Big things, achievements, goals, a legacy, these are the things in life that we all strive for. You might not want to admit to it, but you do too. Your big thing might be to buy a house for your family to live in, start your own successful business so that you can be your own boss or become healthier to ensure that you are around to enjoy a long life with your loved ones. Getting Big things done will always be a lingering thought for all of us. So why aren’t you, and me actually going after them, why don’t we work on achieving these big things?
It’s because we aren’t focussing on the right things.
As someone who is realising every day that there are many “Big Things” in my life that is still to be achieved, I feel that my view on this subject may be something for you to ponder.
When we dream of the ‘Big Things’ we want to achieve in our life we tend to focus on the end goal. We stand at the foot of the mountain looking up and imagine what the view would be like and how wonderful it would be standing at the summit looking out over the landscape and just enjoy the moment. We get so fixated on the summit and the fantastic view from the top that we don’t ever even start to look around for the path that leads to the top. If can’t find a quick and easy way to get to the top like a cableway that makes it easy and fun to get there, many of us turn away still dreaming of getting there one day. Some might even start to convince themselves that it probably wouldn’t be that great anyway. But that would be wrong.
Why do so many of us turn away? Why don’t we find the small footpath that leads to the top?
I think it is because we have forgotten how to get things done. If someone hasn’t gone out before us to build a cableway to the top we assume that there is no way to get there and we don’t even notice the footpath. We don’t realise that the only proven way to reach any goal is by making regular incremental gains.
This is how real success in all spheres of life is achieved. Securing a comfortable retirement is achieved through tiny monthly contributions to a good savings plan that turns in millions at retirement age through the wonder of compound interest. Sporting success, or any other success for that matter, is only achieved through the rule of 10,000 hours.
This rule of 10,000 implies that as long as you are good enough the start something (and everyone can start something, all it takes id the desire) the only differentiator between the merely good and the truly great is the amount of hour spent on perfecting whatever it is you want to achieve, or in the context of this piece, the amount of concerted incremental step towards your goal. This means that as long as you stick to it and never turn back, but keep moving forward you will reach the top in the end. Just don’t make the mistake of expecting to get to the end, the top of the mountain with the beautiful view in a few bounds. Don’t expect to be good at something from the very beginning. That is just unrealistic.
Now let’s apply this to the general topic of this website.
Being fit is not a destination or quick task to be checked off a to-do list, it is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is achieved by getting loads of little this right as often as possible. Not one of these little things is a silver bullet or a magic spell that changes everything and suddenly turns you into a specimen of virility and vitality, but combined and applied over a long period of time makes a massive difference.
In practical terms, this means that you are far more likely to achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle if you walk more and do daily 30min workouts instead of spending hours during weekends on whatever activity is the flavour of the month. It is better to just be more active along with some workout time rather that sitting all day and then try to do 2-hour workouts in the gym.
You will find it a lot easier stick to healthier meal choices if you make small smart changes like ditching mayonnaise for olive oil and lemon juice with your tuna salad or drinking water or zero calorie flavoured water instead of fruit juice of sodas or instead of throwing out everything you have in your fridge and switch to only eating raw veggies and nuts, your gradually change to better healthier choices. This way, every small step you make will never have to be repeated and you keep moving forward.
To be successful, the only trick is to keep moving forward and never to turn back to old habits that don’t take you closer to you goal.