Prepare For Something!
Everybody should prepare for something that requires them to work harder, leave no stones unturned, and do everything possible to reach a specific goal.
There are plenty of options: a bodybuilding contest (or if you're not there yet, a professional photo shoot), a powerlifting or amateur strongman competition, etc. Having to prepare for something specific that puts the pressure on will take everything to the next level. It'll allow you to do things you couldn't imagine possible.
My two biggest challenges have been:
- I couldn't stick to a diet for more than a few days.
- I couldn't follow a strict training plan because I always do what I feel like doing or try new things in the gym.
So last year I did a photo shoot and got into great shape again. And I have another one coming up and I'm in even better shape. For the 10 weeks leading up to these shoots I was a machine. I cheated maybe once per diet (one cheat meal in 10 weeks, both times). I actually stopped having cravings because the importance of the goal and my desire to succeed exceeded my desire to eat crap.
Furthermore, I designed a training plan and stuck to it with no deviations. And the result is that even while being in a caloric deficit and doing cardio, I managed to make improvements in muscular development while getting super lean. I learned from last year, and this year I'll take the habits I formed and will stay in great shape the whole year.
Powerlifting coach Alex Babin had his bench press stuck at 395 for years. He decided to enter a competition and his training focus got jacked up two notches. Instead of experimenting with new training methods he hired an expert and followed the plan.
The training, better eating, and laser-like focus allowed him to hit a 425-pound bench press in competition, and he could have done more. He's now gunning for 452-pounds, the Quebec record.
The urgency and sense of accountability provided by an actual specific and pressure-filled goal is one of the best ways to learn just how good you can be and what focused effort really is.