Day 88 – Is Your Goal Powerful Enough?

Today is a scheduled off day from the weight room.  I have a Tabata cardio session lined up for later this evening.  My 90 day transformation contest period wraps up in just a few days.

Over the next few days I have a great deal of work to get done:

  • One more weight lifting session
  • Sunday weigh-in
  • “After” photos & final essay
  • Prepare training logs for the next 4 week training block that begins Monday
  • Prepare meal plans for the next 4 weeks

I’m sure it will all be taken care of so I won’t stress out over it.

I’ve given an honest effort during this 90 day transformation contest.  With that being said, I believe I could have done a better job.  There have been instances where I caved-in to a food craving & strayed from my meal plans.  I can probably look back to a lifting session or 2 where the intensity was lacking a bit.  I also could have been better about getting in some additional Tabata work during the last few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my efforts over the last 88 days.  I’m also proud of the efforts from my fellow transformation contestants.  Seeing how far some folks have come during their 90 day transformation period has been inspiring!

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that something was just a little “off” at times during this transformation contest.  I haven’t been able to put my finger on it but every now & then I could feel that something was amiss.  After some soul-searching & asking myself a few questions, I believe I have figured it out.

The following quote by Bob Proctor sums it up quite nicely:

“Most people are not going after what they desire. Even some of the most serious goal seekers and goal setters, they’re going after what they think they can get.”

I set out on this contest with the following goal in mind:

  • Build 5-10 pounds of muscle & burn off abdominal fat.

This is not a bad goal or an unrealistic one.  But there’s a problem with this goal.  I wasn’t even aware of it at the time I crafted this goal.  When I set the above goal, I set it based on what I thought was possible, not what I truly desired.

If I’m honest with myself, that goal probably should have read:

  • Build 20 or more pounds of muscle & a set of ripped abs while getting down to 7% body fat.

But you see, that goal seemed to be “too much” at the time.  I placed artificial limitations on myself when I set my initial goal.  These limitations are what left me feeling a bit “off” at times during this contest.  Deep down my higher self knew I was settling for less than I was capable of achieving.

When I read that revised goal above, it gives me goosebumps.  It also stirs something inside of me.  It is hard to describe what it is/how it feels but whatever it is, it is hard to ignore.

This brings me to another Bob Proctor quote:

“Set a goal to achieve something that is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time. It must be a goal that is so appealing, so much in line with your spiritual core, that you can’t get it out of your mind. If you do not get chills when you set a goal, you’re not setting big enough goals.”

When I sit down this weekend to craft my new fitness goal for the next 12 weeks, it will be something that gives me chills.  It will be ambitious.  It will also scare me when I realize the price that will have to be paid to see it become reality.  But that apprehension will quickly melt away.  Every time I think about achieving this goal, it will get me so excited that any fear will disappear.  My new goal is probably going to look a lot like the goal I listed above!

My challenge to you is to do just what Mr. Proctor said in the quote above.  Set a goal that ignites a fire within you that can not easily be extinguished.  That’s what I will be doing over the next few days!

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Day 87 – So Powerful & Easy

Today I completed a full body style weight lifting session.  The focus of today’s lifting session was to get in about 30-40 minutes without pushing too hard.

After 12 consecutive weeks of training, I’m in need of some rest/recovery.  I’ve altered my lifting schedule a bit to accommodate this need.  My lifting sessions haven’t been as intense as usual but that is by design.

I don’t have much more to add as far as my training session is concerned.  I do have a quote from Jim Rohn I would like to share though:

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I absolutely love this quote.  It reminds us of the awesome power we all have inside of us.  What is that power?  The power of Personal Responsibility.  

I choose my own thoughts & am responsible for what I allow into my mind.  No one else thinks for me.  My thoughts lead to my words & actions.  My words & actions will result in me becoming what I think about most often.  We speak our world into existence.

Because I am responsible for my thoughts, words & actions it stands to reason that I am responsible for where I am in life.  I’m getting exactly what I deserve.  Most often, life gives us what we deserve, not what we want.

If I don’t like my current situation, what can I do about it?  I could blame the weather, my parents, the economy or anything else but that would just be a form of denial.  I am above that. I refuse to blame anything outside of myself for my current conditions.  I attracted the things in my life due to my thinking.  I am responsible for my life.

