Is The Tortoise Or The Hare Lifestyle Changing Approach Right For You?

When you’re faced with a major lifestyle change like switching up an entire diet, getting serious with a fitness routine, or stopping a bad habit, you tend to deal with it a certain way. In my opinion there’s two main ways to approach change. I wrote this article to trigger you to ask yourself this question: Is the tortoise or the hare lifestyle changing approach right for you?

The Tortoise VS The Hare

I think most of us can say that when we were little we heard the fable from Aesop about the tortoise and the hare.

If you didn’t I’ll quickly give you the jist of it……so basically a tortoise and a hare decided to race. The hare was so confident in himself that he immediately sprinted out of site.

Along the way he took a nap just because he was so confident in himself. But by the time he woke up the tortoise had made it so close to the finish line that the hare couldn’t even use his speed to catch up.

Tortoise VS Hare

The story is meant to teach a lesson on humility. But let’s look at the story from a health and fitness standpoint.

Imagine that the two personalities represent different individuals. Which personality is better to have when you’re trying to make progress in a fitness program, quitting smoking, or eating healthier?

It suggests that slow progress is more successful and practical than a reckless full steam ahead approach. There isn’t too many studies on this subject, but there is a lot of expert opinion. Let’s take a look at each mentality.

Case For The Tortoise

Most people naturally want to take the path of least resistance. This is the baby step approach. It’s like gradually lowering yourself into cold water and slowly adjusting as you go.

If you’re not the adventurous type, this might be just right for you. It allows you to pace yourself and always have that security of always being in control.

You have to realize that with little risk also comes little reward. If you go at a slow pace you also won’t see results as quickly. That might take a toll on your motivation.

Case For The Tortoise

Case For The Hare

This mentality is no holds barred. When you make a decision to change something, you do it cold turkey. It’s like ripping a bandaid off your skin just to get it over with and move on to the next thing.

If you have a warrior mentality then this one is probably the approach that you’ll pick. The momentum from bursting forward into your diet or workout plan can carry you through. Unlike the tortoise approach, you’ll see results much quicker and that can motivate you even more.

I have to caution you, that this route is a gamble. It’s high reward, but it’s also high risk. You have less control, so if you don’t stick with it you’ll find yourself in a relapse asking, “what the heck just happened?”

Case For The Hare

Now, if you want to know my opinion, I think there’s a time and place for both approaches. For example, in most cases the tortoise approach is probably your best bet when it comes to a workout program. The number one goal of any workout program is to keep your body healthy, so progression is necessary.

It will obviously be different from person to person, but I think the hare is the best mentality to have when it comes to diet. If you’re going to eat healthy you just need to do it. Throw away all your processed junk and bring on the new era of veggies and lean protein. In those cases there’s a certain exhilaration you get out of just bursting forth into your new lifestyle.

No matter if you take the tortoise or the hare lifestyle changing approach, stay committed and work your butt off. That’s the only way it will work. Please take a second to share this article on facebook. You’ll probably also like How To Keep Your Mind On Track While You’re At Work Or School.

Adam Pegg About Adam Pegg

Adam is an athlete with a serious passion for fitness and health. He played basketball at University of Delaware and Stetson. His degree is in health science and he's a certified personal trainer who loves helping people reach their goals.