In order to become the man you want to be, you need to first face the cold, hard facts of reality. Have you done enough to be successful? Only by being honest to yourself, can you start on the journey to really achieving the things that you want to accomplish.

Many guys like to complain. They lounge around all day, being underwhelming, sitting on their ass, not doing anything productive. Some of them are fat, their beer bellies disgustingly protruding over their pants. Some of them are skinny, and could use an intensive session in their local burger joint in order to gain some weight.

We often talk about women having a sense of entitlement, but many guys have it too. Think hard about your life? Why do you deserve a million dollars? Why do you deserve hot girls? Many guys believe that they deserve these things, just because of the fact that they exist, yet they don’t do anything in order to get it.

Now that I have torn you down, I will try to build you back up. This is the first part of character building. In order to change, you need to develop a realistic vision of yourself first. You are not going to do that without facing the facts.

Let’s start with working on your body, since your body is the first thing that people will see. A healthy, good looking body is the basis of your own well-being and overall success.

1. Create clear goals

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Do you have clear achievable goals? If you are like most people, you probably don’t. You might have something vague like “I want to have muscles” or “I don’t want to be fat”, but nothing else. This type of stuff ain’t gonna cut it.

If you want to change, you have to have clear goals. These goals should be set according to the SMART criteria. They have to be specific, sustainable, attainable, relevant and time-related. They also need to support the vision that you have set out for yourself.

Use the present tense when writing your goal. This means something like: “I have added five kilograms of lean muscle by December 2015.” Once you have the goal, it’s time to execute!

2. Train your willpower

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If you have been a lazy slob until now, you need to start working on your willpower. Your willpower is at the center of you being able to achieve your goals.

It’s probably pretty weak right now. Willpower is like a muscle and you need to exercise it. In order to make it grow, you need to focus on expanding it. Start off slowly and focus on just a few things at a time. Once you have trained your willpower, it will be much easier to achieve things.

3. Create habits

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Using your willpower can be quite energy-depleting. You will need it initially, but in order not to expend too much energy, you will need to automatize processes, create routines and turn those routines into habits.

A habit is something that you do automatically. With a habit you expend a lot less energy than through forcing yourself to do things with willpower. In that way, you save your willpower for more important things.

In order to sustain habits, you need to create an environment that fosters good habits. For example if you want to eat healthier, you need to stock up your fridge with healthy foods, so that whenever you get the hunger pangs and open your fridge, the only option you have is to pick something healthy to eat.

You also need to create habit triggers, something that triggers the execution of your habit. For example, on the days I go to the gym, I bring my gym stuff with me to work. The times I leave my bag at home and get back home, I rarely end up going to go the gym.

4. Progressive overload is king, so you need to lift heavy

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So now you have worked on your willpower, created some healthy, gym-going habits and you go to the gym regularly. That’s a good start. However many people just BS around in the gym and don’t do the right things in order to maximize their gains.

You need to remember that the way to grow is to keep on lifting heavier and heavier weights. You need to give your body challenging resistance in order to force it to grow. There is no other way.

When lifting, remember to keep correct form. If you don’t, you are at a high risk of injuries. If you are a newbie, start off by lifting light weights and learning to lift correctly. Once you have the form down, then start on progressively adding more weight.

5. Nutrition is key, so remember to fuel up your body

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If you want to be big, then you need to eat properly. Nutrition is one of the biggest factors of your gains. You need to provide your body with the fuel and the building blocks to force it to grow. The three main types of micronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Proteins are the building blocks that make up your muscles. You need to include a lot of protein-rich foods in your diet, which include chicken breasts, steak, and fish.

What are carbohydrates? They are not the bogeyman that some new fad diets are making them out to be. In fact, they are the fuel for your body. Glucose is the basic building block of most carbohydrates and the main fuel of your body. It is especially important to eat some carb-rich foods around 1.5 or 2 hours before your workout, in order to have the energy to hit the weights hard.

Fats have been the devil-incarnate in the 90s and early 2000s, but now they are making a comeback as the healthy choice. Remember that there are different types of fats (saturated, unsaturated…etc.) and one of the building blocks of these are fatty acids. Some of them are considered essential.

The modern diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and that’s why you need to take extra care to include them in your diet. They can be found in seafood, salmon, and grass-fed beef.

6. Take into account the fact that setbacks will happen

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In your journey to get big and muscular, you will face challenges and setbacks. You need to take this into account and deal with it when it happens. For example, about a year and a half ago, I had an ACL operation and was out of the game for a long time. I worked hard on rehabilitating after the injury and once the knee got stronger, I got back in the game.

Unfortunately, the knee still isn’t 100%, but I try to make with what I got. You need to have the same type of mindset in order to power through challenges and overcome setbacks.

7. Don’t do someone else’s routine

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Pro bodybuilder – if you are a newbie, don’t do his routine

You have probably flipped through one of those glossy bodybuilding magazines and tried one of the routines that they say the Mr. Olympias do. However you saw no gains.

You need to keep in mind that what works for one person, doesn’t always work for another one. We all have different body types, different ratios of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles, different preferred ways of doing things, different personalities and there are also all kinds of other factors. That means that you will need to experiment a bit in order to find out what works for you.

When setting up your routine, you only need to remember the basic principles of lifting: progressive overload, correct form, good nutrition, a stable routine, and the willingness to work hard. That’s all you need to get big and muscular.

Once you have these basic things down and start working hard on self-improvement, other things will start coming naturally. The money will start trickling in, the girls will start knocking on your door and, best of all, you will have the natural self-confidence that you need in order to get even better and to become more successful.

Read More: 5 Pre-Workout Tips For Consistently Better Workouts