So rather than play the victim, why not change my thoughts?  It doesn’t take much to change my thoughts but the results are powerful.

The minute you realize that you can change your life by changing your thoughts, you will feel more powerful than you ever have.  It’s your choice.

Day 84 – The Old Me I No Longer Wish To Be

Today is an off day from the weight room.  I have a Tabata-style cardio session planned for later this afternoon along with some yoga.

My weekly weigh-in was this morning.  I was down about a pound on the scale.  The vast majority of that was fat loss based on my skin-fold/body-fat % measurement.  One more week of attempting to get as lean as possible for my “After” photos.

Once this body transformation contest wraps up I plan to put my best effort forward with the Main phase of the Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 program.  For the last few weeks, I have been following the Beginner phase of the program.  It has been a good introduction to the heavier, compound exercises that make up the bulk of the main program.

Besides putting forth an honest effort in the weight room, I also intend to be better about my food choices.  While I have been much better about food choices I still have room for improvement.  Specifically, my weekend eating plans need some refinement.  I tend to slide an extra cheat meal or snack/two in on the weekends.  That is coming to an end.

I’ve set a new fitness goal & to accomplish it will require a better effort in the weight room & the kitchen.  My new goal?  To be one of the finest looking 40 year olds you will ever see.  I have 364 days to make this happen.

As I take daily steps towards achieving this “new” goal, I am also taking major steps towards achieving my #1 fitness goal.  I haven’t shared my #1 fitness goal with many people.  Maybe 2 or 3 tops.  This is a rather ambitious goal & will probably take at least another year or more to see come to fruition.  I’m ok with that.

After reviewing my journal, I now realize that in the last year I’ve gotten much closer to achieving this goal than I thought possible.  I remember how much doubt and fear I felt last year when I committed to achieving this goal.  So much so that I nearly erased the goal from my journal right after I wrote it down.  My head was full of negative thoughts & my self-talk reflected this:

  • “You’ll never be able to do it.”
  • “You’ve failed every program you’ve tried.”
  • “You don’t have the necessary genetics for the body you dream of so why bother?”
  • “Who are you kidding, you won’t stick with a program long enough to see results.”
  • “Even if you do stick with it, this will take a long time.  Why bother?”

These were just a few of the fears/doubts that I experienced when I first crafted my #1 fitness goal. But I decided not to entertain those thoughts for very long.  Instead, something inside of me experienced a major shift.

The old me I no longer wished to be.

Instead, something inside of me greatly desired to become the person I would become if only I had the courage to follow my dreams.  The desire to become this new me was very powerful.  I became excited about the possibilities.  My vision was clear.  I actually allowed myself to believe I could do this.

It was right then that I found the champion inside of me.  The champion that we all have within us.  The champion that gets imprisoned in the mental jail cell we refer to as our comfort zone.

My inner champion was released from prison that day.  Consequently, the “little me” that shirked the hard work & discipline necessary to achieve my goals was locked up that day.

It has been a year since I committed to my #1 fitness goal.  I’ve come a long towards accomplishing this goal.  In one year, I have gained about 20 pounds of muscle & shed nearly 10 pounds of fat.  This may not mean much to some people but for me this is a HUGE accomplishment.

But, there is still much work that must be done.  Gaining the next 10-20 pounds of muscle is going to require an even more focused effort than the first 10-20 pounds did.  It will definitely be a challenge.  But I am eager to face this challenge head on.  I no longer fear the unknown.  I embrace it.

You see, this body transformation quest I am on isn’t just about looking good (although that is a GREAT benefit).  Nope.  It is about becoming more disciplined, leading by example, being more accountable to myself/others & many other positive outcomes.

I firmly believe that how we view ourselves inside is reflected on the outside.  I know that when I was in my worst physical shape, I was also in my worst mental shape.  It is no coincidence that as my body started to look better, I started to feel better about myself.  As my confidence rose, so did my belief in myself.  This has propelled me to this point & will continue to push me onward & upward.

My challenge to you is to set a fitness goal that makes you a little uncomfortable at first.  Something that is going to challenge you to blow through every excuse that will hinder your progress.  Something that requires you to step out of your comfort zone & to free the champion within.  Something that will transform not only your body but your mind & your spirit as well.  You won’t regret it.

