The Long Game: Maintaining Your Progress Over The Years

Everyone has resolutions and goals. Some people want to lose weight, get stronger, start a new hobby or sport, get better at shooting, or whatever.

So you pick a diet plan, a hobby, a sport, a goal, and you do the work. You realize your goals. People notice. Your family notices. They congratulate you on your hard work and ask how you were able to do it. You excitedly preach about your path and the methods you use. You feel accomplished, and people care about how you’re doing.

Public accountability is a strong motivating factor in sticking to a goal. Knowing that there’s an audience of people watching (no matter the size) can light a fire to keep doing the work. Checking in with progress pictures and having people comment and like give you a nice dopamine hit that makes you want more.

Time passes. The newness of your achievements wears off. Now you’re a person who just does a hobby, or weighs a healthy weight. You’re a few years past your goal and you’re just doing your thing without anyone noticing. There is a definite choice to be made here. Either progress in silence, or let the old habits sneak back in.

Sometimes people who get a taste of their goal will regress (quickly or slowly) because they fall off the wagon. They wanted to say they achieved their goal more than they wanted to improve as a human. They turned a marathon into an unsustainable sprint just to cross a line.

Sometimes the path was wrong to begin with. The diet-plan didn’t jive with your lifestyle or physiology and became unsustainable. Adjust your course and keep going.

Injuries and sickness can lead people down a path to failure. For some, they are the beginnings of a cascade of negative emotions, inactivity, and poor choices. Listen to your body, but don’t stop moving forward.

Burnout is a big problem for me. I personally tend to get obsessively focused on a goal and work towards it until I can’t stand that activity. When this happens, I have to indulge in some goal-hijacking. I have to allow myself to find something else to focus on while the fire re-ignites for the original goal. I haven’t found a shortcut for this. Just time.

Everyone fails and falls short. Everyone gets frustrated and goes off the rails. Everyone gets sick or injured and regresses. You just have to decide that you’ll maintain the discipline to start again.

Pro-tip: THE PROCESS IS THE GOAL.

Find motivation in the minutia. The deep dive. Depth of study and depth of discipline.

Remember why you started, and that you’re doing it for you. For your health, sanity, safety, whatever. People will eventually stop caring, and stop ‘liking’ your progress pictures. They might even mock you for your slip-ups. Rapid improvement will eventually become imperceptible forward progress, or maybe just maintenance. That’s how it is. And that’s fine. The journey doesn’t end.

Do The Work.

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