The day you became a successful man

In a society hellbent on being successful nobody ever stops to think about what success is.

Most guys don’t know what success means to them.

All they know is; they want to be successful, so they pursue the things they think that success entails.

Shaped on societies definition, what social media, TV and media tell them it is.

Blinkered by the superficial and oblivious to the fundamental.

They pursuit superficial goals and wind up leading empty lives.

Bereft of integrity. Devoid of authenticity.

Driving a fancy car to a job they hate.

Returning home to a loveless home.

Backloading their life plans for ‘someday’ that never comes.

Exhausted from the poor habits they’ve picked up.

And broken by the stress they’ve chosen not to deal with.

From the outside it looks like Nirvana

But on the inside it’s a sesspit of misery.

That’s why it’s not success…

…if you’ve neglected yourself in the process!

If the means has only been to justify the end.

Then you’ve missed the point!

Real success comes from embracing the process.

Tests of resolve, the forging of confidence, improving oneself physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Having a sense of fulfillment from your livlihood, your purpose.

A loving relationship, raising a family and being a strong rolemodel.

Everything else is just noise.

How to get over fear

The common misconception is that you shouldn’t be afraid when it comes to taking action.

Especially with something that takes you outside of your comfort zone.

When you mention to someone that you want to do something. But you’re scared about doing it. They’ll give you some well intentioned, but terrible advice, like;

‘Don’t be afraid’ or ‘There’s nothing to be scared of’.

Because most people work on the assumption that you can turn fear off. And high achieving people have no fear because they’ve turned it off.

This is why fear is one of our most misunderstood emotions.

Which is a shame, because it holds so many people back from achieving their goals.

So I would like to help you understand fear.

You need to understand that the Palaeolithic software that our minds are running, is skewed towards fear.

Back in the day (hunter gatherer) fear was a more valuable emotion.

The cavemen that were fearful of the large shadow is the long grass. Lasted a lot longer than those caveman who weren’t that fussed.

The fearful would avoid the situation their ‘spidy senses’ alerted them to.

Whereas those that were fearless became the lunch of some prehistoric beast. And their genes would be unapologetically weeded out out of existence.

Which meant our ancestors survived, procreated and passed on their fear driven operating system.

Which means that fear will never go away.

It waits in the bushes for you!

And as soon as you try something outside of your comfort zone fear pops up. The red light that sees you jump on the brakes. And you stop yourself.

It feels like an automatic reaction. Like something you have no control over.

And after enough times of experiencing this, you form the belief of ‘I can’t do it because I’m afraid’.

Or ‘if I’m afraid, something’s not right and I shouldn’t do it’.

Here’s where I’m going to ask you to address what you currently understand about fear.

So you can get over it and start taking action!

When you’re about to do something outside of your comfort zone. It’s completely normal that fear pounces!

In fact it would be weird if you didn’t experience fear in that scenario. The absence of it means you likely have some abnormality.

(Or your ancestors where one of those Laissezfaire cavemen who luckily made it through).

I used to give into the fear a lot.

Over the years I missed out on countless opportunities from capitulating to this archaic software.

I’d find myself stuck. Wanting to take action, but too afraid.

Until someone helped me think about it differently.

Which changed everything!

And with this mindset I began doing things that fear had previously stopped me from doing.

Then as I became more confident with my updated software I started testing myself. Doing things to evoke the fear and see how easy I could push past it.

I took on the fear of being in front of a crowd of people wearing only my underwear (that all too familiar nightmare). Through doing a bodybuilding competition. Which saw me in shorts on stage in front of hundreds of people.

I got over my fear of swimming in the sea or any open water (probably from watching Jaws too young). Through open water swimming.

My fear of a getting in a fight through Boxing and Judo.

My fear of speaking in front of people through public speaking arrangements.

I was terrified before all of those events, but then I took that first step.

On to the stage,

into the lake,

into the ring

and soon onto the mountains (to take on my fear of heights).

Because as I’ve come to learn. As soon as you to take action…

…fear disappears!

And thanks to this new mindset I recognise that fear doesn’t mean I have to stop.

Because it’s not a red light…

…it’s an amber light!

And you have a choice to make when it appears.

You can stop which means the light goes red.

Or you can give yourself a green light and start doing the things you want to do!

The Disciplined Man 90 Day Coaching Program

5 steps to achieving your goals

When it comes to achieving your goals consistency is the secret sauce. But it’s an acquired taste.

Here are 5 ways to consistently take action and get what you want.

If you are always setting goals but never achieving them you need to read this!