Speaking of regret, here’s something from Jim Rohn that is worth pondering:

Jim-Rohn-Quotes-The-Pain-of-Discipline-Weighs-

Day 77 – That’s Real Funny…

Today is an off day from the weight room.

2 weeks to go before my “After” pictures need to be taken; this will probably be the last “off” day for the next few weeks.

2 more weeks

Today’s weigh-in was interesting.  I was up 2.4 pounds from last week.  The majority was muscle gain but a little bit was fat.  I found this funny considering I shifted to more a fat burning mode this week.  My scale is a real comedian!!

Here are a few of the changes I have incorporated:

  • I ate less food this week when compared to previous weeks.  I kept my caloric intake fairly steady on weight-lifting days.  On non-lifting days, I reduced my caloric intake by around 500+ calories.  I also limited my carbs to green veggies only on these days.
  • I added in Tabata-style cardio sessions this week.  Short sessions post weight-lifting, longer sessions on non-lifting days.
  • I even added in a fat-burning supplement that I used in the past to get “photo-ready”.

Despite my best efforts, I somehow managed to add a decent amount of weight this week. I’m not complaining about the muscle gain.  The little bit of fat gain is a bit problematic.  I am attempting to get shredded for my final pictures.  Now is not the time to be adding ANY additional fat!

So now I’m left scratching my head wondering what exactly happened this week.  How did I gain weight when I was attempting to do the opposite?

No need to worry about it.  I know I’m on the right path.  This is just a slight bump in the road.

The plan is to give the next 2 weeks the best effort I can possibly muster.  Will it be enough to put me over the top & into contention for the top prize?  I’d like to think so but I really don’t know.  If my transformation is deemed worthy of winning a prize, so be it.  If it isn’t, it isn’t.

My guess is that there are a number of contestants who will have similar, if not better, body transformations.  That’s the reality of the situation.  I’ve participated in these types of endeavors in the past & came up short each time.  But that didn’t deter me from getting involved in this contest.  If anything, it inspired me to get involved in this contest.

Should I not be deemed a “contest winner”, so what?  In the last 11 weeks, I have done the following:

  • Gained muscle & burned fat – Hello??  That’s progress baby!
  • Created over 80 blog posts (with plenty more to come) – I’d like to be an author someday.  Blogging has helped me begin to find my writing “voice” & hone my writing skills.
  • Helped friends & family get on track with their fitness – Talk about rewarding!
  • Inspired others to take their fitness goals seriously – Once again, very rewarding!
  • Regained my self-confidence – This has bled over from the weight room & into nearly every other area of my life.  I have experienced some very big victories on a personal & professional level recently.  I attribute those victories to the self-confidence I now possess.
  • Rediscovered the joys of discipline – Ok, this one sounds weird at first.  Discipline being joyful?  Yep.  Here’s an example:  Each time I have the discipline to pass up a donut at work gives me the immediate gratification of knowing I did the right thing.  That, in turn, makes is easier to turn the donut down again later in the day.  When I get into the weight room, I don’t have to work an extra 5-10 minutes to burn off the donut that I could’ve eaten.  More importantly, I don’t have the guilt associated with eating something that won’t help me achieve my goal.  Sure, I goof up every now & then but for the most part I am able to maintain my discipline when it comes to situations like this.
  • Look better & feel better – Gotta love that!
  • Many other benefits I haven’t even realized yet

So you see, even if I am not deemed a “contest winner”, it doesn’t mean that my efforts have been in vain.  Not by a long shot.

In the last 11 weeks, I have formed the habits necessary to sustain a healthy, happy life.  Even better is having been able to help others do the same.  What prize could be better than that??

2 weeks from today I will be posting my last transformation contest update……  The countdown has begun…..

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Day 73 – Dreams Are What Life Is Made Of

Today is an off day from weight lifting.  I will be getting in some Tabata style cardio/ab work once I finish up this post though.

Since I don’t have much more in the way of fitness to discuss, I thought I would share the following quote:

“Dreams don’t have deadlines. If you don’t give up on them, they won’t give up on you.”

