Expounding on my comments from last week, the reason slow and steady wins the race is because of steady not because of slow. The only reason that slow is of any value is because it makes steady easier.
For example, I did some math because I’ve started running again recently and have been tracking my workouts using a free app called Runkeeper. My average walking pace is about 3.5 mph while my running (jogging) speed was about 5.8 mph. That’s only about a 67% increase between walking and running (sue me, I’m out of shape).
But the difference is, that after jogging for 20 or 30 minutes I’m tired, sweaty and sore. But 20 or 30 minutes of walking is essentially effortless. I haven’t broken a sweat, I’m not tired and I don’t have to worry about being sore in the morning.
That extra 67% of speed uses up 800% more energy (at this point I’m no longer using data from the app, I’m just making up numbers).
That’s why I’m such a big advocate of small, daily changes.
And just like with walking, if you do it every day you would be amazed at how far you can go.
I wrote my first book in 15 minutes a day. I also gave myself the intentional limitation that I would not write for more than 15 minutes. So no one could accuse me of cheating.
When I wrote my second book, I finished a lot quicker because I didn’t handicap myself with a speed limit. Now that I’m on my third book, I realized that I’m way behind schedule. Because I allowed myself to become complacent, allowed myself to believe that I could make up skipped time by going fast. After all, missing four days of work at 15 minutes a day, you can make that up in one hour, right? Or if you fall behind two weeks, you can make that up on your next day off and just concentrate on writing for a full day of work, right?
All the chronic procrastinators know the answer to that…. NO.
We tend to over estimate what we can do quickly (my jogging pace is only 67% faster than my walking pace). We severely under estimate what we can accomplish slowly.
So yesterday, after not looking at my manuscript for a couple of weeks, I planned to use my my day off for a marathon writing session. It worked out about as well as running an actual marathon after a couple weeks of inactivity. I was sluggish, I was confused. I had a hard time making sense out of fragments of thoughts and sentences that I’m sure had a point when I started them a few weeks back.
The bottom line is, I need to once again practice what I teach. I need to get back to my 15 minute habit. Walk every day and run when I can. Stop allowing myself to get out of shape.
Slow, steady growth:
- Is easy to maintain on a daily basis
- Keeps your momentum going in the right direction
- Keeps you limber so you don’t pull a groin muscle
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. ~Chinese Proverb