Have you ever heard the idea before that you can do more in a year and less in a day than you think? Or some version of that. We all underestimate what we can do in the long term and we overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term.
We want 6-pack abs in 6 weeks and we don’t think we can ever save the money we need to retire. Both retiring with millions and getting 6-pack abs are very possible. For most, it’ll take much longer than 6 weeks to get visible abs. It’s also completely possible for almost anyone to have a 7 figure portfolio in just over a decade. Both are completely possible, it might not be super fast but it is still very much possible and can happen in a matter of years if done right. From the position of having a visible abs or a million dollars, maintaining what you have is much easier and sustainable than the effort it took to build.
What I’m trying to say is, big things can happen in the medium term. Sustained action towards a goal will lead to huge results over a reasonable time frame. Not decades, not weeks, but years.
What can you accomplish in a year?
We start a new year with big plans and ideas for the next 12 months. We have a starry eyed perspective of the next year which is why New Years resolutions rarely amount to anything at all. We tell ourselves that we have a whole year to accomplish the goal. We say, ”it doesn’t matter if I have a week of being inconsistent, I can pick back up and next Monday. I still have the rest of the year to take action.” The danger in this rationalization is two fold. First you are telling yourself, through your actions, that you aren’t actually committed to your goal. Second you are establishing behavior where you don’t hold yourself accountable.
If you want to make a New Years’ resolution stick, you need to define what you are trying to achieve and give yourself a date on which you want to achieve it. This is part of good goal setting.
A quick note regarding new years resolutions, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting new goals for the next year but they need to be done right and taken seriously. When you break it down, a year really isn’t that long. It’s only 52 weekends, only 12 first’s of the month, 525,600 minutes. How do you measure, measure a year? Hehe. All kidding aside, for your new years resolutions, make reasonable goals with realistic expectations and actionable plans. If you make a half hearted effort, it’s probably better to not even bother… Anyways, back to the initial thought, the intermediate term.
In between the long term and short term is the intermediate-term or medium-term, I don’t really know what to call it… In this intermediate-term we can make rapid, significant progress towards a goal as long as there’s consistent focus and action. Take for example the 6-pack abs example from earlier. What needs to happen for a man to get visible 6-pack abs? Lose fat, build muscle. He needs to get down to about 10% body fat and he needs to have big enough ab muscles that they can pop out of his body to give him the washboard look. If each meal, training session (workout), night, etc. is done with the goal of losing fat and building muscle, he will see amazing results after 4-6 months regardless of where he started. Give him another 6 months to 1 year and he’ll be a whole new person from where he was when he started.
We are terrible at predicting what will or won’t change over time, some of which is beyond our control. We can have a massive influence over the things that are within our control. However we mostly assume that things in the future will be the way they are now, but that’s rarely the case. Take a minute and think about what your life was like just one year ago and how it is different now. Things rarely stay the same over time.
You Have the Power to Change
While we can’t control much of that change, we each have a lot that we have the ability to influence and change. For almost everyone interested in health and fitness, changing your body is life changing not because you changed how you look but that you’ve proven to yourself that you can have an influence on the world around you. It’s a huge lesson for life and part of the reason it’s so important for everyone to weight train. The person you become in the process is much more valuable than the changes in your appearance that you may or may not gain.
But these changes take time. They don’t happen overnight. In fact, if your sole goal is to just look better, those in your life won’t notice any real changes for the first 6 weeks. 6 weeks of hard work without any changes. Is it worth it? Of course it is! The best time to start was 10 years ago, the next best time is now.
The main takeaway here is that it’s important to take action. Action leads to insights, ideas, motivation and more. Take action towards your goal without too much concern for the result. The results may change depending on your actions and how they align with your goals but unless you start now you won’t have that feedback. The results will follow with time and consistent action towards your goal. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing how your actions have improved your world and the world around you.