April 26, 2017 |Gideon Hanekom

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There are six essential parts to your personal transformation process:

  1. Making a personal decision
  2. Create a deadline
  3. Have an exciting vision
  4. Address your self-limiting beliefs
  5. Measure your progress
  6. Surround yourself with good people

Yesterday I managed to win a silver medal in the long jump at the World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland.

The day before that I came 4th in the hundred-meter finals for M35.

I missed out on bronze because my times were far slower than what I ran earlier this season due to bulking up in the gym too much and not doing enough speed training.

But I was still pretty happy.

Now, I’m not telling you this to brag, but to point out the fact that my life right now is a far cry from what it was five years ago.

I’ll tell you more in today’s article. The important part is, yours could be too if you applied a few essentials to your life starting today.

Six essentials to be exact.

Some of you already know my story, but here is the short version.

Five years ago I was fat (30 kg overweight), sick (dangerously high cholesterol levels, gout in various joints, colds four or five times a year), and in a very unhappy place (unfit, out of shape, tired most of the time, ashamed to take off my shirt in public, a poor role model for my son etc.).

Personal transformation

But then things changed.

I discovered my health was in much worse shape than I realised and I had to make some serious changes to my lifestyle.

Fortunately, I got the message loud and clear and I started doing what needed to be done.

I went on to lose around 30 kg, got fit (more than I even was in my 20s), and turned my health around without medication or medical intervention. All-natural.

Fast forward five years, and I’m a different man. Literally.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Personal Development Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

I’m in shape, fit, strong, in good health, competing in track and field again after many years, and most of all leading from the front as a role model for my kids, family, and friends.

Right now, I’m in a good place. I’m happy, content-focused, and constantly looking to improve all areas of my life.

Not because I think I’m better than anyone else, but I’ve realised that the only real competition we are all in, is the one against ourselves.

The challenge is not to be better than someone else (even though competitive sports demand that), but the real challenge is being better than your OLD self.

If you can do that, then you’re a champion in my books.

The great thing about competing at the Masters level is seeing a lot of people who understand this and are doing it at 80, 90, and even 100 years old!

That’s truly inspirational.

Right now, you might also be in an unhappy place in your life.

Perhaps you’re feeling stuck and you don’t know what to do about it.

Maybe you’ve even started believing that this is what your life is destined to be forever.

If it is, I’m here to tell you to get rid of that lie. Because that’s what it is. A lie. A myth.

If you truly want personal transformation in your life, you can do that.

But, it will require doing a few things differently.

You cannot continue doing the same things and expect a different result. Einstein said that is the definition of insanity.

If you want to transform your life or just one area of it, then you have to consider a new path.

There are certain essentials you need to adopt into your life in order to transform it.

Now, will this be hard?

My answer? It depends.

It depends on you.

It depends on how much you want it. It depends on your reason for transforming your life.

It depends on your level of unhappiness at this moment.

If you’re in a place where you kinda want to change because you think it’s a good thing to do, then let me save you the heartache by saying: don’t start right now.

Get your mind right first.

Tap into your inner being and find something that resonates within you.

Something that lights a fire in your soul. Something that’s all-consuming.

If you can tap into something like that, it will become the fuel you need to do what needs to be done to get the result you desire.

Without it, you will run out of willpower, energy, focus, and eventually action.

You’ll just stop doing what needs to be done when the going gets tough.

I’m just being real here.

I’ve been there and done that.

Listen to me. You gotta get your mind right first.

Getting your body in shape, or your relationship, or your finances, or whatever we’re talking about here isn’t the hard part.

The hard part is getting your mind in shape.

Most people fail to achieve great results because they have impotent goals OR they have weak reasons WHY they want to achieve a certain result.

If you want to get improved results in your life or just one area, you need to play big.

Don’t play small.

Remember, the only competition in life that matters is the one that you’re in with yourself.

Winning a medal against someone else is great for the moment, but that passes.

You hang it up with the others you’ve achieved in the past and there it hangs.

GH Gideon Hanekom Life Coach High Performance Trainer Consultant Personal Development Writer Thought Leader Speaker Pastor M.Div Whangarei Northland New Zealand New Life Better Life Blog

But life goes on.

However, the one thing that remains constant and you’re reminded of every day is YOU staring back when you look in the mirror.

You don’t get away from that.

And you don’t get away from the small, quiet, voice in the back of your mind reminding you that the clock is ticking.

Yes, we will all die. But that’s not the point.

The issue is not whether we are all going to die or not, but rather WHAT WE DID before we reach that point.

Did we live fully or not? Do we leave a legacy for those staying behind or not?

Did we live a certain way that leaves an example for others to follow or not?

Was my life a WARNING or an EXAMPLE?

As the Scriptures say, did we run a good race and fought a good fight?

THAT is the real question.

So, now that the sermon is over :) let’s get back to the question of personal transformation.

What are the essentials of personal transformation?

I will share six (6) with you today.

Making a meaningful change in your life can be both exciting and distressing.

It’s important to understand that our brains are wired to make change uncomfortable and more challenging than it needs to be.

