To really believe that you "can" achieve a goal that you have defined, requires that you can visualize yourself obtaining it. Whether it be adding size to your legs or getting that 6-pack (or even 8-pack) abdominals, you must see yourself having obtained them. After every competition, I have found success by taking a moment each day to visualize how I wanted to look for the next competition.
Using critiques from the judges, my peers, as well as my own personal criticisms, I built an image in my mind of how I would look for the next competition. Remember the saying, "You have to see it to believe it"? It has worked for me. Every great accomplishment was initially just a simple vision that became a reality.
Think about it. Everything that you accomplish, whether it is owning that "dream" home, driving that "dream" car, having that "dream" job, it all started with a vision as to what that "dream" was. The same applies in bodybuilding. Have a clear and realistic vision and make that vision "real".
"Tenacious D" is what they call me. A fitting description I guess. Tenacity is defined by Webster's as "steadfast singleness of purpose, as in the pursuit of a goal, despite difficulties or obstacles." This is the doctrine that is adopted by anyone who has managed to succeed after experiencing failure. Many times I failed in my attempts to achieve my goals in bodybuilding. I was told that I needed to be more defined.
I was told I needed more rounded shoulders. I was told I needed "blocked" abs. I was told I needed deeper separations in my legs. All these things could have made me throw my hands up and quit. That would have been the easy way out. Instead, it became my driving force. What I first thought to be de-motivating criticisms were transformed into helpful hints to success.
As I mentioned in my previous article, take the criticisms to heart and be determined to improve the next time. Your tenacity will be tested time and time again and will get stronger as you go. Just don't give up! Strengthen your resolve to overcome obstacles that are placed in front of you.
Developing and maintaining a consistent lifstyle was key in my first year of bodybuilding. It didn't come easy and it was a real learning experience. In order to provide quality-time in every aspect of my life and at the same time achieve my bodybuilding goals, I had to be consistent.I developed a plan that detailed my daily schedule.
My schedule was identical Monday-Sunday for the most part. I would eat my meals at around the same times every day. I would train immediately after work each day. I would practice posing following my training sessions. I would prepare for the next day.
My life was pretty much like clockwork. This made it easier to accomplish all that I needed to accomplish in only 24 hours. Boring you might say? Sometimes it was, however, the benefits far out-weighed my boredom.
During, the old spontaneous and inconsistent lifestyle I led, I was far less disciplined when it came to diet and training. It was nothing for me to go out on a Friday night, have a hamburger and fries (Biggy Size of course!), and then go to a club and have a few beers. I'd be out so late that it was impossible for me to make it to the gym the next day much less make it out of bed to eat that early meal I needed after fasting all night.
The fact that I became more consistent led to more discipline which allowed me to follow my plan. I'm now able to balance all the interests I have without sacrificing my bodybuilding goals and I don't even have to think about it. It has become my lifestyle.
It is important to remember those who helped to get you where you are. Many times it is easy to take for granted those that supported you when you needed it the most. Whether it be God, family, friends, co-workers, training partners, it is paramount to show your appreciation for them being there for you during the hard-times (ie. carb-depletion hell!).
In saying that, I'd like to thank those who helped me when I didn't realize I needed it. I want to thank those who put up with me when I was hard to deal with. I want to thank each and every person that I competed with. Without you (my peers) we could not exist. We make each other better each time. You are who push me to be the best that "I" can be.
I'd like to thank the promoters for doing what they do so that we have a place to showcase our hard work. I'd like to thank each and every judge who takes time after a competition to stay and provide constructive criticisms to those not afraid to ask. I'd like to thank Roger and Sandy of Beverly International for taking time to assist me with my diet. During the final week of dieting for the Governor's Cup, I went through a time where I almost gave in to my cravings.
I emailed Roger about it and he took the time not only to respond but told me about a competitor who had just lost an overall championship that he otherwise would have won had he just stayed on his diet. That was all I needed to hear. Finally, thank you bodybuilding.com for providing a medium so we have a place to share experiences, learn from, and interact with other bodybuilders throughout the world!
My last success factor involves inspiration. When my father passed away I was inspired "spiritually." Up until that day, I always took life for granted. I always put things off for another day thinking that someday I would try this or try that. If it didn't involve some immediate financial benefit, I felt it could wait. After his death, I realized what only those who lose a person close to them realize.
I realized that life is only temporary and I should make every effort to make all my dreams come true. I remember my father being upset one day during his war with cancer and expressing to me that he wished he had just a little more time to enjoy his retirement. He had retired a little over a year before he passed. As I remember, he worked hard all of his life. Sometimes he held two jobs just to make "ends meet".
Can you imagine how it would feel if you worked almost your entire life expecting to retire in order to then pursue your dreams but then your life is cut short? It was what made me decide, if I can help it, I will never look back and say, "I wish I had ...". That is the most valuable gift he could ever give me and I don't know if he knew it. it. Make all your dreams come true.
Stay tuned for my next article where I talk about my training and diet!!!
"There are no failures in life. Only people who give up to soon."