Short Term vs Long Term & Resisting the Marshmallow

Attitude is everything, it separates those that achieve from those that just don’t. Everything is moving at an ever increasing rate and instant gratification is generally expected. But some things can’t be rushed. Physiology is one of those things. It’s nature, and you can’t rush nature without some sort of trade-off, some sort of balancing of the equation.

Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face?

It’s important you understand which qualities you’re attempting to develop, and which qualities will suffer in the balance, both in the short-term and the long-term. Sometimes we can justify a short-term approach to optimise for an imminent important date, but you must understand what you may be giving up in the process.

It reminds me of Walter Mischel’s the famous childhood temptation test in the 1960’s, in which a group of four-year-olds were given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20-minutes before eating the first one. As you’d expect, some of the kids could wait and others couldn’t!

All too often we get wrapped up in the fastest method to boost strength/power/conditioning/body composition (delete as appropriate), basing our decisions on a short-term study with no regards for what lies beyond the next 4 to 6 weeks.

But It’s So Shiny…

Time and time again, research results are presented out of context and another training fad is born. Whether it’s high intensity Tabata intervals replacing all steady state aerobic work, or nutritional timing of protein intake, we jump to conclusions, and this probably won’t ever change.

There are always those that are mesmerised by the next glittery, shiny thing and will eagerly jump on the bandwagon. But I’ve got a suggestion for you for the next year, think longer term. Aim to improve all important qualities by the end of next year, so you’re getting better year on year out, rather than just for the next month or two and then reverting backwards again.

Make it your mission to learn how to do it all properly, and apply it. Stop spinning your wheels, applying your energy indiscriminately and focus your efforts on really moving forwards. If you only ever think of the next fight, you’ll not make the same progress as the fighter who plans for the longer term and is really kicking it in a year or two.

Using another of my racing car analogies, there’s no point refusing to make a refuelling pit-stop just because you’ll temporarily lose racing position, only to not finish the race at all because your tank run dry. Think further than the short-term or others will leave you behind in the long run.

Start the next year with a long-term mindset, but with intermediate shorter term goals along the way, and you’ll leave all those attention deficit, glitter chasing, marshmallow munchers in your wake by the end of the year. And you’ll be even further ahead the year after that, and so on. Resist the fads and benefit from real substance. Here’s to the best 12-months of training you’ve ever put together!


  1. […] in 3-months rather than going around in circles athletically. Try not to think so much of being perfect for your very next fight, but instead being truly awesome in 3-fights […]

  2. […] of the training areas highlighted from these questions can be addressed very quickly in the short-term. Others will need a longer-term, more planned […]

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