Let’s talk about prison escapes. Here’s a classic: Andy Dufrense in the The Shawshank Redemption. In that story, Dufrense uses a small rock hammer daily for nearly 17 years to tunnel a path out of his cell and get outside the prison walls.
To make that happen he developed a process:
What would someone else think if they were told up front that it would take that many days?
It might be too overwhelming for them and they give up before they even get started. But Dufresne knew that his desired outcome was there: freedom.
The only path to freedom was to dig that tunnel (despite how long it would take).
The only way for the tunnel to be completed was by removing a little bit at a time.
A crucial thing to focus on is that he extracted only a little bit at a time because that’s what was sustainable for that environment. If he made it too obvious, like trying to dump out a bucket of dirt at a time, he was more likely to get caught and that would end his dreams of freedom.
I’m sharing this thought process with you because Dufresne’s approach can work for your own health & fitness goals.
The bigger the changes you want for your body and health, the more effort will have to go into it. Think of it as the tunnel needed is that much longer.
So, your ideal body = Dufresne’s tunnel to freedom.
You need to create a process for yourself that’s sustainable long-term - just like he did.
When you adopt crash diets, overdoing it at the gym, cutting short on sleep to work out more, pills or crazy supplements, etc. it’s the equivalent of Dufresne trying to extract a bucket of dirt every day instead of that handful at a time. A more extreme example is if he used a stick of dynamite. He would get caught, hurt, or worse.
The result either way is no freedom.
Don’t worry too much on how many hours or days it's going to take, just know that the outcome is there if you really want it to be.
Focus on finding a sustainable process that's going to push you toward your goal a little bit more each day. Get started, test out a variety of methods, and repeat what works.
At first progress will be slow. It probably took Dufresne a year to just make what seemed like a small dent in that tunnel.
But after three, then five, then 10 years the tunnel was much farther along and the progress was obvious. He eventually got to a point where there was no turning back. Freedom was inevitable, he just had to trust the process and keep going.
Thats what will happen to you when you get started on your own freedom journey. The first few months it might not feel like much is happening or the visible progress will not match your expectations.
But after just six months, then 12, and then many years down the line you will look back and clearly see all the progress you’ve made. That early stage when you swore that nothing seemed to work becomes a laughable afterthought.
One last key point is that Dufrense only had to dig his way out of prison once.
Use this same attitude for your health and your body. You just have to get to a sustainable process once and the results will keep on coming. No matter how long of a “tunnel” you need.
As you change your goals you just tweak various parts of the process. It becomes more trivial to figure out what you need to do because you are a professional tunnel-digger!
Some practical tips, or “handfuls,” to get going - pick one to build up a habit before taking on another: