Begin with the end in mind. Habit 2 from Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." As it states, you want to start by knowing your end goal. In a YOLO society, many have started looking at what is in front of them and not what they ultimately want to achieve. Not knowing their ultimate goal means they have no idea what direction they'll want to take. Do this now because it pleases me. Do this now because it satisfies me. Do this now because it works for me right now.
But what is the long term plan? What is the end goal? Will what you do right now help you achieve what you want say 10 years or 20 years down the road?
I was asking someone the other day, what's your fitness end goal? How do you see yourself in 20 years when you're 60? He said he doesn't know. He's never thought about it nor planned that far. He always thought fitness was in the now. He isn't the only one. Majority of people go into fitness without a plan. People enter into fitness thinking if I do this I will end up with that. And more than half of them give up a quarter of the way because they don't see results, find it too difficult to follow this routine, or feel less motivated to do so. With no purpose in sight, it's like you placing your salary into your bank account with that 0.05% interest per annum.
As the financial gurus will tell you: you want to grow your money, you need to invest in the right places. Mutual funds, REITs, etc. You don't let your money stay in your bank as the interest rate will not be able to beat the average core inflation of 1.64% for Singapore. So you have an end goal in mind. You work backwards. How much will you need per month in your retirement years which happens in 30 years. If you'd like to get $3,000 per month, you'll need to save this much and invest this much. You'll need to change your spending, saving and investing behaviours in order to accumulate the appropriate amounts. You learn to adjust your behaviours and shift your mindset along the way.
And that's the same thing for fitness. You have a goal in mind and work backwards from there. I want to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle in 10 year's time. I want to be able to play tennis when I'm 50. I want to be able to walk with my partner along the river when I'm 75 without the use of any walking aid. If this is what I want to do in 10 years, what kind of exercises do I need to be doing now, and what kinds of food should I be eating? What behaviours do I need to change? What can be adjusted along the way?
These are the questions you need to set for yourself as you begin to set your long term goals. Begin with the end in mind. Work backwards. Set up a plan. Invest in your fitness wisely and you'll reap the benefits in the long term.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."