Question: What’s something you know now, that you wish you knew in your 20's?
Answer: I'm not a huge fan of looking back and wishing; you end up living with regret or guilt and both of those things are huge time wasters. I call them the "Two G's", despite only one of them beginning with the letter G (I'm referring to the words "regret" and "guilt".) However I will answer this question as I was asked something similar recently by another coach. And to specify, this wasn't something I didn't know or didn't do; but I think that if I would have really internalized this idea things would have been a bit easier/smoother.
Goals are great; however the ACTION PLAN to reach said goals is the most important part of kicking ass.
Goal setting is something my father taught to me at an early age. My dad always made sure I had something to reach towards. And of course we are taught to "reach for the stars" and other feel-good sayings posted on social media that are supposed to turn us into entrepreneurs. But you need a specific action plan to reach those goals. So each and every action that you perform leads to your ultimate goal.
This plan has to be specific AND it must be done in daily and weekly segments. For example, let's say that your goal is to lose weight. Your action plan can't be "eat healthy and do some exercises." It should be:
1. Walk 5 miles with 45lbs weight vest 5 days/week.
2. Consume 4-5 meals/day consisting of a protein source, a fruit/vegetable and some kind of fat.
3. Strength train 3 days/week.
4. Sleep 8 hours/night.
5. Stretching and/or mobility work before every walking/lifting session.
From here, each day would be detailed with an action plan; each day should be planned out so that there is no question about what to do. Once you get a plan in place, you should "table" your goal and not worry about it. Focus ONLY on the actions that will lead you there. I have said many times that a man of action keeps his head down and focuses only on the next step/task at hand. Do NOT look up and try to look beyond the horizon. This is when you stumble and lose sight of what needs to be done today.
Remember that prior to setting your goal and your action plan you need to take an honest look at yourself, who you really are and what you are capable of AND what you are willing to do. And you need to be honest with who you are today; not a couple of years ago. Often we are stronger and need to push ourselves harder; other times our situations have changed and you need to recognize this.
Being honest with yourself is a humbling thing and very difficult to do. I think people lie to themselves way too much about who they are. Part of me understands this; it's hard to confront yourself. It can be painful and embarrassing. People overestimate their goals and their ability to commit to a plan. It's better to know yourself and train 2 times/week, knowing full well you can maintain this for at least 4 years then to be Johnny Volume and train everyday for 3 days and then quit. Start with a plan that you know you can handle and that still challenges you. You can always make adjustments to your plan as the time goes by.
Also, please stop thinking that everything is short term, especially in terms of training. Think in terms of years, not weeks. Every single lifter that has made a mark or achieved their version of success has one thing in common; consistent perseverance.
(Picture is Robbie Maddison jumping his motorcycle on AND off a Las Vegas Casino (Arc de Triomphe) in 2008. His jump on top of the casino was crazy; but him dropping off the casino onto a ramp was totally insane.)