Therefore, focusing on the most important aspects of personal change can make the process much smoother and easier.

The odds of success are greatly enhanced, too.

It’s when you try and do everything in one go, that you set yourself up for failure I believe.

Focusing on the most important essentials is a good way of laying a foundation for success later on.

It’s like following a good recipe for a cake. If you do the steps you will end up with a cake that is edible, perhaps even great tasting.

If you don’t, you will most likely end up with a mess and a kitchen to clean, but nothing to show for it.

So, if you are serious about making a personal transformation, or are at least seriously considering it, have a look at the following essentials and start planning how you are going to include them in your process.

6 Essentials in Your Personal Transformation Process

Make a personal decision.

Every transformation process that I know of starts with a decision.

A real decision.


Because making a true decision might be the most powerful thing you can do.

A true decision cuts off all other possibilities.

Most of us fail to truly decide and therefore fail to get the results we desire.

We make weak decisions and then fail to stick with them.

The truth is that constant vacillation between multiple options is actually worse than making no decision at all.

That’s why I said earlier you have to get your mind right.

So, narrow down your options to just a couple of choices and then pick one.

After the careful consideration you’ve done in the narrowing process, one choice is probably as good as another when you only have a couple of options left.

Picking a suboptimal choice is also better than failing to make a choice.

For example, when I started my weight loss journey I did two major things:

  1. I replaced red meat with chicken salad, and
  2. I added one push-up and bodyweight squat every day until I could do a hundred of each easily before taking a shower in the morning.

Eventually, I built on this foundation by adding various other things and tweaking what I did.

The key, however, was consistency.

I kept at it and never varied.

Losing the first 20 kg was boring, to say the least, but sticking to the essentials works.

As easy as that.

There is no secret.

Just hard work.

That’s why you have to get your mind right.

In fact, I don’t even talk to people about how they can lose weight (as an example) until I can pick up in their language that the mind is right.

If you come to me with “maybes” and “kindas” or “shoulds” I won’t even talk to you about what to do until you get that right.

If there isn’t hunger in your soul to turn things around in your life (or your life as a whole), no strategy or plan or process or advice will help you.

That’s being real.

Set a timeline.

Have you ever noticed how projects expand to fill the allotted time?

It’s called Parkinson’s Law.

If your boss gave you two weeks to complete a project, you’d probably be scrambling at the last minute to get it done.

If you know you have an exam coming up in a month, you’ll probably start studying a few days out.

This is a very common thing that we all fall prey to at times.

Personal transformation, however, demands patience.

But, it’s much easier staying patient when we have a deadline or a target we’re moving towards.

When we have the end in sight, we tend to persist more.

And as you know by now consistency is key.

When I set out to lose weight years ago, I literally took it one step at a time.

My aim was as short-term as weekly. I would aim to lose as much as 5 kg per week in those early weeks (because I had heaps to lose).

Then, as the weight started coming off, it obviously became harder to lose the weight.

This happens for various reasons.

But I simply adjusted my target per deadline.

The point being, it’s important to have a deadline at which you take stock of your progress.

It’s also important to choose a deadline that’s reasonable and not too stressful for you but is still aggressive.

By doing that you can get more accomplished than you realise.

So the trick is finding that combination of achievable yet challenging.

Look, irrespective of what you choose for your situation, it’s important to realise that the lack of a timetable ensures your transformation process will take much longer than necessary.

Have an exciting vision.

Ensure that you have a clear picture of how your personal transformation will positively impact your life.

Do you want to be a role model for your kids?

Do you want to be an example for your wife?

Do you want to inspire people?

Do you want to have a life that is debt-free?

Do you want to have freedom?

Do you want to contribute to causes around the world that help people and the planet?

Let me get very real with you: if YOUR vision doesn’t fill you with excitement, you’re going to need a new vision for your future.

Making a big change is challenging.

Without a compelling expected future, it will be hard to persevere.

You need something to “pull” you because “pushing” all the time is a lot harder on your willpower and ability to persist.

A great vision does this for you. It pulls you on the days when you lack the energy and willpower to continue. It pulls you when the results aren’t coming as fast as you’d like.

The bottom line is: get a clear picture of how your personal transformation will positively impact your life and let that VISION inspire you daily.

For example, the awesome Lindford Christie has inspired me from a young age and as a Masters athlete, he continues to do so.

Linford Christie personal transformation

Address your self-limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs don’t directly limit your ability to transform.

However, they can severely limit your ability to take action.

And when it comes to personal transformation, ACTION is the name of the game!

If you don’t believe you can succeed, you’ll never complete the hard work required to see a transformation.

That’s just a fact.

Therefore, make a list of all the beliefs you have about yourself and the world that could be limiting your progress.

Address each of them one by one.

Then, make a list of counterexamples to that belief.

  • What is the disadvantage of continuing to accept that belief?
  • What new belief could you install in its place?

It’s challenging to find and eliminate all the limiting beliefs you hold, but doing so guarantees your ultimate success.

