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Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Jim Rohn

What was once an admirable quality. One that was respected. Admired. Revered. Has taken a backseat to a society and a generation that doesn’t know how to say “no”. A people that forget what it’s like to sacrifice. To do the hard thing rather than opting for the easy. The sexy. The here and now.

I should know. I’m a part of this generation in every way shape and form…

Bleep. Bleep. Bleeeeep.

That last one got me. Smacking the snooze button I stand up. Stretching. Trying my best to reach either side of my room with my fingertips, but as always, falling a few feet short.


It’s 5 o’clock in the morning. I can’t remember where I read it. But a little bird told me that Arturo Gatti – my favorite fighter at the time – wakes to get up at 6 am to run. I’m no Arturo Gatti. The logical thing for me to do was to get up earlier and run farther. It’s 5am and I’m lacing up my running shoes. Stepping out into the dewey, frigid air of a Vancouver morning.

Up before the rest of the world. Just me and the crisp air rejuvenating my lungs every time I take a deep breath. It’s calm. Peaceful. Thoughts have never been so clear. My purpose, never so real. It’s a beautiful day, like every day.

The dew still covers each lawn that I pass, running as if I’m being chased. But with the knowledge that I still have 10 kilometers to go, I pace myself.

I remember reading that Steve Nash said that he never missed a day of practice. He knew that if he were to miss one, he’d miss another. It’s how we work. That one day missed didn’t kill us. So what’s so wrong with forgoing a second? Then a third. Fourth. Fifth. Until we’re the personification of Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days.

Sitting at a bar. Beer in hand reminiscing about what could have been. About what could be. But what about what will be? We’re scared to say “I will”, knowing the strength, discipline, and sacrifice that committing to something incurs.

As I run along the empty streets, my lungs begin to feel the pain of needing more oxygen than they can take in. My back aches. My knees, the same. The peacefulness that existed when I first started is still there. But the pain of improvement has joined it. This is why I’m out here, I think to myself. My pace picks up.

I remember the time I said “I’m going to start fighting.” No I want to, I might, I’d like to, only “I will”. The discipline it required wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t always fun. But I never felt so alive or so satisfied as when I woke up at 5 am to run. 6 days a week. Every week.


“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” Zig Ziglar

As boxing came to an end. As my business began to grow. As I became alone in my struggle. No team to push me on. No trainer to answer to. Only my own knowledge of my success or failure. Discipline became both the most important and the most difficult aspect of my life to maintain.

“You’re only 26 once,” I’d here from a friend wanting to go out for a few beers. Knowing that I had an early morning the next day hadn’t stopped me with an extreme amount of regularity – if I’m being honest with myself. But it has resulted in less-than-optimal work the following day. A step further away from my ultimate goal.

Is a beer with friends the enemy? Of course not. There’s nothing better than hanging out with the fellas. Laughing. Cracking jokes. Letting all worries, stresses, and the unknown lift from your shoulders for the evening. We need these times. But do we need them all the time? Too much can ruin a goal. Crush a dream. Send a promising life down the shitter.

The disciplined life is one of goals that are attained. It’s one of free time truly being free time because we’ve had the discipline to finish what we started. Knowing it’s time to enjoy the moment. It’s one of satisfaction. Purpose. Fun. A disciplined life isn’t a life following rules. It’s a life lived in the pursuit of a dream. 

“Without discipline, there’s no life at all.” Katherine Hepburn

So many of us see discipline as the enemy of living. But without it our pursuit of happiness is fleeting. It’s filled with quick fixes. Nothing lifelong or permanent.

I love reading about men and women who have accomplished great things in their lives. Each of them were disciplined. Some in very specific areas, while lacking in others. Often it was the area where they didn’t have discipline that ended up being their downfall. But the dream they had. The mission they were on, is where they excelled. Each of them have a sense of what they would have to do to make their dream (however great or inconsequential to anyone else besides them) a reality.

