One Step Closer

*The title of this post was taken from the Linkin Park song of the same name*

A while back I was reading an article from a coach in my industry who I look up to and he was discussing his path towards learning to play guitar.

I’ll paraphrase the article but this coach researched different types of guitars and finally decided on the one he wanted. He made the purchase, picked up some instructional manuals and courses and told himself he would commit roughly 30 minutes a day to playing.

But he just couldn’t get started.

Based on everything happening in his life, 30 minutes was too much of a time commitment. So he broke it down even further: to about 10-15 minutes a day.

This gave him a sustainable approach and a foundation to build on so he could make strides in learning to play his new instrument.

In last week’s article, I gave my list of all the books I read in 2017. There were 110 books on that list. I love to read but I wanted to conquer some larger books in 2018.

The first on my list was J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic “The Lord of the Rings.”

If you haven’t seen it, it’s the collection of all three stories that saw a resurgence in popularity by film several years ago. Having seen the films, I was acclimated to the stories but really wanted to read the collection.

It’s approximately 1200 pages not including appendices and that would make it the largest book I’ve ever read.

Since I frequently have to read books in a time sensitive manner so that I can interview different authors for my podcast, I needed a better strategy for reading this massive collection and still be able to shift other books in and out of the regimen.

So, I took the aforementioned coach’s tip and decided to break it down.

I’d give myself a minimum of 10 pages every day to take in Lord of the Rings.

On the long side, it will take me 120 days to read the book plus I’ll have plenty of time to read other books along the way if need be. Knowing myself, I’ll probably overcompensate somewhere along the way and have Tolkien’s book done long before then.

What does this have to do with you and your fitness goals?

We are at the beginning of the year where people have the inclination and motivation to make big changes to their diet and exercise plans. More often than not, those best intentions get thrown by the wayside because life has that funny way of interrupting our plans.

Consider the person who makes a plan to do 60 minutes of cardio three times a week. Motivation is high in January and things get off to a rocking start. Then February (or sooner) rolls around and it sure is hard to fit that 60 minutes in when you’re strapped with work commitments, family life, and every other nuance of life.

This same person then finds it hard to fit 60 minutes in once a week and then ditches the exercise plan ready for the next great hope in dietary paradise or high intensity silver bullets (which don’t exist, by the way.)

Many people tend to forget that slow and steady still wins the race. Take a cue from the stories above and you may find it easier to fit in 2 separate bouts of 15 minute workouts in your day. Or maybe you can only do one bout of 15 minutes and you find a way to build on that as you let the habit nestle its way into your lifestyle.

The same can be said for diet changes. Rather than deplete food groups and embark on 7/14/21-day fixes and resets, you can find one meal to improve on for a couple of weeks. Lock that meal down, make it the new norm and then shift to the next dietary tweak.

Lasting progress doesn’t need to be fast despite our emotional pull to the contrary. If you’re not in a rush for a vacation, high school reunion or to become the cover model on the next issue of Shape magazine, then why hurry?

Lasting change comes from making small steps getting you “one step closer” to your goals.

And here’s our resident “Mama Pat”, ringing in the New Year with a bang.