By Terry Grant
“Successful people move on their own initiative but they know where they are going before they start.”–Napoleon Hill
“Decide what you want, find out how to get it, and then take daily action toward achieving your goal.”–Napoleon Hill
In this first video by Napoleon Hill you will learn the starting point of all human achievement and why it is absolutely vital to have a clear vision of what you intend to achieve in life. Dr. Hill has explained that lack of this definite purpose is like being a ship without a rudder, both powerless and directionless.
After watching the video be sure to read on and learn how to apply this principle to your muscle building goals.
5 Steps to Developing Definiteness of Purpose
No matter what our goals are in life, one must have a clear vision and direction for what they desire to achieve. Building muscle and gaining weight are no different (theoretically) than saving up for a house or starting your own business.
Before you can achieve anything worthwhile inside or outside of the gym, you MUST first get clear about where you are going and what it is that you desire to accomplish. Without such a resolute purpose you become vulnerable to distraction and before you know it you may be wandering down a path you never intended to follow.
Step 1: Pick a Major Focus
A strong focus on your major goal in life can lead to an accelerated rate of attainment and realization of that goal. In order to capitalize on this you should have such a focus for your physique goals.
Pick your most desired focus for the next 3-6 months:
- Increase Muscle Size and Strength
- Burn fat and Get Ripped
- Improve your Overall Athleticism
- Heal from an injury
- Correct Muscle Imbalances and Weak Points
The overwhelming majority of readers have expressed a strong desire to gain muscle size and strength and so we will use this as our primary focus in this example.
Although, as a general recommendation, if you are over 15% body fat than your focus should be to burn fat and get down below 10% before starting a muscle-building program.
Furthermore, if you have an injury or any serious muscular imbalances you should make healing and corrective exercises your immediate focus so that you don’t make matters worse.
Those exceptions being made, we will now focus our attention on how to THINK & GROW HUGE!
Step 2: Determine How Much Muscle You Want
When you sign up for our Way to Mass e-Class, we ask that you take a short introductory survey so that we can learn more about you and your goals. We’ve now had over 1,100 people take that survey and one of the questions on there is “how much muscle would you like to gain?”
According to the results 75% of you want to gain somewhere between 10-40 pounds of muscle, with another 17% desiring gains upwards of 40 pounds of muscle!
GOOD NEWS!!! Practically every hardgainer should be able to gain 10-40 pounds of muscle if they get serious about their training, nutrition and recovery.
If you’re one of the 17% that would like to gain more than 40 pounds of muscle don’t fret, this is achievable and many ectomorphs have exceeded that amount by gaining anywhere from 70-100+ pounds. Although, this goal will be a BIG challenge and require a huge commitment from you. So just realize that from the start.
It’s okay and encouraged to dream BIG for your goals, as Napoleon Hill states “the only limitations are the ones that you set up in your or own mind or permit others to set up for you.”
That being stated, it is also wise to set realistic goals for yourself so that you’re not frustrated and disappointed by your inability to achieve a goal that was set too far out of the realm of possibility.
Step 3: Choose the Right Supporting Goals
So far we’ve picked a focused goal (to increase muscle size and strength), then determined exactly how much muscle we want to build (30 pounds of lean muscle.) The next step is to choose the right supporting goals that will assist in making this a reality.
Supporting goals are basically related goals that will, in effect, help to bring about the major goal of gaining 30 pounds of muscle.
When you say that you want to gain size and strength and are willing to do whatever it takes to do so… you are setting into motion a whole list of mini-goals that you will have to accomplish in order to achieve your desired outcome.
This is where a lot of people get tripped up because they don’t understand what step-by-step goals they’re going to have to take on a daily basis to gain thirty pounds of mass. They know they need to lift weights and eat, yet the details are fuzzy.
The details are a HUGE factor in whether you succeed or fail because what you do from day to day is what will make or break you. You have to be willing to learn, grow and adopt the new habits that your goal demands. Otherwise, you will remain the same forever. Sad but true.
Here are just a few common supporting goals that you should consider:
- Maintain a calm, relaxed demeanor at all times (decreases cortisol production, elevates testosterone and makes you more attractive to women)
- Keep an optimistic outlook (helps to stay focused on your goals, helps when facing adversity such as injuries or set-backs and maintains overall health)
- Increase confidence and belief in yourself (helps to push through fears, doubts, pain and increases your ability to take action)
- Aim to train 3 days a week (efficient frequency of training to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and strength gains for natural lifters)
- Increase strength in major compound exercises (you must get stronger in order for your muscles to get bigger and to provide the stimulus to signal testosterone and growth hormone release)
- Find a solid training program that you believe in (buy, study and utilize a training program that was designed by a qualified coach to save years of ‘trial and error’ mistakes)
- Eat the Caveman Diet as your nutritional foundation (lean meats, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds should form the foundation of your healthy, muscle-building diet)
- Eat the right carbohydrates after your workouts (this is where you modify the caveman diet by eating sweet potatoes, rice, potatoes, pasta, grains and other starchy carbs within a few hours after your intense training)
- Eat a surplus of calories (to gain muscle you must be in a caloric surplus, so eat high calorie foods like nuts, oils and/or include one cheat meal a day)
Rest & Recovery
- Get 8 hours of sleep minimum (without adequate sleep your gains will seriously be diminished, make this a priority)
- Stretch and perform mobility exercises (keeping the proper muscle length-tension ratio, joint mobility and range of motion is important for long-term success and quicker recovery)
- Include Massage and Myofascial Release (you can massage yourself using a foam roller, lacrosse ball and other tools or pay to have a professional massage to improve your tissue quality)
Step 4: Write Down Your Goals
It’s a known fact, that those that write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them. Just by writing it down, however, does not guarantee that you will follow through. You have to ingrain these goals into your subconscious mind and take daily action if you ever plan on being successful.
