Build your reasons to succeed

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

If everyone found it simple to reach their goals or maintain a beneficial habit, like being happy, people who succeed at one thing in life would just as easily succeed at anything else they chose to pursue. However, that’s generally not the case. For example, many people may be successful in business, but can’t lose weight, or, conversely, there are people who are extremely fit and find it easy to exercise all the time, yet can’t keep their accounts up to date.

Personal development gurus tell us we need to be motivated to succeed. Their advice often involves clever one liner statements, inspirational anecdotes and fancy acronyms. They can whip audiences up into high emotion states where people feel empowered and energised and for a few days after they think they can take on the world. That is until the emotions die back down to a natural level and the reality of life kicks back in. Unfortunately, in the self-help market, there are not a lot of properly researched, practical solutions proven to work.

Luckily, two leading scientists in the field of behavioural change and motivation, Professor James Prochaska and Professor Carlos Diclemente, have thoroughly researched the subject. They posit that if you have been trying to make a change in your life, like start a new habit, or reach a goal, and have either not started, or frequently start and then stop again, you are stuck in one of the 6 Stages of the Transtheoretical Model of Behaviour Change.

The TTM Stages Of Change

  • Precontemplation (Not Ready)
    People are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, and can be unaware that their behaviour is problematic
  • Contemplation (Getting Ready)
    People are beginning to recognize that their behaviour is problematic, and start to look at the pros and cons of their continued actions
  • Preparation (Ready)
    People are intending to take action in the immediate future, and may begin taking small steps toward behaviour change
  • Action (Habit in action)
    People have made specific overt modifications in modifying their problem behaviour or in acquiring new healthy behaviours
  • Maintenance (Continuing Habit)
    People have been able to sustain action for at least six months and are working to prevent relapse
  • Termination (Way of life)
    Individuals have zero temptation and they are sure they will not return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping
  • Relapse (Given up habit)
    You have given up and moved from Action or Maintenance to an earlier stage, probably Contemplation

The Transtheoretical Model of Behavioural Change boasts a 50-75% success rate of helping people find the motivation to give up life challenging habits, such as smoking, taking drugs and overeating, and replace them with healthy, empowering and beneficial habits. Impressive statistics, especially considering the doctors never ask the participants involved to stop smoking, taking drugs, or go on a diet.

Developed in the 1980’s, the Transtheoretical Model of Behaviour Change has since gone on to become one of the most cited theories in psychology. Unfortunately, because it isn’t available in pill form, not many people have heard of it, but if it was they say it would be one of the most successful pharmaceutical drugs ever created.

The Telos Lifestyle Revolution incorporates two of the key pillars of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavioural Change. Together, they balance the Value and Impulsiveness elements of the Motivation Equation to build the motivation and resolve you need to start and maintain your habits.

Once your habit becomes a priority, you become driven, like a person with their hair on fire running to find a lake to put it out!


Think of something you really want achieve, a habit you want to maintain, or a goal that you are determined to reach, and before reading on, list down all the reasons you want to achieve it. If you don’t have a pen handy or don’t want to get one, just count the list of reasons in your head.

Usually when asked this question, people can list maybe 5 or 6 reasons they want to achieve their goal and normally those reasons are quite generic.

For instance, with men who want to get fit and healthy, the reasons they list are usually:

  • So I am fit
  • So I look good
  • So women are more attracted to me
  • So I can have a 6 pack stomach
  • So I am healthier
  • So I feel better
  • So I…

People normally falter after they list 5 or 6 reasons and start to repeat the same reasons over again, but in different words.  It’s also the reason 99.99% of people fail, they just don’t have enough reasons to succeed. Put simply, the more benefits you have to start and maintain a habit, the more likely you are to maintain them.

Take some time to list every benefit you can think of to start and maintain your chosen habit or reach your goals and think about how each benefit will affect you. It’s important to try and list benefits that you connect with emotionally.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • How will it affect the people around you?
  • What are some good reasons for doing it?
  • Who would it affect if you did achieve them?
  • What problems will it will cause in your life if you don’t achieve them?
  • Who would it affect negatively?

