When you pause and reflect on the past decade as you look ahead to a new one, it makes you appreciate how short life is, how valuable time is and how quickly the time can pass you by – with nothing to show for it, if you don't plan otherwise.
That's why the passing of another decade can feel like a wakeup call as much as a fresh start: Looking at the technological wonders that surround us in 2010, I can't help thinking it feels like science fiction.
I'm still in awe of the web. The satellite navigation system in my car amazes me every time I drive. I can store a library of books in a device that fits in my pocket. It blows my mind that we can speak to each other face to face through the internet live on video. That's straight from Star Trek! And those are just the everyday little things.
It's the greatest time to be alive in all of human history! Unfortunately, today's modern conveniences have brought a dark side upon us.
Rising obesity has paralleled the march of technology. The chair-bound, desk-job, computer, car, elevator, television based society of today is helping to make millions of people fat and lazy.
Our current way of life is less than a century old, yet our biology hasn't changed in tens of thousands of years. Our bodies were designed to move and work, not sit and click.
We've become spoiled. Complacent. Dependent. And we are paying a price for it. We are fatter than ever before in all of human history. More than two thirds of Americans are now overweight. One third are obese.
People are dying because they're too fat.
Ironically, none of our new technology can solve our body fat problems. There's no easy way. No pill. No machine. No drug. More knowledge isn't going to help. We already have most of the answers. We know more about the human body than ever before. But it's all academic.
The problem lies in the doing. You have to do the work – in the gym and in the kitchen. Hard work.
We are a quick fix society. It's partly human nature, but technology is making us more impatient. We can have products delivered to us with one click and even do it from our cell phones. We have instant downloads, movies on demand, and drive through coffee shops. We get our food made and delivered in just minutes while we are sitting in our cars, and it's still not quick enough. The internet is blazingly fast, but most people will abandon a web page in seconds if it hasn't loaded. It's no different with fat loss. We want six pack abs yesterday.
Simultaneously fighting the pull of human nature and the convenience of new technology is no easy task. But there is a solution: Future Orientation.
The most successful people in the world today are those who have a long term perspective. They plan 5-10 years in advance and beyond. They know how to enjoy and live in the present moment, but they take action and make decisions based on their future vision.
The passing of another decade makes you take stock of yourself and your achievements, or lack thereof. "What did I accomplish in the last 10 years? Am I a better person today than I was in 2000?"
If you don't like the answers, then it's time to finally get serious about your future because the next 10 years are going to fly by even faster than the last 10 as the pace of life and society gets even faster.
To succeed in the new decade, think beyond new year's resolutions. Think beyond the 12 week fitness goal. As you write your goals this year, don't stop with 3 month or even 1 year goals.
Project yourself into the future: 3, 5 and 10 years from now. For each point, dream, fantasize, visualize: if your body, your health your physical performance were perfect in every way, what would that look like? Describe it in vivid detail.
With our ingrained penchant for quick fixes, we often overestimate what we can achieve in the short term and set unrealistic deadlines on our short term goals. But the flipside is that we often underestimate what we can achieve in the long term, so we set our long term goals too low. Do you realize that people have gone from broke to billionaire in 10 years? In this internet age, some have done it even faster.
My challenge for you this year is to start thinking about your body and your life with the same type of creativity that has led to our greatest technological advances:
Not the same thoughts as yesterday. Not just positive thoughts. just bigger thoughts. NEW THOUGHTS! Creative thoughts! Inventive thoughts! From new thoughts will spring new goals, new actions and new achievements.
Fitness goals should not take over your life, they should enhance every other part of it. So take this opportunity to achieve balance by setting long term goals for every area of your life – health, fitness, finances, career, relationships, experiences, travel, possessions and spiritual growth.
Most people didn't set any goals 10 years ago. They're among the masses who are in the same place today as they were a decade ago.
Some people only set short term goals, so they accomplished a few little things, but then stopped, as if a goal were a final destination rather than a stepping stone along a path. Other people set goals but didn't follow through on them. They forgot that goal setting and goal achieving are two different things.
Don't fall into these traps.
If you need coaching in the goal setting process – from the daily and weekly baby steps to the long term goals and dreams that span a decade – read chapter one of Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle. If you already have it. Now is the time to revisit it.