Improving your body and life isn’t a quick, easy or magical process. There is no pill, strategy or tactic that can replace hard work. If you want success, you need to confront these ten inconvenient truths today.

1. Education does not begin or end in a textbook or classroom.

If you’re not willing to wrap your head around that simple fact, the Real World will eat you alive.

2. Agonizing over the past accomplishes nothing.

If you are already in a situation that cannot be undone, then what is the point in stressing out about it? Your time would be better spent hustling forward in the direction of a better future. Look at every new day as a fresh opportunity to improve yourself.

3. People pleasing is an exercise in futility.

I hate to break it to you, but there are certain people who won’t care about you, no matter what you do. And besides, if a person likes you for a phony version of yourself that bears no resemblance to the authentic person you are, why bother? As Amanda McRae said, “It is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.”

4. Affirmations are helpful…

I love affirmations. They are a great way to keep your goals fresh on your memory and remind yourself of what is most important to you. Just in case you’re curious, here’s one of my favorite affirmations of late (you’re welcome to borrow it if you want to):

“I am loving, mindful, deliberate, and strong.”

I aspire to behave in a way that reflects those four traits every single day, whether it is in the form of writing an article like this or coaching a personal training client. When I feel overburdened with stress, or lose sight of my purpose, I repeat this affirmation until I get back on track.

I would recommend coming up with your own affirmation that expresses what kind of person you would like to be, or how you hope to add value to the world. You could write it down in a place you’ll see it regularly, and say your affirmation out-loud a few times as soon as you wake up to get your head in the right place at the top of every morning.

5. …but affirmations are pointless if they aren’t accompanied with consistent hustle.

All of that said, it is delusional to think you can “affirm your way” to the future you desire. If you want success, your positive thoughts must be accompanied with positive action.

6. You might be a sheep.

The temptation to conform is no doubt heavy, but remember that everybody you admire thought outside of the box (and probably broke a lot of the norms prevalent in their society while they were at it). Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright brothers, Gandhi, and even Jesus Christ would have accomplished nothing if they resigned themselves to the self-defeating belief of, “Oh well, I guess that’s just the way things are.”

We don’t need more spineless conformists in this world; we need more brave, creative original thinkers who aren’t afraid to be authentic and swim against the current, no matter what “society” has to say about it. Dare to be different, because the world needs the unique gift only you can offer.

7. Effort trumps “luck” every time.

My mom is a walking, talking example of “effort” because she illustrates how important it is for success. Below is a single sentence summary of how effort works:

If you want to be successful, you must put forth a high level of effort for a long period of time (if this isn’t true, then you’re probably not thinking big enough).

What does this have to do with my mom? She is ALWAYS winning free tickets to concerts, football games, Nascar races, wrestling matches, and so on (if it’s a sport, she likes it). A lot of people call her lucky, but they’re totally missing the point. It’s not luck, it’s effort. She loves to listen to a local classic rock radio station that does contests and giveaways very frequently. They usually go something like, “If you’re caller #9, you win tickets to see this super fun thing!” Instead of saying, “I’d never win,” as 90% of people do, she picks up the phone and dials in… every. single. time.

Does she lose a lot? Well, yeah. But since she’s putting forth a higher level of effort than other people, she just so happens to be wiping the floor with them. Even if you drop the ball or fall on your face while you’re pursuing your goal, it’s nothing to freak out about. The more shots you take, the better your odds of winning. Are you going to take your shot today?

8. If you wouldn’t say it about another person, then you shouldn’t think it about yourself.

Would you ever tell a person you love that they are a stupid, fat, ugly loser who can’t do anything right? Of course you wouldn’t, because it would be an inconsiderate and nasty thing to do. Despite how mean it would be to say things like this to another person, I bet you subject yourself to self-defeating beliefs just like this every single day. Personal growth and transformation cannot happen from a place of self-hate; success happens when you can love and accept yourself as you are, even the flawed or messy parts (hint: believe it or not, these could be the very same things that make you special).

9. Success is reserved for action-takers only.

The best self-help book or article in the world cannot help you if you’re not willing to implement the material in your life; otherwise, you are only wasting your time.

10. It’s not all about you.

Wanna know my biggest pet-peeve? People who assume everything is about them.

Just because a person doesn’t want to hang out with you, doesn’t mean they don’t like you; it probably just means they are exhausted from dealing with people all day and need some time to re-charge.

Just because a person doesn’t answer a text, doesn’t mean they are ignoring you; maybe they’re busy with their kids, at work, a creative project or one of the 1,000,000 things that are more important than answering texts as they come in.

Just because a person doesn’t go on a date with you, doesn’t mean you are unattractive, unappealing or doomed to be alone; you’re just not a good match, and you’re fortunate the other person was honest enough to not lead you on.

I know truth hurts sometimes, but somebody had to say it.

I hope applying these ten inconvenient truths helps you achieve success in business, fitness, relationships or whatever your goal might be. If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to your friends on Facebook or Twitter, and then tell us how you’re going to take action in the comments.

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