When I was a student in Eindhoven in 1985 - at 22 years old - I had one of my fellow students (Jacky) ask me why on earth I was doing all these efforts to train for bodybuilding like a madman.
He told me that in his eyes all my fanatism and dedication was futile - because by the time I would have turned 30 years old I will have stopped anyway and all my strength would be gone and my muscles turned to flab.
The response I gave him at the time was the following : “I trained yesterday and really liked it, I trained today and I loved it - and the odds are that I will train again tomorrow and will again still enjoy it thoroughly - after that I will just see how things go.
I have now been approaching my sports career like that since 1981 - for nearly 40 years. And at 56 years old still enjoy working out and sports in general. Mind you - practicing this approach in sports had a severe impact on how I approach other aspects of my life — work, projects, marriage, raising kids. Preserve long term motivation by focus on today !
What is the underlying message here ?
I have learned that (of course) one needs a mid term and long term plan and (clear) outline of where you want to head (“if you don’t know here you are going - you will end up exactly there” — old Chinese proverb) and those objectives can and will certainly change overtime (hopefully not every 6 weeks though.... which is sort of dream-hopping and never reaching anything in my eyes leads to very unsettled mental states.) — but the smallest building block of everything is just “today”. You only live now and today - in the moment. If you don’t enjoy that moment and “act now” - none of your goals will materialize.
Also you can get complete paralyzed if you think to far ahead and talk yourself into thinking that all you do today is fruitless because there are so many unknowns unknowns along the way in the future that might come up - which will hinder your effort and you will not know how to deal with them...Mark Twain said : “My life has been full of disasters - of which most never happened”
In my 4 decades of training I for sure had non-ideal periods for training:
Being a student with a lot of time but no money
Being in the army with no sleep and bad food
Raising a family of three kids and be very busy with juggling tasks
Moving countries and getting very bus jobs in a country where I knew nobody
Starting 2 companies and having to invest a lot of time in that
Doing projects in the middle of nowhere for years with no gym available
Running an gym and spending time coaching people - and still Get time in for my own workouts.
I for sure lived and live according the motto “when the optimal is not ideal - the ideal Must be the optimum (get your brain about that one ironheads ) It just means that if life throws you a curveball - you don’t throw in the towel - but just figure out what the optimal thing is you can still do considering circumstances. That current determined optimal is then your current, temporary ideal.
I had a period of a 2,5 years where during the week I had no gym available — so I worked out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday - and did some running a freeletics in a nearby forest.
I had a period some 12 years ago where my right shoulder bothered me and I thought my heavy lifting days were over. I switched to running full 42 k marathons - kept working on recovery for my shoulder and at the same time did a lot of self exploration about why I developed this problem anyway. I eliminated things like upright rows, press behind the neck from my programming - learned a lot about rotary cuff maintenance - and a few years later started to hit all time maxes on all my lifts - pain free.
When we raised 3 kids in a new country - I worked out in my rudimentary basement gym - after the kids were in bed - to not spend family time away in a gym.
What are my main takeaways :
Everyday you wake up will again just be again a “today” - there is no such thing as “tomorrow” ... pretty daunting to Embrace this simple concept ;-)
You need to have uncompromised ambitions and dreams at any age - and follow through on them (if you have no more of these you are sort of near-dead before you are actually deceased) but you need to realize that you have a lot of time to realize them (learn to be patient , just live the moment — but thick skulled !)
Never Ever Ever give up.
Create your own weather - let nobody talk you into thinking what you do is senseless. Sir Hilary states that he was climbing 8000m mountains - “because they exist”.
Enjoy what you do. Enjoy your current optimal situation - as if it is your ideal situation.