You’ve been led to believe that you should be motivated. And whoever is the most motivated wins.

It’s bullshit!

The truth is, those that succeed consistently take action regardless of how they feel about doing it.

Motivation may get you started but it’s consistency that will see you finish!

1. Small steps

The theory is simple:

Follow this plan for x amount of weeks and get results.

The reality is hard:

You’re struggling to keep it going for more than a few days.

Start off with the minimum effective dose.

Do the least amount of work that will result in progression.

Once you’re consistent with that amount then you can add more.

2. Acceptance

What you want is on the other side of the things you don’t want to do.

We live in a the digital age where stimulation is only a click away; Nirvana for the monkey brain.

This need for things to be exciting is counter productive.

Get comfortable with doing the uncomfortable/ boring things.

Make peace with the fact that there will be things you dislike doing on a daily basis.

If you imagine that happening 1,000 times in a row all of a sudden it becomes immaterial.

Because it’s expected. You know it’s going to happen every single day. You’re mentally prepared.

3. Your success/failure is found in your routine (or absence of one).

Until you’re consistent you won’t be able to tell is its working or not.

Without a routine you’ll be stuck on a plateau, constantly taking one step forward then one step back.

The greatest routine will feature these habits:

  • Consistent waking time
  • Early morning sunlight
  • Early cardio
  • Nutritious meals
  • Being in nature
  • Walking
  • Weight lifting
  • Journaling
  • A bedtime routine
  • Consistent bedtime

4. Become a Time Lord

Once I replaced:

TV with Online learning.

Radio with Audible.

Netflix with exercise.

The news with writing.

My productivity went to a whole new level.

From making these swaps I improved my wellbeing created more time and made use of dead time.

5. Make it emotive

Make sure you know why you are working towards your goal.

What bigger purpose is your goal a part of?

If it’s important enough then you’ll have an endless reserve of energy that you can tap into when needed.

Reframe your actions as ‘musts’ not ‘shoulds’ i.e. ‘I must do x so I can achieve my goal, which is serving my purpose.’

6. Bonus; Accountability

It’s all too easy to let yourself off the hook!

Be accountable to someone!

The American Society of Training and Development found that if you commit to someone.

And you have regular accountability appointments with that person.

You will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.

How to improve the quality of your life

To achieve this you need to improve your habits. I’ll explain why.

Years ago I was caught in the ‘lottery win’ mindset.

I convinced myself that overnight success was the result of some windfall. A brush with good fortune.

This was the reason people had aquired their life situation.

What didn’t help was that the media, movies and tabloids would all cement this notion.

But as time passed and I started researching, reading, experimenting. And speaking to the most revered in my industry (people who had achieved great levels of success). I began to form a different hypothesis.

One that was at the other end of the spectrum to ‘overnight success’.

That it takes a lot of time for overnight success to occur. It is actually the culmination of months or years of work.

It’s the small efforts repeated daily that led to a better quality of life.

I’m talking about the small actions that we don’t even think about, because they are habitual. The decisions we make in autopilot mode.

But these are the decisions that shape our future.

So how do we address them? And improve the quality of our lives?

Well, there are some steps, 4 actually. Steps that you can climb up to make change inevitable.

1. The first step is the unconscious incompetence stage.

This is when we’re making bad decisions and we aren’t even aware we’re doing it.

We just know that things aren’t working out.

Here’s were something as being cognisant can help. Bringing tracking into the equation. For our sleep, our diet, our exercise and our stress.

‘that sounds like a lot of time‘. I hear you say.

Oh contrare mon frère’.

It’s no extra time! – you’re already doing this stuff so you just record at the time.

After this you’ll then enter into the next stage which is

3. The conscious incompetence.

You start to look at the actual decision and data. It makes it clear.

This is where you are aware that you’re not making optimal decions

You can see that you’re not adhering to the plan you have, if you even have a plan.

You can see where poor choices are actually hindering you.

This is the ‘wow I didn’t realise I was having that many calories’

or ‘I thought I was getting more sleep than that’.

‘Maybe I could cancel my gym membership because I’ve only been once this month’

and the classic – ‘this app can’t be working right’.

It is, and they are! Your ego is just having a hard time coming to terms with your choices.

Remember our thoughts are not the truth but rather stories that we get caught up in!

This is the cold hard truth slapping you across the face, the reality punch to the gut!

An uncomfortable period where you realise things are not as they seem. Or rather as you ‘believed’

Quickly moving on to the next stage 🙂

3. The conscious competence stage

This is where your decisions are improving. Due to some changes you’ve implemented (through self or professional guidance).