I’m not sure where I heard &/or read this quote but it has stuck with me for a long time.  It is a very simple quote yet very profound.

The next time you get down & begin to wonder if your dreams will ever come true, remember that quote.

Notice that the quote doesn’t say it will always be easy & that it will happen overnight.

You’re going to have to put forth some effort.  Sometimes the effort will feel as if it has been in vain.  The thing is, you never know what kind of ripple effect your current efforts will have on your future results.

I will confess that there have been a few instances over the last 73 days where I have questioned my participation in this body transformation contest.  Here are a few examples:

  • Recently, I have plateaued in relation to gaining muscle.  That is a bit disheartening considering the effort I am putting forth in & out of the weight room.
  • I’ve spent numerous hours blogging.  But, I currently serve a relatively small audience.  Are they even getting anything positive from my efforts?
  • The time I spend in the weight room & online takes away from time I could be spending with my family.  Is it worth it?

These are a few examples of some of the things I’ve tossed around in my mind over the last few months.  Despite the negativity that these thoughts can conjure up, I refuse to let them poison my mind.  I definitely refuse to quit on my dreams.

I have a #1 fitness goal that I keep private.  Very few people know what this goal is.  I am not ashamed to share this goal but I tend to keep this one close to the vest.  Realistically speaking, it is probably going to take me many more months (maybe even a few years) to see this goal become my reality.

Is that the most appealing prospect?  Nope.  Does the task seem daunting at times?  Yes!  Do I ever think maybe I’m crazy for chasing this dream??  Absolutely.  Would it be easier to just ignore the desire & go about things as if the goal didn’t exist.  You bet it would be.

Despite all of those points, there is NO WAY I will give up on this dream.  Not now.  Each day I take a step closer to seeing my dream become a reality.

That’s what I desire for you.  That each day you take a step closer to seeing your dreams become reality.  That you keep going, even when the world seems like it is out to get you.  That you become the person you see when you daydream.

You can do it, if you put your mind to it.  You are all you need.  Yes, you.

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Day 63 – Crunch Time

Today is an off day from the weight room.  Since it’s Sunday, it’s also weigh-in day.

Today’s weigh-in was good from the standpoint that I was able to shed over 1/2 pound of fat this week.  I did not register much muscle growth this week so that was a bit disappointing.  This is the 3rd week in a row that I have had this happen.

I’m not complaining about the fat loss/reduction in Body Fat% one bit!  That being said, I would REALLY like to see my Lean Body Mass increase more than it has.

At this point, I expected to be about 5-10 pounds heavier than I currently am.  Sure, I have gained some muscle in the last 2 months but not as much as I had hoped for.  I’m entering the home stretch of this 90 day body transformation contest & I’m nowhere near having a “winning” physique.

I will admit that this has been a bit frustrating.  Not enough for me to quit but definitely enough for me to question the merits of my efforts.  Am I really getting out of this what I am putting into it?  Countless hours in the weight room, preparing healthy meals, creating workout logs & meal plans (not only for myself but friends & family), blogging & many other fitness related activities for what?  A little bit of muscle gain & a little fat loss??

But then again, a little bit of fat loss & a little bit of muscle gain isn’t all that bad.  I must be doing something right even if it doesn’t “feel” like it sometimes.

Maybe I’m getting ready to turn a corner & start experiencing explosive muscle growth?  Maybe the last 2 months have been priming the pump so to speak?  Maybe all of this effort has brought me exactly where I need to be before I can move on to the next stage of growth?  It’s possible.

The one thing I do know is if I give up, I will never know the answers to these questions.  That would be a shame.

In reality, I could be a few weeks away from experiencing a major breakthrough in my body transformation quest.  Maybe that next 5-10 pounds is there for the taking, if only I make a few adjustments to my diet & training?  Maybe I’m only a few blog posts away from catching the eye of someone who can help me advance as an author?  Maybe all those wonderful daydreams of being a self-employed, well-paid, fitness authority figure &/or model will come true if I just keep at this?  I don’t know but I sure plan on finding out.

So, if you are wavering in your devotion to your fitness goals (or any goal for that matter), take a minute to step back & look at the big picture.  Where were you before you started your quest?  How much better off are you now?  How much better will you be if you just keep on keeping on?

