It’s a marathon. Not a sprint.

Far too often we act and think like our life is going to end next week, next month, or next year — focused way too much on the short term and being frustrated with why we aren’t where we want to be.

Believe me, I know.

“I’ve been at this job for four months, how have I not got promoted yet?”

“I started my business nine months ago… how come I’m not making hundreds of thousands of dollars?”

I find myself thinking about the short term too much — frustrated with why I’m not where I want to be.

It’s good to have goals and to push yourself to achieve things in life, business, relationships, or anything else for that matter — but it doesn’t all happen overnight.

Or even over a few hundred (or thousand!) nights.

I’ve found myself that if I focus on the long term, the short term seems to work itself out.

Think actually running a marathon versus a sprint.

If a sprinter were to try to sprint a marathon, they wouldn’t last. They’d get burnt out and exhausted. Our bodies just aren’t capable of putting out that kind of energy for that amount of time.

They would lose to the marathon runner.

The marathon runner who approaches the race with a long term goal of being ahead at the end 26.2 miles, instead of being ahead after the first two like the sprinter.

There’s a reason that “slow and steady wins the race” is cliche: it’s true.

And the sooner we can comprehend, accept, and implement this in our lives, the better off we’ll be.

But don’t get me wrong..

Running a marathon at steady pace of 9:00 per mile is better than 10:00 per mile.

But the key is sustainability.

If 10:00 per mile is sustainable for you, that’s better than burning out trying to keep up with a 9:00 pace.

You’re just not going to get there quite as fast — and that’s okay!

You’re still going to get there!

Whereas if you try to keep that 9:00 pace and aren’t able to do so, you might burn out and quit.

Then you won’t reach the finish line at all.

The same goes for working out:

You’ll be much better off working out for 11 hours spread over the course of a few weeks than if you were to work out for 11 hours all at once.

When we try to take these shortcuts in life, like trying to sprint through a marathon or workout for 11 hours at once, we end up not reaching our goals.

In the wise words of Aristotle…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

We are a product of our habits, not our singular efforts.

So what do you want to achieve? What are your goals?

Just like a GPS, you need to know where you are and where you want to go in order to figure out how to get there.

So once you figure out what you want to achieve, and you understand where you are presently, you can start to map out how to get there.

And always be mindful of progress you’re making — or not making.

Regularly ask yourself this:

Is what you’re doing getting you to where you want to go?

Yes?

Good. Keep doing it! You’re on the right path!

No?

That’s okay. Take a step back to evaluate what you’re currently doing and figure out what you need to be doing instead.

Then go do that.

The key is always to do.

If you don’t do anything, you won’t make progress.

Action is the key to progress.

And long term persistence is the key to success.

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