You’re making better decisions. But they’re not automatic yet. It still requires effort and discipline to make these decisions.

This is a nice stage as you can actually see change occurring with your actions. You feel good from making better decisions.

4. Then you arrive at the unconscious competence stage.

After enough time in the previous stage. These new benficial life changing decisions become automatic.

You’ve likely amended or introduced a routine which makes actions habitual. And in this ascension you’ve form a new identity.

You see yourself as the person who eats healthy, goes to the gym, gets 8 hours sleep. And is relaxed from practicing mindfulness exercises.

You’re energetic and ethused. You have more clarity and you’re making better decisions as this 2.0 version of you.

Which stage are you in?

How I found my purpose

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you why I do what I do.

The genesis of becoming a health consultant.

It wasn’t a result of happenstance. It stemmed from an event that occurred in my formative years.

At the time my dad had a senior job in the city which saw him start very early and finish very late.

I didn’t see all that much of him. Some times at the weekend but those periods were fleeting.

This seemed to be the norm for the schooling part of my life.

And over time this high pressure senior role took its toll on him.

His energy levels declined, his stress increased and he was having more doctors appointments.

They were concerned with his health.

Turns out that chronic high stress, zero activity. A diet that resembled a 5 year olds birthday party. And a bullfrogs sleep routine wasn’t all that conducive to a healthy living.

Who knew?!

Reality hit home when the cardiologist said that with without open heart surgery a cardiac event was imminent!

It wasn’t a choice. It was an ultimatum. Surgery or you’ll be shuffling off this mortal coil!

It seemed like only days later he was checked in to hospital.

They opened him up and veins were taken from various other parts of his body and replaced those blocked ones around his heart.

That’s what I was told anyway, this period in my life was a bit blurry.

Although I do remember, very vividly, coming home after school – and finding myself alone a fair bit.

As my mum would be at his bedside at the hospital.

I’d make meals for myself and my mum for when she would return late at night.

It was all a bit surreal. And I didn’t understand the severity of the situation. Not until I went to visit my dad.

I remember it was one of the first times I’d been into the City.

Everything was overwhelming, the amount of people, the buildings the noise and the pace of it all.

Several hours had past in what felt like only a few minutes. And we had reached the station adjacent the hospital.

I remember walking in to the ward and seeing my dad.

I barely recognised him

When I sat down beside him I remember being asked questions by the doctor and nurses.

Light hearted chit chat they’d developed from years of developing a bedside manner.

But I didn’t respond. I could muster any words. My mum had to respond for me. As I was transfixed on my dad.

You know when you feel yourself come out of yourself, in a malaise?! That sort of thing.

I was starring at the person that was lying there in the hospital bed hooked up to the machines, and wiring.

It was almost like he wasn’t a human but part of a machine.

The Doctors and my mum trying to lighten the mood. Regaling me with stories of his projectile vomiting post surgery.

But this didn’t permeate the trance I was in.

I remember feeling numb.

And then I felt anger. Angry that this had happened

That he’d let this happen, that he’d chose this.

It wasn’t an unfortunate set of circumstances or genetics

It was the choices he’d made compounded over time that had culminated in this.

This fucked up situation where I didn’t know if he was coming home or not.

I remember the cessation of our visit and being prompted to say goodbye by my mum. Walking through the hospital wing towards the elevator.

I remember this very clearly. Because that was the defining moment.

It was when I told myself ‘that was not going to happen to me’.

That it was on me to look after myself. I must learn from other peoples mistakes as well as my own.

And my dad was exhibit A.

It felt like this experience had knocked me out of the status quo lifestyle that everyone was living. And into a parallel dimension running alongside it.

An Anthropological dimension. From which I would extrapolate societal norms and collate information.

Whilst doing this I started to realise that it wasn’t just my dad that was in poor health.

It was my friend’s dads too.

And men I was hearing about in the news (back when I used to read/watch it). So many men were struggling.

But no one was talking about the elephant in the room.

Everyone was accepting it as the norm. I suppose when everyone is sick it’s no longer considered a disease.

Fast forward man years from then to today.

I look back at this experience and whilst it was difficult and frustrating at the time.

I was also grateful that I had gone through it.

Because I had found my purpose; to save men from themselves.

To help them develop the discipline they need. To elude the temptations of modern living (which have become the imperceptible demise of men).

It’s this purpose that gets me up in the morning and keeps me going late in the evening.

I’ve become more enthused about efficiency, productivity and lifestyle habits. Because I need the energy to to propel me through the day and work on my mission.