How you write your goals is just as important as writing them down in the first place. If you write down your goal as “I want to gain 30lbs of muscle.” Well, you may find yourself WANTING to gain muscle for a LONG time. Is your goal to WANT or to HAVE?
Some may argue semantics here, yet keep in mind that the thoughts and words we use do have significance. Specificity has its place in successful goal achievement.
Here are some basic tips:
Tips for Writing Out Your Major Goals
- Write your goals as if you have already accomplished them or are in the process of doing so.
- Include a positive emotional state to the achievement of your goals
- Give yourself a deadline to keep accountability
The logic behind writing out your goals in this manner has to do with purposefully influencing the subconscious mind to assist in the attainment of the goal. This helps to create and form a stronger visual in your mind, which leads to definiteness of purpose.
Strong emotional states (like pleasure or pain) also deeply impact the subconscious mind. We move towards pleasure and away from pain. Thus, associating positive feelings with the completion of your goals will make you more likely to move towards them and take action.
Let’s take our major focused goal and write it out in this manner.
Major Goal of Focus:
I am so excited that I’m becoming stronger and more muscular each and every day that passes. I know that I will achieve my goal of gaining thirty pounds of lean muscle within the next six months. I know I can achieve this because I’m embracing the habits and mindsets of men who are already successful.
Supporting Goals & Affirmations:
- I am calm, relaxed and in control at all times.
- I choose to keep an optimistic outlook on life.
- I am an amazing ultra-confident guy and fully believe in myself and my abilities.
- I train intensely three days a week to fully stimulate my muscles to grow.
- I focus on getting stronger in each of my major compound lifts.
- I fully believe in my training program and know it will produce great results for me.
- I eat the foods humans evolved to eat- meats, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.
- I include starchy carbs, like potatoes, after my workouts to refuel my muscle cells.
- I eat a surplus of healthy, nutritious calories to provide the nutrients my muscles need.
- I sleep eight solid hours each night to increase testosterone and optimize hormone levels.
- I stretch and perform mobility exercises each day to stay healthy and flexible.
- I foam roll and get massages to help promote recovery and improve tissue quality.
Step 5: Use Auto-Suggestion to Embed Your Goals
The last step in developing definiteness of purpose is to use auto-suggestion to embed your goals into your conscious and subconscious mind. Napoleon Hill dedicates a whole chapter to the topic of auto-suggestion in his book “Think and Grow Rich.” He describes it in his own words below:
“Auto-Suggestion is a term which applies to all suggestions and all self-administered stimuli which reach one’s mind through the five senses. Stated in another way, auto-suggestion is self-suggestion.”
Basically, you are actively using certain methods such as affirmations, visualization, self-talk, or some other technique to “program” or “re-program” your mind for success. The idea is to use these methods to repeatedly bombard your mind with the thoughts, goals or beliefs that you would like to internalize and then make real.
For this reason, it’s advised that you post your goals somewhere where you will see them and can read them over in the morning (upon waking) and in the evening (before going to sleep.) The purpose for reading them at these times is that your brain is still in the alpha wave state which means you are calm, relaxed and the subconscious mind is more susceptible to auto-suggestions.
Some people might find it helpful to post some pictures that represent the full attainment of their goals, such as a picture of your ideal physique or that awesome car you plan to be driving soon. This can help in the visualization process and with auto-suggestion since the subconscious mind processes concepts through images.
Whether you incorporate visual images or not is optional, as long as, you write down your goals and keep them at the forefront of your mind. Although, as the cliché goes; “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Now some people might think that this is silly, foolish or that you are simply deceiving yourself. AND you are… IF you think that you can simply repeat a few words and your goals will be attained with no effort or work on your part. Action is still a vital and necessary component of the goal achievement process.
The point of auto-suggestion is to help solidify positive beliefs, internal thoughts and override self-sabotaging behaviors, so that YOU CAN TAKE ACTION! In effect, it helps you to do what needs to be done in order to bring your dreams to life. All of the great achievements in human history have had their root in an idea or a thought. It all starts in your mind!
Tips for Using Auto-Suggestion:
- Read, speak and/or visualize your goal as if it has already been achieved. See yourself using your new, muscular body. See yourself at your fullest and greatest potential.
- Imagine how it feels to have achieved this goal. Are you extremely happy, grateful or overjoyed? Revel in those emotions and let them radiate throughout your body. Maintaining this feeling state or vibe is the MOST important part of auto-suggestion.
- Read your goal out loud and then visualize the completion of that goal in your mind. Use as many of the five senses as possible. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell? Create a vivid description of the scene in your mind.
If you are still reluctant to do this, it might help for you to understand that many professional athletes including golfers, snowboarders, gymnasts, football players, martial artists, and others use visualization (which is a form of auto-suggestion) to help improve their game and skill level in their respective sports.
Please don’t expect instant results with auto-suggestion! The point of this process is to help you create and MAINTAIN the heart and mindset of the person you’d be if you have achieved your goals. How would that person (a strong, muscular man) think, feel and act? Would he be confident? Would he love to train and eat healthy foods that feed his muscles? Would he appreciate his body and ALL of the effort he exerted to build it? Would he feel awesome and love his life?
The VITAL point to grasp here is that in order to gain thirty pounds of muscle you must start thinking, feeling and acting differently then you are now. You must become a person with definiteness of purpose and take on the traits and qualities of someone who will do what it takes to accomplish his mission!
In the words of Napoleon Hill…
Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. Don’t be like a ship at sea without a rudder, powerless and directionless. Decide what you want, find out how to get it, and then take daily action toward achieving your goal. Successful people move on their own initiative, but they know where they are going before they start.