Short-term intensity vs. long-term consistency

“The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.” -Tim Ferris

The scale said 205 pounds.

Holy moly.

I’ve been like, 175lb my whole life. I’ve always played sports, exercised, and eaten…well, I’ve actually eaten fairly badly for the most part (but hey, I had a fast metabolism! That makes it cool, right?). But that scale showed me the highest number I’ve ever seen.

Now, I’m faced with the daunting task of getting healthy again. I’ve been here before, in a place with my health/fitness I want to change. Maybe you’ve said similar things:

  1. I haven’t ran in 6 months, so let’s start with an easy 5 mile jog today.
  2. I’ve been eating pretty crappy. Let’s switch to entirely chicken salad every lunch and dinner from now on.
  3. I’ve been pretty lazy. Let’s start waking up at 6am every day, even on the weekends.

“Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.” -Bruce Lee

Simple plans vs complex plans

I’m planning on having a few beers in the following weeks. I’m sure there will be some junk food, maybe even a burrito or two. This time, I’m not following the “perfect” method that invariably lasts <10 days before I quit. I’m following a good program that will work, consistently. I’ll trust the momentum from my commitment will help me work up from there.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in the blogging/online/creative world is short-term spurts of intensity doesn’t gain followers or traction. Long-term consistency does.

The same principle is true for nearly every other area in your life. Long-term consistency is hard, and people recognize and respect that.

Cultivating a deep relationship with your partner is difficult; jumping ship from the relationship as soon as the butterflies in your stomach stop fluttering is easy. Going to the gym in January takes very little effort; to still be sweating on the treadmill in April is very impressive.

What parts of your life are founded on short-term intensity? How can you reshape those and commit to long-term consistency instead?

For me, that means not starting another shiny new blog from scratch, because my current one isn’t gaining a ton of followers at the moment. That means sticking with a boring fitness routine that I’ll stick with, instead of trying the latest fat-burning, ab-making, mass-gaining super workout I’ll quit after 2 weeks. It means praying and meditating for 10 minutes every morning at 7am, instead of committing to waking up at 5am and having a 2 hour creativity session 7 days a week.

Discussion questions:

  1. Why is long-term consistency more valuable than short-term intensity?
  2. What would my life look like if I committed to simple, easy routines instead of complex ones?
  3. What is one goal I can commit to keeping for at least 90 days, without changing?


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  1. Kevin Hoelscher says:

    Ahhh, the tortoise and the hare. Yes, I’ve always like the advice of envisioning what you want said about you at your funeral, and then living backwards from that. I feel like so many people give up learning new things after their official schooling. Turn the TV off, it’s really not helping you to know what’s going on in the latest NCIS episode, or who was the last person to get voted off the island. Delve in to books, I prefer non-fiction. Appropriately with your dilemma, I just finished a book by Deborah Cohen called A Big Fat Crisis. It’s tough to eat healthy with our food environment…candy pretty much at every cash register…no matter what type of store you’re in. You have to keep your insulin levels down though. Choose animals, eggs, and vegetables. Avoid desserts, sugary beverages, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes…and yes, beer (malt sugar). I know, I just took your fun away.

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