New year, new beginnings.

I trust that you already have your resolutions and goals planned for the year.

Although the new year brings hope and promise, that spirit of optimism will only linger for so long.

Let’s face it. Even with all the positive thinking, many of us will struggle with our goals this year.

If there’s one thing I learned as a top flight professional athlete for over a decade, it’s that you won’t achieve your goals through hope or motivation alone.

On new year’s eve, I stressed the importance of staying on track with your resolutions and even shared tips on how to do that.

So far so good.

But how do we go from a good start to a great finish? Can 2022 finally be your breakout year? Can you reach your goals by December and end the year with a bang?

Continue reading and you will, because today I share the three iron rules that helped turn me – a clean cut high school math teacher with limited athletic gifts – into a three-time UFC World Champion.

These rules have proven to be so effective in building a successful lifestyle that I still rely on them today, more than five years after my retirement.


Ok, let’s get started.

Routine, Routine, Rinse, Repeat

I hate to sound like a broken record but every achievement has its origins built from a successful routine.

Routine has long been my favorite subject and I’ve covered it pretty extensively here on my blog and the Quite Franklin podcast.

Critical reads:

Understand your routine so you can isolate and weed out any bad habits. Then, implement systems that support the good habits you already have.

There were countless days where training just wore me out so much that I flat out wanted to quit. Using dry erase markers, I would occasionally write pieces of advice to myself on my bathroom mirror. That way, whenever there was a long day ahead, I could wake up first thing in the morning, read my writing and feel encouraged. That’s my system. You have to find yours and make it stick.

Reverse engineer your routine. Is there a particular action or habit in your routine, no matter how small, that has a powerful influence on your behavior for the rest of the day?

Making my bed every morning for the past forty years gets me going.

It symbolizes a fresh start. A tidied bed means that I’ve put away any leftovers – thoughts or feelings from the previous day – and am ready to start the day anew. I feel more calm, focused and eager to attack the day with confidence.

One seemingly small task can set you up with a great attitude to kickstart your routine. Find your keystone habit, do it well and watch things fall into place.

One step forward and keep on moving

‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’

Taking the first step can be daunting, but once you overcome the initial inertia, the hardest part is over.

When things get rough, don’t look for motivation. Inspire yourself instead.

Despite what you might have heard, sheer will wasn’t what got me through those gruelling days in fight camp. My faith was my sustenance.

If God had set me on this path, then he will see me through it. That’s what I believed and it kept me going.

Remember why you got started in the first place. The biggest obstacle to your goal is yourself.

Rejection, disappointment and discouragement will set in.

At your lowest point, you can always slow down, just don’t stop.

Control Your Environment

Our environment shapes the way we think and act.

Your environment can either be a scaffolding or a prison. Design your surroundings to imbue a mindset that places you on track towards your goals.

Maybe you want to stay in shape but you struggle to resist the hunger pangs at night, and so you reach for that slice of apple pie in the fridge.

One bite and you’ve just wasted a hard day’s work of exercise.

But what if you had no cake, pie or any snacks in the fridge? Instead, you have restocked the kitchen with healthy fruits, vegetables, fish and lean cuts of meat. I’d bet you be making progress with that waistline.

Tailor your environment to keep out negative influences and bad habits.

Spending too much time on TV? Cut the cord.

Can’t get up on time in the morning? Go to bed an hour earlier.

Distracted by mindless social media notifications? Set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode.

Pay attention to the places you go to, the things you own and the people you associate with.

Anything bad that takes you further away from your goals? Do yourself a favor and be rid of it.