And the beauty of it; the things I do to work on my purpose are self perpetuating. They give me more energy.

Not only that but the job satisfaction I get from.

Helping others to have more energy, and manage their health so they can give 100% to their passion, is incredible.

Knowing they’ve made an important transition in their life and set an important example for the children they’re raising.

Here’s a testimonial from one of my clients, Alex:

Not only has Andy helped my physical health (I’ve managed to lose 10 kg in 3 months), he’s helped my mental health too.

His constant praise, encouragement and holding me accountable for my actions has meant I’m now more motivated and active.

I’ve started writing a book I’ve been wanting to write for ages, and now feel like I have more time and energy to pursue other interests.

I’m even starting to feel better about myself whenever I see a mirror. I’ve even seen some photos of me recently that I haven’t instantly hated 🙂

Given my time again, I would hire Andy in a heartbeat.

How to be more energetic

If you’re a driven person it’s because you’ve found your purpose.

Your purpose is what gets you up in the morning. It gives you something to work towards.

This is why looking after yourself is even more important.

Because you’ll need the energy to to propel you through the day and work on your mission.

And you don’t want to let your health tear you away from your purpose and see you miss out on achieving what you wanted.

There are many ways that health factors can take you off course.

Stress is one of the biggest obstacles. Chronic stress can derail even the best health intentions.

New research shows that stress and obesity are more intertwined than previoulsy thought.

I’ll break this research down. And give you actionable steps to make progress, despite a stressful environment.

How stress can lead to weight gain

Stress can affect a bunch of “systems” that are involved in weight control.

What’s more, these aren’t isolated effects. Each system is a feedback loop that can affect all the others.

Let’s get into the details.

*Cognition Stress can mess with your mind; executive function and self-regulation. 

Combined these include mental skills like thinking, planning, and organizing. As well as the ability to focus and manage your emotions.

*Behaviors Stress influences eating, physical activity, and sleep. And these behaviors all have their own feedback loops too.

Lack of sleep can hinder physical activity, and lack of physical activity can disrupt sleep.

*Physiology The research outlines three ways stress might affect you physiologically:

  • It ramps up stress hormones. This can make you want to eat more, and can also tell your body to store fat.
  • Stress can increase your brain’s appetite for “rewards”. Feel good chemicals, like dopamine. Which can drive you to eat foods that are highly palatable (fun food), or seek out alcohol or drugs.
  • Stress may affect your microbiome, which could make you more susceptible to weight gain.

*Biochemistry Stress may also impact blood chemicals related to weight control.

Specifically, leptin, ghrelin and neuropeptide Y, which affect hunger, appetite, and fat storage.

*Weight stigma The researchers define weight stigma as “the sum of prejudice, discrimination. And negative attitudes aimed at those perceived as overweight.”

And guess what? It creates another feedback loop!

Obesity leads to weight stigma which then creates… more stress. And round we go.

You might call it a vicious cycle. Or a nasty web. Or one big giant cluster $%#!

So… what’s this all mean for you?

And what can you do about it? 

Part 2: Important takeaways

1. Look beyond eating advice and nutrition plans. If stress is wreaking havoc in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle to make progress toward your goals. No matter how on point your nutrition or workout program may be. 

Instead…

2. Work on the biggest problem first. Find your or have a professional find your “bottleneck” or “weakest link” so you can unlock the fastest and most effective path toward your goals. 

This often means going beyond nutrition and fitness. 

So if working on food first isn’t working, dig deeper. Look at how you might develop stress management. Stress tolerance, and emotional regulation skills.

3. Work towards healthy stress-reduction strategies. When you, or your coach, identify that stress management is your biggest problem, here are some strategies you can use:

  • Meditation. Even a few minutes can have a measurable effect on stress levels. Apps like Headspace, Calm, or Waking Up are great tools.
  • Nature walks. Simply going for a daily park walk can work wonders.
  • Massage. Whether it’s self massage with a foam roller, or paying a professional, massage helps you relax, and fast.

Simple methods that can see huge changes.

Check out my 90 Day Program – The Disciplined Man

How to set a fitness goal

Many people get this wrong. So I’m going to share with you some tips with regards setting fitness goals. That will ensure that you stay on track to achieve your goals.

Every sporting event/physical pursuit I have undertaken, be it a marathons, power lifting, bodybuilding, open swimming or this year mountaineering.

I know it is going to be a challenge.

When I book it in there is always an element of doubt, a fear of failure.

The knowing that I’m going to be bad at it to start off with.

And that’s the reason I do it.

