Slow and steady wins the race.
The lesson of the timeless fable—the Tortoise and the Hare—are well-known. We might even agree that it’s best approach to many things in life, but how often do we heed that advice?
Consider a classic CrossFit workout template: the 20-minute AMRAP. When the clock counts down—three, two, one, go!—at what percentage of your maximal effort do you go out of the gates? One hundred percent? Do you think you could keep that up for 20 minutes? We know through experience that we can’t. Therefore, to give ourselves the greatest chance at success, we should pace ourselves. If we maintain 80 percent for 20 minutes, we will beat anyone who goes 100 percent out of the gate and quickly hits the wall, dropping to 50 percent effort and worse as the clock ticks away. More importantly, we’ll recover more quickly and be ready to put in a good workout the next day.
I apply the same philosophy to reading or listening to audiobooks, which is part of my self-development practice. If I read or listen to a book for one hour per day, after ten years I will have listened to 3,650 hours and taken in a tremendous amount of information and perspective. However, if I try to consume three hours of books every day but only do that consistently for two years—because it got overwhelming and I gave up—I will have taken in only 730 hours of content.
How many times have you hyped yourself up for a new routine or goal only to have it slip away to the chaos of life and business? You might be tempted to berate yourself for your lack of motivation. But in reality, you don’t need more motivation; you need consistency.
Whether your goal is to work out more, cook healthier meals or start a business, visualize the end result and create a plan of attack you know you can realistically stick to, avoiding repeated burnouts and failures. The next time you set out to enforce a new routine or habit, keep this in mind: Play the long game. Find a pace in life and business that you could keep up forever, and don’t waiver from it.