The Three REAL Reasons Why People Succeed

We have featured some pretty incredible success stories on Nerd Fitness:

  • Joe dropping 130 pounds in 10 months
  • Saint going from 60 pounds overweight to less than 10% body fat
  • Staci becoming a powerlifting superhero
  • Stephen dropping 40 pounds in time for his wedding
  • Veronica losing 40 pounds in four months

There’s are a few constants running through each and every success story listed above.  Sure, they all worked on cleaning up their diet and they all followed through with a strength training routine, but neither of those things were the most important reasons why they found success.

I’ve been running Nerd Fitness for close to four years now, and I’ve come to understand why certain people are successful and why others can’t seem to make things happen.  Those that find success possess a few intangibles that can be learned over time, and are DEFINITELY REQUIRED for long-term awesomeness – something we all strive for.

Here are three biggest reasons why Nerd Fitness Rebels succeed where others fail.

Consistent persistence

turtle wearing helmet

Everybody gets healthy in their own way.

We all start out as level 1.0 versions of ourselves, and it takes us a considerable amount of time to get to a point where we’ve leveled up our lives.

I can generally tell within a few lines of an email from a new NF reader who is going to succeed and who is going to struggle:

Those that will struggle start by asking:

“How long is this going to take?” or “If do this for a month, how much weight will I lose?”

They’re interested in the results but have no interest in the process. They get bogged down in the minutiae of EXACTLY how many calories they should eat, the exact amount of protein required, and freak out about the exact number of sets and reps.  They  spend all day reading hundreds of health websites while taking the advice of none of them. They are collecting underpants gnomes.  They get quickly frustrated after non-earth-shattering progress in a few weeks, so they jump from diet fad to diet fad, from one “revolutionary workout plan” bandwagon to the next.  They consistently pick flash and style over persistence and consistency.

Those that will succeed start by doing:  

“Hey Steve, I’ve been following the __________ plan for four months, and here’s my progress!” 

These Rebels understand how just getting started is the best step taken, so they pick a plan, stick with it for months on end, and make adjustments along the way. They don’t send premature emails with sweeping declarations about how successful they will be four months later.  They just freaking DO IT, consistently improving for months and months, and then email me AFTER the fact to share their story.

Joe, one of our most dramatic Nerd Fitness transformations ever, followed through with a plan for ten months to get his results.  He actually didn’t email me until four months AFTER he had stuck with a plan. For Staci, it took a good 18 months of progress before she transformed into the powerlifting superhero that she is today.

Successful Rebels understand that they are NOT on a crash diet, and they’re not following some 6-week get-fit-quick plan. They are making concerted, calculated, and consistent changes, over a long period of time that will become part of their new lives.

Steps backwards are still steps forward

stepping stones

Failure is NOT a bad thing. Failure can be one of the greatest things to ever happen to you…if you learn from it and move forward.

People who struggle to find success: After a diet misstep a few weeks in, they get depressed, give up on themselves, and go back to their old habits because “it’s hopeless.”  Eventually, they work up the motivation to make another effort to get healthy, but they make the same mistakes as last time.  Not surprisingly, when it doesn’t work again, they get even MORE depressed and fall into an even deeper funk.

Those who are successful look at each and every failure as a step forward.  Each time they fall off the ‘get healthy’ wagon, they don’t sit down and make the assumption that “it’s impossible.”  Instead, they get the **** over it, and see that failure is one less method they need to try to get healthy the next time.  They understand that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results, so when they fail at one particular method or strategy, they immediately get back on the horse and try another one.

Saint struggled to reach his level of “healthy;” over the course of two years, he continually failed to transform (mostly by trying the same methods repeatedly).  Now, rather than giving up and calling it hopeless, he took that opportunity to analyze WHY he was failing: counting calories and spending every evening doing more cardio didn’t work for him, so he shifted course and tried strength training and clean eating.  Success.

They put on their hard hats

hard hats

Getting healthy is a long and epic journey, my friend.  Like Frodo walking to Mordor, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

It really comes down to who is properly equipped and mentally prepared to complete the work required to make things happen:

Those that fail give up at the slightest sign of resistance.  They willingly accept that “things got busy” or “I had a bad day” or “I don’t have time,” and then they complain that they can’t seem to get healthy. They get overly excited when the scale reads lower than expected, and then they become inconsolable when the scale moves up a single pound the next week.

Those that succeed?  They put on their “hard hats,” and go to work. No complaints. No excuses.  No feeling sorry for themselves.  Just progress.  They understand there will be good days and bad, busy days and slow days, days filled with awesomeness and days filled with sadness. They don’t allow themselves to ride the roller coaster of emotion.  They just shut up and do work.

When Veronica emailed me to tell me about her progress, it was to tell me that she had been diligent about her workouts and eating for four months.  Same thing happened with Tony – he emailed me to tell me that he had made tremendous progress by being consistent and steadfast with his resolve to live a better life.

Hard hats go on, clocks get punched, and work gets done.

Why will you succeed?

stop start sign

Remember this Rule of the Rebellion: “We don’t care where you came from, only where you’re going.”

I want to know what makes this new version of you different from the old version of you.

Why are you going to succeed now where you have failed in the past?

Life is good: You woke up today, right?

Good, build on that.



photo sources: mountain silhouette, cartoon turtle, stepping stones, hard hats, start stop sign

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  • Penny

    i’ve honestly just stopped obsessing about “what i want to be” or “how i want to look” and am now, instead, focusing on how i want to live.
    i love NF