“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” Roy L. Smith

A life is a waste if we don’t possess discipline. Yes we slip up. It’s a part of life. We have ebbs and flows. Ups and downs. Sunshine and rain. It’s expected. But – for example – if you want to construct your ultimate physique you’re going to have to possess a certain amount of discipline. If you want to achieve any goal. You need discipline.

Every marketer, fitness author, or personal trainer you should tell you this. Though many don’t because it’s not something we want to hear. And ‘what we want to hear’ is often what sells. It drives people away as they hear that reaching their goal will require sacrifice. They might have to say “no” to their friends a few times. But – and I can promise you this – it’s always worth it.

Make the road less travelled easier to navigate.

Life should be filled with massive dreams. Dreams that send chills down our spine. But, these dreams shouldn’t stay dreams. If they do it’s a travesty. A crime of the highest order and of the utmost disrespect to the fact that we’re all immensely fortunate with the gifts we possess and the obligation to make the most out of these gifts and these dreams we have.



Of course. There are ways we can make it easier on ourselves. Ways we can tip the scales in our favor. Actually, we should tip the scales in our favor. Everyone that has done something impressive and worth mentioning has a long list of people to thank. The greater the achievement. The longer the list.

We all need help along the way. If you’re on this site you’re looking for strategies to help you get to where you want to be. They following will help you do just that.

1. The #1 reason most of you will start a program, then stop, has to do with motivation.

The same can be said for a dream. An ultimate goal. Or anything we aspire to achieve. There are a few things we need to do to ensure that we stay motivated and consistently disciplined.

a) Make it real.

Write your goal down. A dream is only a dream if it’s never written down as a goal. Write it down in a notebook or on a piece of paper. The act of writing something down is powerful. It’s a declaration. Also write it somewhere on your computer. But don’t simply save it as a file. Write it somewhere that will always be around and accessible no matter where you are in the world.

I like using either of the following: dropbox.com or penzu.com

You can login to either of those resources from an outside computer. And if your computer crashes or you lose your notebook you’ll still have this file.

b) Make it emotional.

Deep down you know why you want to build a better physique. But keeping it “deep down” is a massive mistake. You HAVE TO bring these deep seeded emotional reasons out into the open. You have to keep these reasons with your dreams.

Write them down. Use either of the tools I gave you above. And get to the root. Get to the driving force as to why this is so important to you. If you’re like me it had to do with insecurity. With a disconnect between who you are on the inside, the man you are within, and the physical.

I was a skinny twerp. But inside I was strong. I hated the fact that who I was inside was in no way represented in the man I looked like on the outside. They just didn’t mesh. Creating a change was something I HAD TO DO. It wasn’t just something I WANTED to do.

c) Plan it out.

With our physiques it can be simple. Find someone who has achieved what you did and figure out what they did to achieve it. Make sure they’re somewhat like you or they have principles that you agree with and believe in.

If it isn’t about building a better physique, you still have to plan it out.


If your goal is to build ripped muscle & maintain it 24/7/365, CLICK HERE <— Muscle Building Plan.

If you’re on the road a lot and find it hard to stick to a plan, CLICK HERE <— Get in Great Shape Anywhere. Anytime. In No Time.


d) Picture it.

Find pictures online or in magazines that are what you want to be, or where you want to be. It’s called image boarding and it can be a very powerful tool. Keep them within site. I like them by my desk. They can be material possessions that you’d one day like to own. They can also be the physique you want to have.

Get used to picturing where you’re going. You’ve heard the saying, “keep your eye on the prize”? It’s powerful. All it means is that you’re going to focus. Focusing on the goal or dream is so much easier when we’re constantly seeing it.

It’s not only a powerful way to stay disciplined and focus on the dream. It’s fun. I love dreaming, as I’m sure you do. Spending an hour a month to search our pictures to your various goals is time well spent.

e) Start now.

Don’t wait for the perfect plan. The right time. Or for the cards to fall in line. Just start.

Start today. Seriously. Start planning things out, yes. But don’t wait in any way. Just know what the first step is and get moving on it. Procrastination can kill any dream. It can keep that dream a dream. 99.999% of us WON’T do this step. We’re scared. Lazy. We don’t care enough.

