Today, many of us live in a society of instant gratification.
We have almost everything we could ever want or need available at our fingertips. Resultantly, many struggle to withstand temptation & opt for choices that bring immediate reward, foregoing a more rewarding long-term benefit in the process.
There exists a deep-underlying issue with this societal pattern; it removes the emphasis of putting in work over time.
Too many people are attached to the premise of attaining whatever they want instantaneously, without having to actually work for it. It’s become an ingrained attitude in many and one that has deleterious effects on our health & well-being.
If we continue to allow our urges to control us & opt for choices of instant gratification, the chances are we’re going to end up in a bad way. Over-consumption, unhealthy dietary patterns and inactivity are all likely outcomes.
If this wasn’t bad enough, this culture of instant gratification is even present when it comes to attempting to make decisions to improve health. So many people look for quick fixes - fad diets for an assigned period of time for example. They all completely miss the point.
The reality is that continually opting for instant gratification will leave you detached from the one behaviour that brings about meaningful change - consistency.
To improve health & well-being - and to achieve almost anything for that matter - you have to be consistent with the necessary behaviours for an extended period of time. It’s the only way to get sustained results.
I know this because I’ve been through it myself.
When I first started properly going to the gym, in 2014, I weighed around 165lbs (75kg). I was skinny & not particularly strong. I’d wanted to bulk-up & increase my strength for a while, but I’d never demonstrated enough commitment to my pursuit of doing so.
In the space of 10-12 months, I upped my weight to around 185lbs (85kg). I had considerably more muscle & was so much more satisfied with my physique. What did I do? I committed to the necessary behaviours - lifting weight, eating enough food - consistently over time.
Another example. At the start of this year I began my personal training & online coaching business. I had no idea where I was going to get my first client from or how I was going to grew my social media presence in order to reach my audience.
Drawing from experience, I recognised that I simply needed to apply the necessary behaviours with consistency. So I began posting across several social media platforms, day-in, day-out. I still do. There are days where I feel like I don’t have the ideas or simply can’t be bothered to create, but I still get it done. The result? My business has grown, I have a handful of clients & have received a decent number of inbound enquiries through social media.
FOCUS ON THE PROCESS
At first the idea of committing to a set of behaviours for a prolonged period of time can seem daunting. It can feel like madness - doing something over & over again for months, years. This is where focusing on the process & breaking down your end-goal into routine behaviours becomes so important.
If, in the case of growing my business, I had been excessively oriented on outcomes - getting clients, building my social media presence - at the expense of the actual behaviours needed to achieve those outcomes, there’s no doubt that I’d struggle to find motivation & wouldn’t be successful.
The process of working towards a goal is always hugely challenging at first. You likely won’t see the progress you’re after straight away. But, if you weather the storm, stick to the process, you'll get better at whatever it is you're doing. You become more competent at performing those behaviours, and begin to see greater reward. Once you start to see the rewards of your hard work coming to fruition, you experience greater motivation to keep it going. It's a positive feedback loop.
The first few steps are always the most difficult, but they're fundamental if you ever want to get to the good part.
LONG TERM REWARD > INSTANT GRATIFICATION
Ultimately, everything comes down to having the ability to recognise that long term reward will always overrule instant gratification.
Nobody who’s achieved any success, regardless of the size of that success, achieved it overnight; it’s always the product of consistent & patient application. Why should your success be any different?
Forget the bigger picture for just a second. Take a minute to outline the necessary behaviours for you to achieve what you're after. Work on ingraining them; repeat them, day-in day-out, even when you don’t feel like doing so.
Do that and I assure you progress will come. You've just got to be willing to consistently put in the work.
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.