You Can’t Rush Progress

4 Hour Work-Weeks, Speed reading, the most efficient multi-tasking ever; we want all of it, and we want it now.  Our uber-efficient, Uber using world wants rapid reinforcement.  Unfortunately for this learned behavior, you can’t rush progress.

Let’s use Facebook as an example.  A month ago I went to my personal page and noticed a prompt to fill some things in my “About Me” section:

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Facebook, things in that timeline escalate a little bit quickly.  Here I am thinking about the Husky or German Shepard I want in the future, and you’re rushing me through a relationship* to make me think about the tantrums of the Terrible Twos?!

This is what happens in the fitness world.  We go from rarely if ever working out, to commiting to 6x per week workouts.  We go from being the McDonald’s 1pm regular to organic shakes, smoothies, and naming the pastured pigs at the organic food co-op we became a part of.

The person who’s never run trains for a marathon.  The person who’s never lifted wants to deadlift a world record.  The person who considers ketchup a vegetable becomes a vegan.  All of these things are great when they work out, but let’s be sensible about when they actually work out.

Making progress isn’t about massive bursts of energy and rapid success.  Sure, that’s sexy, but it’s not realistic.  We have to think about the long-game, and while we need a vision of the future, we’re most successful when our focus is on the next step to success.

I’ve found that asking the question, “How confident are you that you’ll be successful?” is a great place to start.  Ask yourself this.  Ask you friends this.  If you’re a fitness professional, ask your clients this.  You can work off of the actual answer they give you, hopefully 80% or above, but you can also work based on the overall reaction.  A tentative 100% is not as good as an honest 60%.  Then, re-evaluate and consider a more appropriate next-step.

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Fitness is a life-long journey, and you can’t rush progress.  Sure, we want the physique and performance of our dreams yesterday, but it’s important to look further down the timeline to really see how things will feel once you get there.

When you’re considering an action plan that turns dreams into goals, it’s important that you follow an appropriate progression.  For any given stage, ask “How confident are you that you’ll be successful?”  Before moving on, consider the percentage selected, hopefully at least 80%, usually above, and how confident that answer was.  When starting, steps should be simple to build self-efficacy and the habit of success.  Better begets better, and you can’t rush progress to get there.

*There’s some irony here that I think my girlfriend will giggle about.  Hi, KK.

 

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