Interesting title, huh?  I used it to illustrate the paradox that achieving health, fitness, and wellness has become. 

The irony is that your future in fitness lies in a seemingly ancient concept: patience. 

Dave Ramsey once quoted his preacher as saying, “Living right is not complicated. It may be difficult, but it is not complicated." The same is true of health/fitness/wellness.  The formula is simple:

Hard work Consistency Self Discipline X Multiple Months = Results

It really isn't difficult.  There's no magic in it, but people want to search for complexity.  People want a special formula or some hidden loophole, when the answer lies in such an antiquated notion ... it's so simple that it is often times overlooked.  

Deep down, we know that this approach is right, but we've had it drilled into our subconsciousness so often and so deeply that it somehow shouldn't be hard.  All of these marketers put the thought into our heads that hard work isn't a good thing.  We've heard that disciplined eating is somehow wrong. We're told that we're apparently above all that.  And when their "secret sauce", whatever it may be, fails us, we're left with the idea that their method/device didn't work, but there has to be SOMETHING out there that can circumvent hard work, self discipline, and patience.

Now, before you start burning me in effigy, let me clear the air and say that I'm NOT calling you lazy ... or undisciplined.  I am, however, calling you impatient!

Let me back up for just a second and explain the "flywheel concept" described by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great:

Picture a huge and heavy flywheel – a massive disk mounted horizontally on an axle … Imagine that your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and long as possible. Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first. You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete on entire turn. You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster … a second rotation … Keep pushing in a consistent direction … three turns … four … it builds momentum … eleven … twelve … moving faster with each turn … twenty … fifty … a hundred.

Then, at some point – breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in … hurling the flywheel forward … its own weight working for you. You’re pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster … each turn of the flywheel builds upon the work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort … the huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum. … What was the one big push that caused this thing to go so fast? … was it the first push, the second, the hundredth? No! It was all of them added together in an overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction.

75% Failure Rate

The next thing I should explain is that a study done by the International Health and Racquet Sport Association (IHRSA for short) showed that 75% of people who seek weight loss, health, or fitness fail to achieve their desired result.  The kicker is that the successful 25% have nothing special about them.  They represent a cross-section of the population.  Socioeconomic status doesn't seem to be the determining factor ... nor does age (remember we're talking about achieving a result, not already having it), gender, intelligence, marital status, or geographic location ...

So what divides the 25% from the 75%?  Patience. 

They are willing to trust the process.  It isn't some amazing program ... or some hidden loop hole ... or some convoluted process.  It's hard work, discipline, and patience.

The problem is the virtual leap frog game we tend to play.  We get the flywheel moving in one direction, then we see something that appears to work faster or better. After seeing this and thinking about how hard we're working for such lackadaisical results, we decide to jump ship.  Now the flywheel has to grind to a stop and start moving in a new direction.  We become disenfranchised because the results we get from the new program are just as slow and seem just as unequal to the effort.  Then we read an article about some new dietary research finding, so we give that a try.  Another ship is jumped and the flywheel, once again, must grind to a stop and turned in a new direction.  Now we talk to our friend who started on one of our programs with us a couple of years ago, except they didn't jump ship.  They are still on that program.  They've gotten some pretty good results from it, so now we blame our metabolism and genetics, or our lack of willpower, or the fact that we have kids.  There has to be some reason why the program is working for them but not for us ... and there is!  They stuck with it! 

The biggest "secret" to getting the results that always seem to elude us is consistency. 

Rather than making continual lateral moves, keep moving forward, slowly and steadily, toward your goal!  If all of your attention and energy is pulling in the same direction, you'll get further than if you're continually changing directions.  That's why cats don't pull sleds!