Success is really just a series of successive “failures”.  Each “failure” puts you one step closer to achieving the goal.  Eventually, you’ve failed your way forward to the point that success becomes inevitable.

Want to become successful faster?  Speed up your rate of failure.  You will learn what to do & more importantly, what NOT to do if you aren’t afraid to fail forward fast.

Speaking of “failures”, here’s an interesting set of facts you may not be aware of:

122-Lincolns-Famous-Failures

 

For a “failure”, he sure did pretty well.  So did these folks:

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History is littered with a number of success stories that started out as failures.  But each one of these failures was really a success waiting to happen.  The one thing all of these failures had in common is this; they never stopped believing in themselves despite the evidence of being a “failure” was all around them.

That’s what it really boils down to – do you believe in yourself enough to keep going even when no one else does?

A favorite quote of mine is this: “Your persistence is the measure of faith you have in yourself.”

Think about that quote the next time you feel like giving up.  How much faith do you have in yourself to get the job done?  Is your faith sagging a bit?  If so, do what you must to restore that faith but don’t ever give up.

If it helps, please know that I’m pulling for you.  If you are reading this blog, I’m in your corner. I’m putting myself out there in the hopes that something I say will help you stay on course & find the courage to keep going when it gets tough.  If I believe in you, you can certainly do the same.

Hold on tight to your dreams!

Day 52 – The Hotter Your Desire Burns, The Stronger Your Discipline Will Be

Today is an off day from the weight room.  As with every “off” day, I will get in a yoga session this evening.  Oh how I love yoga!

Since I don’t have anything to report as far as a lifting session goes, I would like to share a thought.  Before doing so, here’s a little background for you.

For those who aren’t aware, I am a connoisseur of self-development materials.  I love reading books on the subject.  I especially enjoy audio programs.  If I were more wealthy, I would probably buy every single self-development product that Nightingale-Conant has to offer.  I firmly believe in feeding the mind with new concepts & am committed to continual growth.  If you aren’t growing, you’re shrinking.

So today, I offer this quote:

“Discipline is doing what’s hard & necessary rather than what’s fun & easy and doing it when it’s necessary, whether you feel like doing it or not.” – Brian Tracy

Can’t argue with that.  While this quote can be applied to nearly every area of life, it is very  germane to my current participation in the Early To Rise 90 day body transformation contest.

Some days there are things that I don’t necessarily feel like doing at the time.  Things like:

  • Saying no to donuts, sweet rolls & other desserts at work
  • Updating meal planner spreadsheets
  • Going to bed by 10 each night instead of staying up later
  • Deadlifts & squats (I love what they are doing for my body but they are HARD)
  • Avoiding other things that pop up during the day that if I were to choose them, would take me further away from my goal even though they are appealing at the time

This is a small sample of instances in which discipline is necessary.  I think we can all agree that the list above are things that will help get me closer to achieving my fitness goals.  So it should be a no-brainer to do them with no hesitation.  Yet some days it isn’t that easy.

That’s when discipline kicks in.

But what is that allows me to be disciplined more often than not? (Believe me, I’m not perfect but I’m getting better each day).

Desire is what makes discipline possible.  While that sinks in, I’ll take it a step further.

Your level of discipline directly correlates to the strength of your desire.  There’s no 2 ways about it.

If you are lukewarm in your desire, your efforts will be a great indicator of this fact.  You will lack the discipline necessary to do what you need to do, when necessary, regardless of the degree of difficulty.

But, if your desire is burning white-hot you will do what it takes, when it’s necessary, regardless of the price.

Are you coming up short in the pursuit of your goals?  Are you finding that you are easily distracted?  Do you find yourself making excuses instead of taking action?

If so, take a moment & ask yourself how much you truly desire what it is that you are pursuing.  If it means enough to you, you will find the necessary discipline! 

Day 38 – Become Unstoppable by Refusing to Stop!

Today is an off day from the gym.  My lower back is a bit tender from yesterday’s deadlifting session so I will definitely get some yoga in this evening.

I also banged up a few fingers yesterday when I used them as the meat for a 35 lb. plate & 25 lb. plate sandwich.  Just didn’t move them fast enough & BAM!!

