Why Discipline Must Come From Identity

"Goals don't determine success. Systems determine success." 
~ James Clear

At MTNOUGH we spend a lot of time researching long term athlete success and potential, and the research is clear, performance over decades requires a system of good habits on autopilot. The good news is most everyone taking a look at this is highly motivated to improve and grow.  Otherwise, you wouldn't be taking the time to read this. You most likely have big goals for this season, and are determined to have a strong year. The bad news is the majority of those goals won't last or be realized unless you are able to tie them in to your "Identity". 

Mountain athlete training in gym

Top Performers Focus On "Who" They Want To Be Not "What" They Want To Do

It is consistency that makes long term athletes successful. But it is more than that, it is someone that decides "who" they want to be and puts that identity into action with small daily habits. The classic example of the power of identity is individuals who try to quit smoking.  A person who is trying to quit cigarettes will often say "I am trying to quit" if offered.  However, an identity-focused person will say "I am not a smoker" when offered a cigarette and be significantly more successful in quitting and quitting for life. This is why it is important to think of yourself as an athlete regardless of your age, that could be a hunter athlete or military athlete, or simply an athlete for life. Identity will shape your actions, it is a lot harder to skip a workout if you identify as an athlete versus not one.  
Mountain athlete training in gym

Top performers refuse negative self-perceptions
Set your goals on "who" you want to become and do not let a negative self-perception sabotage your identity and future.  For example, claiming you are too old to lift weights, a well used excuse. Claiming this excuse creates a dangerous cycle leading to unwise habits...like not working out and those unwise habits will reinforce that negative identity keeping your from training creating a steady downhill spiral. 
Mountain athlete training in gym

Top performers know that life is the sum-total of the small decisions we make. 

John Maxwell, the well known leadership author said, “I can predict the long-term outcome of your success if you show me your daily habits.”

This is easier said than done sometimes, and at MTNOUGH we preach over and over again to not chase the "magic pill." It is the fundamentals that matter, you must do the work, don't chase the latest fad diet or magic supplement. Your consistent training habits matter more than you can imagine.

The right path is never easy, but what matters is creating forward progress toward your positive identity with discipline and a lot of hard work.  Who do you want to become, chase that, and Stay Dangerous!    


MTNTOUGH believes that mental toughness is just as important as physical strength and that the strongest muscle in the human body is the one between your ears. With a coaching staff comprised of former Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and renowned physical trainers—the workouts aren’t easy. The goal is to prepare clients for both the unthinkable and the everyday—to have the mental capacity and physical stamina to self-rescue in an emergency, or grind through a 12-hour workday and still play with the kids after dinner. Ara Megerdichian, MTNTOUGH coach and former U.S. Army officer and Ranger, believes the best way to harden the mind is by reaching and exceeding physical boundaries, by taking challenges once considered impossible and making them attainable and repeatable.