It Takes as Long as it Takes

During our first conversation we talked about taking a road trip. The path to wellness is like any other journey you take. Be it by airplane or a road trip with your family, careful planning is the key to a successful journey.

Imagine you’re taking a trip to sunny California. You’ve decided to go from Fort Worth to San Diego. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let’s look at all of the questions you’ll need to answer before you leave your front door.

• How are you getting there?
• How long will you be gone?
• Are you driving or flying?
• How will you pack?
o What’s the weather forecast?
o Are you going anywhere fancy?
• If you’re flying, how are you getting to the airport?
• Are you renting a car?
• How long will it take to get there?
• What’s your budget?

The list can become extensive the more you think about it. And that’s just for the elements you can anticipate. Consider all the points of unforeseen circumstances and the list grows again. What if your flight is delayed? What if the car breaks down? Did you buy enough gas to get through the desert?

It’s important to take stock of the parts of the trip that you cannot control. Primarily, time and distance. The distance to San Diego cannot be changed. The time it takes to get there is pretty much set in stone. It takes as long as it takes. Knowing time and distance are not parts of the trip you can impact, what can you do? You can control just about everything that goes on before you leave, en route, and once you arrive.

Whether you’re trying to lower your dress size, your cholesterol, finish a marathon, or just lose weight, the distance between where you are and your goal cannot be changed. The time it takes to accomplish your goal is the time it takes to accomplish your goal. Knowing that you can’t cram a six-month commitment into six weeks of work, planning is a must. What can be accomplished in six months cannot be accomplished in six weeks. Furthermore, any attempt to shortcut the process is likely to end in disaster. The 1,300 miles to San Diego can be covered by car in about 18 hours, with safe driving in a reasonable car. You can try to lower that time by speeding and skipping breaks. However, making those decisions will likely damage the car and put you at risk. Similarly, taking shortcuts in your wellness journey can result in injury, exhaustion, frustration, and ironically, more weight gain.

Preparing for the journey is the best way to ensure safe arrival. Moving at the appropriate pace, with proper planning is the path to a sustainable lifestyle. The benefits of accepting that the time and distance are not something you can change are more valuable than whatever benefits might have been observed by attempting to take shortcuts.

Have you ever arrived at your destination and realized you’d forgotten something? Beach vacations without your swimsuit, overnight stays in a hotel without your toothbrush, or anywhere without a phone charger can make your time away less fun. Mapping your time at the gym and your nutrition are no different. There’s a difference between using a calendar and using a planner. The calendar doesn’t really tell the story of what lies ahead. Your planner will remind you that you’ve got a working lunch coming up, or an after work happy hour. How will you change your plans? Will your meal prep include something that needs to be heated up or you will pack something ready to eat? Is your gym bag packed and ready to go? Will you work out in the morning instead of the evening? Not preparing means you’re caught off guard, which means you may not hit that goal. Don’t just plan for the number of days; plan for the types of days.

There are no spontaneous trips to wellness. It takes a lot of resources to make a journey happen. You can throw as many resources into the solution as you want, but you still have to make the journey. It would be nice to be able to suddenly arrive at your goals, but a realistic investment of time, planning, and patience is required to make your journey successful.

There will always be surprises on the road to wellness. You can increase your ability to pivot by anticipating something standing in your way, even if you don’t know what that something will be. We’ve talked about the challenges associated with losing your Focus. Conversely, let’s keep our eyes on what happens when we remain agile enough to rely on Plan B, or Plans C, D, E, and F.

So, let’s go to the coast. Pack your bags. Grab your charger, sunscreen, flip flops, book, earphones, cash, keys, wallet, and whatever else you need to make the most of your time away. Let’s make the best of our journey by giving our all to preparing. Let’s solve arrival problems with departure solutions. Let’s get going and let’s get there together.