If you haven’t given up on 2021 entirely yet (no one would blame you if you have), you’ve probably made resolutions about self-care.
A friend just told me that he is wants to pursue athletics on the highest level that he can. He wants to make every decision in his life based on how it will help him be a better athlete: the meals, the sleep, the exercise, the short and long-term programming, etc.
I said to him, “What’s the end goal? Do you want to see how good you can be? Or is there a specific goal?”
He said the former, and that he would give it a few months to see how it pans out.
I raised an eyebrow.
“A few months?”
He said, “Well…maybe a year or two.”
That’s closer. I would expect someone who is making every decision in favor of their athletics to notice huge improvement within a year. But a peak improvement? Could be five, seven years.
So where do the rest of us fall when we are making good body decisions, but not making EVERY decision in favor of our best health? In between eating one salad and training for the Olympics, how long does it take to see meaningful changes?
I tell new clients that my baseline for change is two years. They’ll notice some things much sooner, even after just one workout. But to exist where they can easily contrast with how they used to look/feel, where they notice positive differences regularly, my baseline is two years.
It’s one reason I hate when bullshit companies promote major changes in four to six weeks. How much pressure does that suddenly dump on you?
You have FOUR WEEKS.
BETTER GET GOING.
You slipped up this week? NOW YOU HAVE THREE WEEKS.
Ugh. No wonder people lose their minds and descend into self-loathing when these things don’t work. I need more than four weeks just to complete a load of laundry. (Could be a personal problem.)
Don’t be discouraged by the slow. Two years is better. With more time, you can have a week with just one workout. You can have ten weeks with one workout. Because you’ve got 104 weeks to allow for real-life interferences. If you crush 94 of those weeks? That’s beautiful. Give yourself a realistic shot at change.
You probably don’t want to wait two years to be stronger or faster. But body changes aren’t a switch to flip. They’re a non-linear Jackson-Pollock-y mess. Sure, you’ll get stronger and faster eventually. But you’ll also hit a whole bunch of paint lines you weren’t expecting on the way.
Neurological changes, mood changes, pain changes, sleep changes, getting out of a chair changes, walking your dog changes, climbing the steps at Sacre Coeur changes, empathy changes, self-control changes, confidence changes.
When do these changes happen? Part two is on the way to answer this question, but for now, remember this: Two years is gonna pass either way. So in January of 2023 you could either be in the exact same place you are right now, or you could be two years closer to your goals.