Also, consider any experiences in your past that fill you with a sense of failure.

These memories can often hold clues to your limiting beliefs.

For example, one of my nicknames (and some old friends still use this) was “Fat Pastor.”

Another one was “Big Boy.”

The irony is that some of my friends are now actually bigger and fatter than I am.

Yet, some things stick.

However, I don’t see myself as any of these anymore because I’m not.

I now refer to myself as “Healthy Dad” or “fit and fast” or “lean and strong.”

Now, is there room for improvement?

Of course, there is.

That’s the whole point of this article.

This journey is never over unless we die of course.

But even then, in my belief, the journey continues in some way or another.

The universe has shown itself to be an ongoing process of creation and transformation.

You and I are part of that.

Therefore, getting stuck in old ways of seeing the world, including old beliefs about ourselves, is contradictory to what the universe is about.

Therefore, I cannot, and should not, get stuck in what I used to be.

And neither should you.

Your personal transformation demands a new way of looking at yourself.

It also demands to believe new things, like what is possible for you.

Just because you feel stuck at the moment, doesn’t mean that’s where you need to stay.

Your life can change. Mine did! Why can’t yours!?

Measure your progress.

Let’s get something straight right from the start: Any significant transformation will take time.

Weight is lost a little at a time.

Skills are gained over time.

New friends are made over time.

Fitness is gained in time.

New habits are formed over time.

Progress always happens over time.

There is no way of getting around this.

I appreciate that we live in an instant gratification culture where we want an app for everything.

But that’s not the way the world works.

It will serve you if you can get your head around this right from the start.

So, develop a way to track your progress and review it regularly.

Seeing progress is motivating.

It also lets you know where you stand.

Additionally, enjoy your results and let them increase your enthusiasm.

For example, two things I did quite religiously at the start of my weight loss journey was,

  1. getting on the scale once per week, and
  2. taking pictures of myself as my body changed over time.

I also used fat callipers and measuring tapes, but that came later on.

I had enough to lose initially for the scale and pictures to tell the whole story.

And seeing results truly motivated me to keep going.

Also, when you start getting some serious results other people will notice and comment.

That’s when it becomes really motivating because all your hard work behind the scenes is now being rewarded in public.

Surround yourself with good people.

The last, and perhaps most important, essential I would encourage you to include in your personal transformation process is surrounding yourself with good people.

This is important for a couple of reasons.

The Law of Association states that we tend to become the average of the people we spend most of our time with.

As people, not only are we creatures of habit, we are also like “pack animals.”

We take our cues for how to behave from those we surround ourselves with.

If you want to fast track your results in any area of your life, find and start spending more time with people that already have that very result in their lives.

Their influence becomes contagious.

For example, if you hang out with people that eat healthily, your own eating habits will change.

If you spend time with people who respect finances and money, your own spending and investment/saving habits will change.

If you want to improve your marriage, start hanging out with happily married couples.

Their influence will be contagious with a direct impact on your own situation.

This is also one of the reasons why I got back into competitive track and field as a Masters athlete.

It gave me an opportunity to meet new people as well as surround myself with people with the same values and goals I have.

This has had a huge impact on the way I see things as well as the future. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again when you see hundred-year-old people still competing in track and field it only inspires you.

So ask yourself, who do you need to find and spend more time with?

Who do you need to surround yourself with?

But also, who ARE you spending time with now that is hurting or limiting your progress?

Because that’s the other side of the coin.

As much as people can inspire and influence us positively, others can do quite the opposite.

We need to be aware of this and not put our heads in the sand on this.

I do know what this means for you, but I hope you do.

Maybe you need to join a club of some sort. Perhaps a church group.

Or, maybe you need to connect with that person on Facebook you met on the weekend and stay in touch.

Perhaps, you simply need to start spending more time with the positive people that are already in your life.

Another option is, of course, connecting with some sort of mentor or coach.

This might be a paying option but again changer.

Getting to spend time with someone that’s positive as well as an expert in helping people get results, can really fast track your own progress.

Final thoughts

Making a successful personal transformation is one of the quickest ways to positively change your life.

One of my good friends sent me a message on the weekend saying that if someone told him eight years ago that I’d be achieving now what I have achieved, he wouldn’t have believed that.

I’m telling you this because you can never foresee what a personal transformation will do for your life.

Right now, you’re used to something.

To a certain way of doing things, a certain lifestyle, certain people, certain opportunities, and certain rituals and habits.

But just because you are used to those things, doesn’t mean they can’t change.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t experience something else.

And it definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t experience something better.

Don’t let your “limited results” right now, limit your mind and potential.

Don’t let your “small” life make you small-minded.

Start creating a compelling future and be determined that you’ll reach it by your deadline.

Work on your limiting beliefs.

They are the greatest impediment to your ability to change.

Measure your progress along your journey.

The feedback and motivation it provides are invaluable.

And finally, simply enjoy the journey on this thing called life.

We never know what it’s gonna throw at us.

The good and bad.

But, we can always choose how we respond.

So respond well.

I’m cheering for you.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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