Even if your habit is well established and you’ve been doing it for a while, it’s still good practice to keep adding to your list of reasons to succeed to bolster your resolve for the future and for when life throws you a curve ball.

Here are some examples to give you an idea:

  • Having money would mean I can spend more on my children’s education
  • Losing some weight would make me feel better and reduce my risk of diabetes
  • If I encouraged my children will would grow up emotionally stronger
  • If I wrote my novel I would feel so proud and have something to show to my parents
  • If I don’t earn more money it will mean I can’t take holidays
  • If I don’t manage my cashflow I won’t be able to invest in other businesses
  • If I don’t lose weight I will become obese and shorten my lifespan
  • I can’t afford to get ill because so many people need me and depend on me in life
  • If I speak negatively to my children they could grow up to resent me
  • If I don’t encourage myself I will lack the confidence I need to succeed in life

50 reasons or more would be a good number to work towards for your list. It may seem a lot, however, when people list the reasons and excuses they give themselves for NOT doing something, most can quickly list 20 or more right off the top of their head. Listing 50 or more reasons to succeed isn’t too difficult when you start to think about it, and the research clearly shows that the reasons to succeed need to far outweigh the reasons not to succeed in order to achieve success.

Download a pdf list of 80 reasons to take regular exercise

80 Reasons To Take Regular Exercise

  • Be able to play with your grandchildren
  • Be able to carry your daughter up when you want to
  • Be able to defend others
  • Be able to defend yourself
  • Be a role model for your family
  • Be around longer for your family
  • Be better coordinated
  • Be happier
  • Be more alert
  • Be more flexible
  • Be more productive
  • Cause your loved ones to worry less about your health
  • Control your appetite
  • Decrease irregular heart rhythms
  • Decrease pressure in your joints
  • Decrease your risk for a fatal heart attack
  • Decrease your risk of clogged blood vessels
  • Enjoy life more
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Feel happier around other people
  • Feel less nervous or anxious
  • Feel like you’re taking the best possible care of yourself
  • Feel more relaxed and at ease
  • Fulfil your passions
  • Gain pride from your friends
  • Get a promotion at work or better paying job
  • Have a healthier image
  • Have better fitting clothes
  • Have fewer illnesses and absences from work
  • Have more energy
  • Help your body use insulin
  • Improve bowel regularity
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve immune system function
  • Improve your appearance
  • Improve your balance
  • Improve your blood flow
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your posture
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Improve your relationship with others
  • Improve your self-worth
  • Improve your sex life
  • Improve your sleep
  • Increase confidence
  • Increase stamina
  • Increase your endurance
  • Learn new ways to cope with distress
  • Live longer
  • Look better
  • Lower health care costs
  • Lower the risk of erectile dysfunction
  • Lower your resting heart rate
  • Lower your risk for dementia
  • Lower your risk for gallstones
  • Lower your risk for hip fracture
  • Lower your risk for lung cancer
  • Make your emotional life richer
  • Make yourself stronger
  • Manage your anger better
  • Manage your stress better
  • May improve your breathing
  • May lower your blood pressure
  • May save money
  • Prevent weight gain
  • Promote effective problem solving
  • Promote feelings of control
  • Reduce and prevent lower back pain
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce risk of high blood sugar
  • Reduce triglycerides
  • Reduce your body fat
  • Reduce your risk of arteriosclerosis
  • Reduce your risk of breast cancer
  • Reduce your risk of colon cancer
  • Reduce your risk of diabetes
  • Reduce your risk of endometrial cancer
  • Reduce your risk of esophageal cancer
  • Reduce your risk of falling
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Reduce your risk of kidney cancer
  • Reduce your risk of obesity
  • Reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer
  • Reduce your risk of prostate cancer
  • Reduce your risk of sleep apnea
  • Reduce your risk of stroke
  • Relax your mind
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  • Find more meaning in your life
  • Feel happier and more joyful
  • Build better relationships with people
  • Engage in life more
  • Set clearer goals on a daily basis
  • Make better progress towards your goals