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My fingers were swollen for a few hours before finally subsiding.  During that same time Over the past 24 hours, the bruising has grown/gotten more pronounced & turned purple/black.  Yesterday it was very painful trying to bend my pointer finger.  Thankfully I can actually bend it today with no pain & it isn’t as crooked as it is in the picture.

Keep in mind I did this as I was loading the bar up for deadlifts yesterday.  On my dominant hand.

Gripping the bar was going to be a painful experience.  Deadlifts are difficult enough without having grip issues & throbbing fingers.

So I was faced with a choice: Quit or Address the situation & continue.

What to do????

That’s when I remembered a saying that I keep in the forefront of my mind on a regular basis: Become unstoppable by refusing to stop.

Here’s what I did.

  • Got the bleeding to stop.
  • Put a bandage over the area that had been bleeding.
  • Applied a small ice/gel pack to the pointer finger & basically numbed it.

I then proceeded to do my first 5 rep set of deadlifts.  The grip was a little funky on my right hand due to the fingers but my form was good.

During my 1-2 minute rest period I numbed my finger again.  When the timer went off, I got myself mentally ready & did my next 5 rep set.

I repeated this for the next 3 sets of deadlifts.

Total – 4 “numbing” sessions

This doesn’t necessarily make me tough & I didn’t share this story to brag.  Rather, I shared it to illustrate a point.

When confronted with the option of accepting only having done a partial workout & quitting (I had already done my squats, so why not?) or dealing with a little discomfort to get closer to achieving my goal, I chose the temporary pain.

What do you do when you are confronted with a challenge?  Do you quit at the first sign of trouble?  Do you give it a try but after a few setbacks throw in the towel?

Or do you become unstoppable by refusing to stop?

Day 33 – Your Inner Voice

Today is an off day from the weight room.  I will still get in some yoga & ab/core work this evening.

So rather than discuss weight training or meal plans, I thought I would share an old Facebook status update with everyone.

“What do you say when you talk to yourself?

By talk to yourself I mean the voice you hear inside when you think about something.

Do you use positive, uplifting words that reinforce the good that resides in you and the others around you?

Or is your self-talk negative, judgmental, degrading & the like? If so, would you allow anyone else to talk to you in the same manner in which you talk to yourself? Most likely not. Why then do you allow yourself to abuse yourself?

The voice you most trust & believe is your own. Use is to program your mind and become that which you desire to be most. You have the power, exercise it.” – Jason Golden

Your thoughts determine your words.  You speak your world into existence.  In essence, your inner monologue becomes your outer reality.

Don’t think this is true?

How often has something happened to you & the first words out of your mouth were “I knew that was going to happen!”.  How did you know?  Most likely because you first thought about it happening & then you verbalized your thoughts.

Thoughts are things. Very powerful things at that.  Be mindful of your mind.  It can lead you to great heights or bring you down.  It’s your choice.

So I ask you, what do you say when you talk to yourself?  

(Courtesy wesleyluther.org)

(Courtesy wesleyluther.org)

Day 31 – How Can Failure Be Success?

Today is an off day from the weight room.  I will get in some yoga & ab/core work this evening but other than that I’m using today as a recovery day.  My legs were a bit sore after squats & deadlifts yesterday so the recovery time is necessary.

I do have a concept that I would like to touch on briefly today:

Failure and success are in essence the same thing.

Huh?  How can that be??

Failure & success just lie on opposite ends of the spectrum know as achievement–just as hot & cold are on the opposite ends of the spectrum known as temperature.

Basically, failure & success are a metric used to measure our current ability to complete a task.

Is failure a bad thing?  Not necessarily.

“Failure” is a success in that you learned a valuable lesson from the experience.  The intended outcome may not have been realized in that particular instance but it doesn’t mean it was a waste of time.  If anything, it was a valuable use of time because you are now one step closer to a “success”.

How do you intend to grow if you never “fail”?  Some of my greatest failures have been the catalyst of some of my greatest successes.

Fear not “failure”, for it shows you the error in your way of thinking & offers you a chance to correct your thoughts.  These corrective thoughts lead to corrective actions which ultimately lead to the realization of your desired goal.

Embrace “failure”, learn from it & go forth with a renewed vigor & determination.

Here’s a tip- If you desire to be a success, speed up your rate of failure.