Seeing it Through

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One of the largest obstacles to an individual’s success, particularly in today’s age of constant bombardment of media, is the unnecessary and often counterproductive deviation from a proven strategy for the sake of seeking the “next best thing”.

This is true whether we’re talking fitness, diet, business, or personal finance. 

Too many people don’t “see it through” with a solid strategy. These people abandon their approach, often one that would produce their desired result in time, either to pursue another course that they think, or have been influenced to think, may be better, or simply because their desired outcome was not produced rapidly enough.

Over-diversification of effort, or frequent, unwarranted changing of one’s approach are common characteristics of those who fail to produce the results that they are after in virtually anything in life. This is second only to not taking action at all when it comes to what makes a person fail. 

This correlation between compulsive alteration of approach, and a lack of success is due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the inability to measure the success of the effort by comparing it to your previous performances. In business and finance, this would be accomplished by looking at “the numbers” to see that what you’re doing is producing the right changes on the profit and loss statement, or by monitoring other relevant metrics.

When you desire to achieve something, a simple way to get that done is to conduct the due diligence necessary to determine what would be a course of action that is highly likely to be effective, and then take consistent action on that course for a respectable period of time.

Far too many don’t do this. 

Whether it’s the overly emotional, MorningStar reading, cocktail party chatting, stock trader (notice I didn’t say investor) who gambles in the market, and makes his broker rich, or the skinny fat guy who spends hours per day on bodybuilding or strength and conditioning forums (and a few hours per month in the gym), it’s the same characteristic that represents the smoking gun in the investigation into their missing returns on investment.

In the world of fitness we call this “Program or Diet Hopping”.

What most do is try a program for a very short period of time, and then jump ship to something newer, shinier, sexier, or with more bells and whistles that promises more. Unless due diligence has indicated that the change would bring about a better rate of return on the investment of time, energy, or money, or the method that is currently being used has proven to be unsuccessful, this can be a disastrous decision.

Show me a guy who’s “tried” every program out there touted by forum dwelling, internet strength and conditioning “gurus” in the last twelve months, and I’ll show you a guy who’s made little progress.

Conversely, show me a guy who’s spent the last year busting his ass on the Greyskull LP (or any other quality program that works with his goals for that matter), and I will show you a guy who is stronger, leaner, in much better shape, and far less lonely at the Sadie Hawkins dance.

As an interesting sidebar I will add that the “all knowing” internet S&C expert is the same guy who would probably chastise his mother, girlfriend, or wife for buying “Insanity”, “Brazilian Booty Bop Kickbox Bikini Workout”, or whatever other over promising/under delivering fitness DVD is being promoted via infomercial after “Mob Wives” goes off for the night. 

Referencing my recent post “Ever Seen a Fat Guy Run a Five-Minute Mile?”, show me a fat guy who has spent the last several weeks or months busting his ass to bring his mile run time down to under six minutes by (get this) running the mile two or three times per week, and I will show you a guy who is no longer a fat guy.

Even the strongest advocates out there of the “variety” and “diversification” approaches know that often times the right answer is absolutely to put “all your eggs in one basket”.

Years ago, when I was involved in CrossFit during the early days, the rage was to put up the fastest “Fran”, “Grace”, “Helen”, or “Oprah” time out there. I witnessed some very impressive performances by some of the organization’s standouts at the time, and behind each “champion” performance was one common thread:

Each person had spent several weeks “practicing” the event to bring down their time.

I remember watching, and timing the Fran record of the day at a CrossFit Level One seminar at which I was one of the staff members. After the event was over, the guy who’d just Franned all over the place described to  myself and the others that he had done nothing but Fran for three weeks prior to making that attempt on video.

It turned out that the best way to excel at “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity” was not to vary the approach at all, but rather to constantly perform the same task until you could do it better than anyone else.

Now that you know this, you can work hard and become the new “Fran” champion. That and ninety-nine cents will get you a small Frosty at Wendy’s, but I digress…

Decades ago, my father started buying U.S. Savings Bonds at a rate of one $50 bond per week. He was investing $25 (half of the face value of the bond) per week at the time, which represented a respectable, but doable, amount of his weekly income back then. In those days, long-term government bonds were a smart investment. They would reach maturity in a period of as little as seven years. They certainly were not appealing to the less risk-adverse investor, but for my Dad they were just right.

He continued buying bonds at that rate for two decades. Once his earlier purchased bonds began to mature and stop gaining interest, he would cash them out and use the money to buy more bonds. This process of reinvesting his returns allowed him to amass a staggering amount of bonds by the time he was in his late forties and early fifties.

He’s since put his money elsewhere, but the lesson is simple. Here was a guy who was not in the market for risky investments, who had little knowledge of paper assets, who had done his research (pre-internet I might add) and selected a course of action that he believed would be profitable. By sticking to this strategy long term, until it made sense to alter his method,  he was able to build a nice chunk of money with very little risk.

A large part of my work with my Personal Coaching clients, either through TEAMPAIN (the ultimate in “Seeing it Through” insurance when it comes to your body), my new Four-Week Jumpstart Program, or my conventional one-on-one Personal Coaching, involves working with the client to determine the best systems and strategies to employ to ensure that he or she is working consistently towards the end result that they desire. This principle, combined with a series of unique methods for automating or making habits out these activities, is largely responsible for the success that they experience as a result of their effort.

Whether or not You and I work together one-one-one, I encourage you to determine the course of action that you believe, due to your due diligence, and take consistent action in that direction for a period of time that is long enough to accurately measure the amount of success that you produce before seeking to adjust your approach, or over-diversify your efforts.

Get after it, and see it through. 

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2 Responses

  1. Noble

    I needed this post, right now and at this current time. Will have to save it to my desk top and come back to it often. Outstanding article!

    November 28, 2014 at 1:24 am

    • Thank you!

      I’m glad this impacted you when/how you needed it. This is a huge problem that those who don’t meet their goals all share.

      November 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm

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