What's the key ingredient in becoming a great NFL quarterback? Being on an NFL roster! You have to be a member of the family before you can be considered a great member of the family.
The same is true for following Christ. You can play pickup football imitating all the great moves of your favorite players but until you have that life-changing event of making an NFL team, you have not shot at Canton, the Pro Bowl or even being a great player.
You can imitate Jesus in spurts. But you can't follow Jesus on your own. You need to have a life-changing encounter with God. Peter did on his fishing boat in Luke 5. Have you?