You see I’m not expecting it to be easy.

I’m expecting it to be hard.

But I know that having this event this will put a little bit of pressure on myself.

I know I have a deadline to work towards.

I know this will up the ante with my training and preparation.

That it will give me focus and clarity. I’ll be applying my efforts intentionally, specifically towards a task.

And that’s when I’m at my happiest. When I’m working on something, building something.

It could be my fitness, my business, relationships.

And in the pursuit of said thing and seeing improvement along the way is my Nirvana.

How to stay consistent with exercise and diet.

This is the most common problem I encounter. ‘How can I stay consistent’ along with ‘how do I stay motivated?’.

It’s not that you don’t have the energy.

It’s that you don’t have the clarity!

It’s vital to have clarity with what you’re working towards. Because it’s going to be stressful if you are arbitrarily doing it, knowing it’s not for you or wishing you were doing something else.

Give yourself something to work towards. An event, a reason for your training. A carrot at the end of the stick!

BTW, this is on top of knowing your why. As I’ve mentioned before it’s important to know your why, your core driver. The underlying motivation (mine being my children and setting an example for them).

And I implore you to find your why for getting fitter, stronger healthier and happier.

Once you know that the next step is to direct it.

Meaningless exercise or dieting, things that you don’t enjoy will seldom last.

But if you put in place something to work towards that will give you focus and clarity. Then you’ll find the work easier.

Having a goal in place, or a milestone (whatever sporting pursuit/activity it is) is super powerful.

It will give you focus plus an all important deadline. Without a deadline you’ll never push yourself to execute said task.

Every year I’ve put in place a pursuit/event. A marathon. A weight lifting comp. A bodybuilding competition. A mountaineering expedition.

This gives me direction and clarity. This means my training never seems Sisyphean. Because I know that I’m working towards something.

Once you know your why and you give yourself a goal. You’ll have that clarity.

Then you’ll be unstoppable.

How you can reach your goals

Most people don’t know how to reach their goals or realise their true potential.

They think if they do this, a bit of that, then some more of this that magically whatever they want will fall in their lap.

That’s not how it works!

You see, there’s only one thing that must change (if you want to achieve a predetermined goal that you’ve set for yourself).

Your habits!

Take fitness as an example:

The vast majority of guys who want to get in shape will go the gym.

They go for a while and assume that one day they’ll wake up looking like Arnold in his prime. Or Brad Pitt in Fight Club (whichever floats their boat).

They put no conscious thought into changing their habits.

They won’t adjust their eating habits. And they’ll remain ignorant about their stress levels.

And a short while of after not seeing their desired results they’ll quit.

What I work on with my clients is getting them to focus on their HABITS, not their goals.

Their habits are will get them them to their goal.

I cannot stress enough the importance of your habits and routine.

Do they match your goals?

If someone looked at what you do each day would they be able to accurately guess what you’re trying to achieve?

Andrew

The Fitness Gentleman

P.S. If you feel as though you are ready to move the mental roadblocks stopping you from strengthening your body and your mindset so you can reach your goals. I invite you to a Free Discovery Call here where we can have a chat about your goals and how you can go about achieving them.

How to build motivation

When I talk to people about High Performance, sometimes the word “motivation” comes up.

“I’ve tried all kinds of diets and fitness regimens,” they might say.

Shortly followed by “but I can never seem to keep up the motivation.”

The reality is High Performance has nothing to do with motivation. It’s definitely not the magic key that unlocks your potential. As so many online gurus would have you believe.

High Performance is formed from the process of building habits. Specific actions in your daily routine linked to your goals.

It’s about pursuing your potential for yourself and those that matter most.

It requires a plan, a roadmap, that sees you fine tune your actions. It’s not something you do overnight.

Think about what athletes do (some I’ve coached). They follow a specialized training program. Designed to improve their physical, psychological, technical skill set.

They support their training with habits such as getting restful and restorative sleep. They eat nutritious foods, build mental resilience through mindfulness, and foster supportive relationships.

Notice that motivation wasn’t mentioned once.

That’s because motivation is unreliable. And if you rely on it you are going to be inconsistent with your actions.

Long-term success is built upon small daily actions that move the you closer to your goal.

Modern neuroscience even demonstrates that from these small progressions you’ll be internally rewarded. Through a built-in neurochemical mechanism.

You don’t need superhuman motivation to elevate your performance (because it doesn’t exist).

The process isn’t reserved for gold medallists or billionaire entrepreneurs. All you need is a desire to pursue your potential.

If that’s something you’re interested in click here.