Slow Human nature dictates that most of us want to start something up and go to the furthest extreme possible. It’s not enough to just start eating well, we want to pair it up with going to the gym 5 days as week at 5am, really go all in.
It’s not enough to start a new running program and follow it methodically from Week 1 Day 1, we know we have some base level of fitness, so we decide to skip ahead a few weeks and cut out the “boring foundation work”.
9 times out of 10, that mentality leads to a very brief honeymoon period, say maybe 2-3 weeks, 4 if we’re really froggy, then the initial motivation starts to wane, we haven’t yet developed the discipline to stay the course no matter how we’re feeling in the moment, and we hit a big time mental wall and just…stop. We don’t stop some aspect of it, we literally just stop the “thing” altogether. Sound familiar? I’ve certainly been there. Heck, I still get myself there at times.
An example I’ll use is in my running. I typically do a few long races (30+ miles) each year, so a huge amount of my runs are very slow long-ish training runs that keep my heart rate in low zone 2 and they serve to keep my legs strong and my cardio base in a good place. I’ll invite a buddy along to run with me and after the initial chitchat, we start jogging, and they pull away from me really quickly. I may be running a 11:30-12:30min/mile pace and they’re coming out hot at more like a 8 or 9 minute pace. I tell them “We don’t need to go that fast, that’s not going to allow us to hit the distance we need from this run”. They’re usually all sorts of confused and say something like “I thought we were running though?! If we go the speed you want that’s not going to do anything for us!”.
That analogy translates to the mindset trap we tend to fall in across so so many areas of our life.
If we’re gonna do the “thing”, we gotta do it fast and extreme.
Slow methodical sustainable progressions can’t possibly work, right?
Actually yes, yes they can and yes they do.
If you’re going to start eating well, consider hiring a coach for guidance, support, knowledge, and accountability, and take it slow early on. Don’t try to do a total diet 180 in the first week, work at gradual change over time. That WILL lead to better and better progress.
If you’re going to start a new lifting or running program, don’t commit to 5-6 days a week with 4am wake-ups. If you can’t sustain it long term, a short brief stint upfront probably won’t do you much good other than making you resent it.
If you’re getting into a new hobby, ease into it. Go a couple times a week, enjoy it for what it is, let your body and mind recover, and keep showing up fresh.
Social media tells us weights need to be heavy, runs need to be sprints, and everyone alive needs to have abs.
Ignore all that noise and slow down a bit. You going slower and gradually ramping up both consistency and proficiency for the next 1-10 years is SURE to produce better results, AND keep you in a better headspace, then kicking things off WAY too extreme and burning out and saying “Ahhhh forget it, just another thing that doesn’t work.”