If you do care enough. Do this step before anything else. And do it today.

2. Cheat.

Make things easier on ourselves. I respect the people that ask for no help. Look for no shortcuts or “cheats”. But it’s not necessary. This doesn’t mean we’re actually cheating. I don’t mean to look for a quick fix like steroids, going out and buying a fist full of lottery tickets, or look to crime as a quick fix.

What I mean is simple. If your goal is to build lean muscle, and diet is one of your road blocks. Then literally cheat.

Cheat once a week. Have every Sunday as your cheat day. In the long run it’ll be much better for your progress. And that one cheat day won’t kill you. It’ll actually help a lot – especially if you’re dieting. This also means that you’re eating perfect for the other 6 days in the week.

Another way you can cheat is to find healthy meals that taste great. Instead of getting into a ton of recipes that I can pass to you from a friend of mine. I’ll send you to the source:

the Anabolic Cookbook (If you like brownies, pies, and pancakes, but don’t want to get massively fat. Click the link).

I use Dave’s cookbook all the time.

3. You are the 5 people you hang around with most.

Don’t fill your life with distractions, detractors, people that bring you down, or people that simply don’t contribute. This includes buying snacks. If you don’t want to have candy, don’t walk into a candy shop.

If you don’t want to eat shit. Don’t buy shit. Don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach or when you’re craving. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Find people who are optimistic. Who are going somewhere. Who are ambitious. And spend time with them. You’re not spending time with them as a leach. They aren’t providing you value. You’re giving as much if not more than you’re receiving. This is where ‘acting as if’ comes in. If you want to be happy, act as if you are. If you want to be successful, act like a successful person would.

Be around people who are positive and ambitious. And be someone who’s positive and ambitious.


4. Create an inspirational space.

I can see the James Dean poster above when I’m working in my office. I can see the Rocky one below when I go to bed. Where you wake up and where you go to bed has to inspire you. If you have a beautiful view from your apartment or home. Mission accomplished. If you need to bring in some art or some pictures to help you along the way. Then please do.

The same needs to happen for your workplace. We all need an atmosphere that motivates us.

Images and posters are great. As are books. Have your own personal library at home filled with books that you’ve read that have had a positive impact on your life. Read them with a highlighter so when you’re in need of a boost you know exactly where to turn. Studies also show that we absorb 18% of a book’s material the first time we read it.

If you read it once with a highlighter you can go through it a second time only focusing on the important points. You’ll find it’s a much quicker read.

Rocky Balboa

5. Spread the word.

If you’re the kind of person that likes to talk a big game – I mean thoroughly enjoys feeding people bullshit – then this step might not be your cup of tea. In fact, you should stay away from this step altogether.

However, if you’re the kind of person who hates saying something then not following through with it. This step is a must. Not only is it a must, it’s a”cheat”. The more you talk about something, the more help you’ll find coming your way.

For example: if I’m talking to someone at a party who mentions that they’re on a quest to transform their physique, I’ll grab their email and flood them with a ton of info that’ll help them in their quest. I’ll also probably get a workout in with them if they need it and so forth.

If I’m at a party and someone tells me they’re learning how to fight. I’ll give them the number of my old trainer. If they say they want to travel to Italy, I’ll pass them on to my dear old Mom who can talk about Italy for months. Non-stop.

People really are willing to help. And the more people know about your mission the better. People know people. If I don’t know someone who can help you out, I’ll know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, that can help you out. Talk about it. Let it be known. Do your part then accept help as it heads your way.

“Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.” Frank Herbert

Stay focused. Eyes on the prize and never, never, never give up.

Are you living at your true potential?
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  • Spencer

    As always, great article. Thx chad!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Thanks Spencer, glad you liked it!

