I can be marginally better, happier, and more energetic every. single. day. Every time I eat broccoli or drink a glass of water, get enough sleep, do a quick workout, or call my mom, I'm in training to become a superhero, and I'm a little bit more powerful and capable and brilliant and kind.
#2: Instill Daily Habits for 1% Wins
I don't want to commit to a strenuous exercise schedule or sign up for a bunch of new classes or volunteer every day. I mean, if you're down for it, good on ya. I just don't work that way. I have a demanding full-time job; friends, family, and a boyfriend to devote time to; and I really appreciate the down time I'm afforded to take care of myself, grow in solitude, and, yes, watch Netflix.
The best thing I realized about success is that tiny purposeful steps are the meaningful progress that we need. It is a lot easier to do a 10-minute task than an every-day-for-the-rest-of-your-life task. It's easier to make a meal that's mostly veggies and protein than to "start eating healthier." It's easier to do a 20-minute high-intensity exercise video at home than to "start working out and consistently going to the gym." Short-term commitments rock. You must let go of your perfectionism.
So I'm all about the 1% wins. If I plan to go to the gym for an hour four times a week, it's just not going to happen. Sorry bod. For too long, that meant I didn't work out at all, but that doesn't have to be the case. By finding quick, easy exercises I can pop into my day (not just for physical health, but for mental and social and environmental health and so much more), I can head toward being a superhero one small step at a time. I can do that.
Research on habits tells us that improving (or deteriorating) habits seem small alone, but they compound over time. When we repeat small bad choices, over and over again, these small choices and excuses create larger declines and personal issues. On the contrary, when we repeat small good choices, over and over again, these small choices build personal integrity and bring us closer every day to our superhero potential. Therefore, our success doesn’t come so much from incredible life-changing circumstances as much as these daily positive habits.
This is brilliant if you think about it. It doesn’t matter where you are now. You could be reading this because you’re in the pits and really really need help, or you could be a total rockstar and you just want to work on one small aspect of your life. Either way, it’s all good. You don’t have to be so worried about where you are today, because what matters is your trajectory. If you instill small, daily positive habits, that trajectory is going to be going up, and you’re on your way to stardom (whatever that might mean for you).
#3: YOU ARE AMAZING (It’s All About Your Mindset)
Your mindset isn't going to change overnight. You're not going to be confident and proud and joyfully energetic tomorrow, or next week, or even if you try to instill a ton good habits in one month. It might take a while. But, that's okay, because we know that becoming a superhero takes time.
While we are working on our 1% wins, we also have to work on making 1% wins with our mindset. Because you don't become a superhero just by being fit, eating well, and meditating. You become a superhero also by retraining your mind. Our minds are super awesome; they allow us to learn and grow, they keep us safe and warn us of trouble, and they make trivia a lot more fun.
But our minds are also kinda harsh sometimes. They tell us lies, they stress us out, they focus on the negative more than the positive. They're like a toxic relationship, and we feed their negativity and believe their lies and allow them to grow and have the power. But that's just silly, because you know who has all the power? Superheroes.
Don't Aim for Perfection
For years, I waited around on the perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect man, friends, life, everything. Then I learned - that’s not how it works. I was wrong. Life is not actually a romantic comedy. When you start to think that there’s one perfect thing or person out there that’s going to make you feel totally happy and fulfilled and satisfied, you’re just wrong.
Life doesn’t work that way. I have a job that I love; it’s stressful and crazy and sometimes I am more satisfied with it than others. I have a man I love, and I choose to work hard every day at the relationship so that it is strong and lasting. It’s not always easy, and neither of us are in any way ‘perfect’. I have a life filled with people and activities that I enjoy, but I know that any one of them alone doesn’t make everything better and alright. That’s all on me, baby.
As you begin to read more and make changes, you’ll learn to trust and believe in your own strength by instilling a superhero lifestyle and habits, working on your physical and mental fortitude, and acknowledging your personal power. You’ll learn that you truly are amazing, your life is wonderful, and you have the freedom to continue to increase your energy, relationships, and joy.
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Do you have any secrets of your own that motivate you and make you successful? I'd love to hear your thoughts!