It’s easy to blame the other person for being a bad partner. It’s easy to blame the job for your stress.
It’s easy to blame others for you not being where you want to be in life. It’s easy to blame your environment for your current woes. It’s easy to blame your diet.
But excuses don’t move your life forward. The only place you’re heading is to the losers mentality.
Until you let go of your excuses, your desired results won’t happen.
When it comes to destroying excuses, one of the best groups of people to look to for modeling a behavior and mindset is Navy Seals. Navy Seals are some of the highest performers in the world. Their high level of excellence is due to the commitment of extreme ownership.
What’s extreme ownership
Extreme Ownership are principles developed by co-authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin of the book ‘Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win’.
Jocko Willink was the commander of Task Unit Bruiser and the most decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War. Leif Babin was one of his platoon commanders.
While these principles are explained through the context of war and teams, they are effective and highly applicable to your business, life, and health.
Taking Extreme Ownership of your health is where you take full responsibility for the outcome of your results, no external factor is the reason for your shortcoming.
Here are 7 key principles to taking extreme ownership with your health.
1. Your attitude sets the tone
While you’re not leading a team out to the battlefield, you’re leading yourself to the battlefield of life and maneuvering the various obstacles that life throws your way. Your attitude sets the tone for how you operate throughout the day.
Nothing in life is inherently good or bad. It’s merely determined by your perspective.
Is it a setback that you fell short with your diet and fitness goals? Or is it merely feedback to help you get better and grow more as a person?
Someone with an extreme ownership attitude doesn’t leave something up to chance to change if they have the capability to change it. It’s not about what you preach, tell others, or share on social media. But instead, it’s about what you tolerate in your life.
What type of standards are you setting for your life? Are you accepting decent enough and moving on? Are you accepting partners that are alright and don’t light you up? But at least you aren’t alone—right?
If you approach life with a “decent enough mentality”, then you’ll get decent results. In other words, you’re going to be average.
In Bud’s class and seal qualification training, they dubbed a phrase “tortured genius”. No matter how obvious his or her failing, or how valid the criticism, the tortured genius accepts zero responsibility for mistakes, makes excuses, and blames everyone else for their failings and shortcomings.
Don’t be this person. Accept ownership and responsibility.
2. Check your ego
“Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism.” “When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues.” — Jocko Willink
Ego can serve as your anchor to not achieving your business and health goals.
For example: Steve wants to lose weight and has tried numerous workouts from fitness magazines and the internet. He’s never stayed consistent and his metabolism has slowed down because of the various fad diets, detoxes, and workouts he’s tried.
Instead of taking extreme ownership of his health, he blames his weight gain on his stress, busy job, and lack of time. He’s not taking extreme ownership with his fitness because he refuses to take responsibility and continues to deflect blame. He’ll continue to spin his wheels in neutral until he sets his ego aside.
Steve could take extreme ownership by signing up for a session with a trainer at his gym to learn about effective workouts, meet with a nutrition coach to learn about healthy eating, or ask friends who have successfully lost weight and kept it off.
3. The simpler, the more effective
The more complex, the more difficult execution becomes. The more unknowns and variables from the complexity leads to higher likelihoods of quitting.
Instead of complex rules, think Pareto’s principle (80/20) with your nutrition. What are the big dominoes in your healthy eating plan that will yield the most in return?
A couple could be eating adequate amounts of protein with each meal and eat 2-3 servings of vegetables with each meal. With exercise, it could be having a workout plan that consists mainly of the big compound lifts due to them causing more of a metabolic stress on the body. And thus leading to more calories burned in a shorter amount of time.
Lastly, another big domino to focus on is getting the proper amounts of sleep by setting up a sleep cave conducive for sleeping.
4. Set strict priorities and ruthlessly execute
“On the battlefield, there will inevitably come a time when problems arise that have a snowball effect. These present themselves as a complex entity of their own. It’s in this type of high-stakes situation that it’s important to relax, look around and then make a decision.” — Leif Babin
Do your best to stay a step or two ahead of the potential problem. But, when faced with multiple challenges in your life, identify the highest priorities and tackle those problems one at a time.
Here’s how to set up a chain of priorities and execute:
• Evaluate/recognize the problem/issue causing the most issues or one that could be the biggest barrier to your goal
• Lay out a simple, clear, and concise plan in terms of the highest priority
• Develop and determine your solutions (don’t forget to seek help if needed—remember the ego)
• Focus all efforts and resources on that issue
• Move on once it’s resolved
5. Be decisive and steady regardless of the scenario
While not in a battlefield, you’ll encounter many variable factors on a daily basis that could cause disruption to your flow.
Don’t flip flop back and forth with what you decide to do. Choose and move on regardless.
Pick a nutrition and workout plan and then execute ruthlessly. Stay the course and trust the process. Don’t go chasing shiny new objects each week. That’s how you stay stuck in mediocrity.
6. Discipline leads to your freedom
Discipline is the gateway to freedom, success, and the body that you desire. Discipline catapults you from good to great. You won’t become more rigid with discipline, but instead, more flexible.
This happens because you’re creating systems and processes that allow you to execute without having to reinvent the wheel or think of the basic tasks to do each and every day—you’re becoming more efficient.
Your systems created through discipline cover this and now your mind is free to focus on other important matters.
This article was originally published on The Art of Fitness & Life.
Photo: Getty Images