  • Rob

    When are you going to just get it over with a publish a book?! Guaranteed purchase right here!
    These articles just keep getting better man. I love that you talk about life and don't always try to force your product down the throats of your readers. You are a cut above the rest of these personal trainers all looking to make some money. You take your time to answer our questions regardless of how many times you may have answered the same questions. You post TONS of free instructional videos for us to follow. You send us free workouts with meal plans. Chad, I can genuinely say that if not for you and the way you give your help without asking for anything, I wouldn't be on my way to achieving my goals in fitness and my goals in life. Anyone I ever run in to that says "Damn Rob, you look great!" I always talk their ear off about how helpful you are and how great your plan works. Seriously man, keep up these posts and keep to your ways because they work. Thank you for motivating me.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Thanks for that Rob. Can't explain how great it is to hear a comment like this, really appreciate it man. Thanks for getting on the forums and welcoming everyone that signs up. Much appreciated there too.

  • http://joedegiorgio.com/ Joe

    Hi Chad,
    It’s my first time commenting in a while, trying to spend more time off-line but had to leave a quick comment for this one. As Rob said, your articles are getting better and more in-depth and this one is excellent. I’m definitely bookmarking this one, and not just because of the Rocky and Bruce references :) . This is the type of inspirational read that one expects from a Jack Canfield or an Anthony Robbins, and it’s a great start to a new week. I know many of your readers may prefer the workout related posts, but these motivational pieces are an area where you excel, so keep it up.

    I saw Bruce live in Albany last week, and the show was pure mayhem. Very powerful and inspirational, I’m still pumped by it. Posts like this just add fuel to my fire!
    Great job!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      No way! That's awesome Joe. I just bought two tickets for Jersey in September. It's been a long-time Bucket List item for me. Glad to have the opportunity to cross it off soon.

      Thanks for the comment man. Glad you liked the article. Always good to hear from you.

  • Rob

    “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
    –John Quincy Adams

    This quote definitely applies to you Chad.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Thanks a lot man. I've heard that quote before but never thought it could actually apply to what I'm doing with this site! Humbling comment. Thanks.

  • Matthew Miller

    i gotta say, discipline is so important and crucial to actual success. as a soldier it has become a foundation for everything i do. pt? discipline. waking up? discipline. studying for a board? discipline.

    i try to instill this in my comrads, and it helps having this website to point to for inspiration. keep up the good work, chad. you're doing great things.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Thanks a lot Matthew. Obviously have the utmost respect for what you're doing. Glad this site can serve as a reference point. Again, humbling to hear that it can. Much appreciated.

  • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com taylorhersh

    I just discovered your site last week. It has been a help to me on several levels. I appreciate your willingness to give away so much for free. I also appreciate your broader focus on more than just lifting. The balance demonstrated on your site is refreshing.
    I am beginning to implement some of your ideas and am finding them to be helpful, achievable, and strongly logical. Thanks again for your work!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Glad to have you here Taylor. If I can help in any way let me know.

  • Hassan

    great article chad

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Thanks Hassan.

  • Devyanshu

    HI Chad !!
    Yesterday i signed IN for first time !!
    And today you had made me your FAN !!

    Loved it !
    And thanks a lot!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/ Chad Howse

      Great to have you here! Thanks for the comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SahajViradia Sahaj Viradia

    You have some great articles on this site. Thank you for taking the time to write them. They have helped me change my mindset in a positive manner.

  • Karl

    Chad, you are doing so much for so many people. How can we help and/or support you?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Karl, thanks a lot man! Just spread the word. Share the articles, tell your friends. That would be great if you could do that. Appreciate it.

  • http://twitter.com/CENTURIONlists Michael Missmer

    I found your site a month or so ago. I coach soccer and try to teach some of these lessons to the kids. That great thing is that if the lessons stick they help well beyond the short few years of athletics and stay with them for the rest of their lives.

    Great stuff- I’m looking forward to reading more!


    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Well said Michael, and thanks, look forward to seeing you on here more man.

  • http://suchawesomeness.com/ Eric Petersen

    Decided to try the 30 day email program. We’ll see where it takes me, should be super interesting 😛

  • http://simplykickass.com Connor McLeod

    Love this article Chad, amazing message.