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Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees

Most everyone knows the expression “missing the forest for the trees”. It’s predominantly used to explain the difference between forests and trees. Ha. No, I kid. Kind of.

Really, it’s as simple as it sounds, and we as spectacular humans can get so focused on an individual idea that we end up missing the overarching broad picture. I see it all the time with my fitness clients, with the kids I’ve coached in golf, and people as a whole (myself included).

For instance, if I told you that I’ve got a (hypothetical) client that doesn’t sleep eight hours per night, doesn’t eat vegetables ever, gets most of his (or her) water from the ice cubes in a bubbly drink, likes to play Fortnight well into the night, and is on a mission to find the very best protein powder supplement in the world, the kind that doesn’t have too many metals, only has proteins from grass-fed cows, and etc…would you think this person is truly chasing health?

Of course not. Missing the forest for the trees in the case of supplementation. Is it wise to get healthy protein powder instead of tainted powder? Of course. Would I recommend the two buck stuff from behind the gas station counter? Not a chance.

But this sort of thing happens all the time, and before you cast that hypothetical stone at my hypothetical client let’s take a second.

What we know is consistency breeds results. Sometimes it pays to be specific down to the 12th degree, but overall, usually, just doing the basics yields the results we actually want.

For instance, in golf, I knew I needed to be a great putter. And I became one. Do you know how? It wasn’t by switching putters consistently, looking for the magic wand, it wasn’t by changing stance every day, or grip. It wasn’t by anything other than finding an ACCEPTABLE couple of drills and then doing them every day for 15 years. Yes, there may have been “better” drills or ways to practice, but I did what I thought was sufficient every day for forever.

In this case, a chalk line, a couple of tees indicating whether the golf ball started online or not, and a speed ladder, were all I needed to become superb on the greens. That’s a forest approach right there.

It works the same in fitness. Don’t worry whether or not reverse lunges, split squats, or goblets squats are what you need specifically today (I’ll be there to tell you anyways), just pick some and do them well (<—THIS IS KEY), for years on end, progressing as you go, and you’ll hit your goals.

Focusing on the tree instead of the forest, I’ve seen people start to talk about how they need to have the right pre-workout, the perfect nutrition plan, workout only between 6:30-7:30 in the morning, don’t do any power exercises unless they’ve had drop-dead sleep the night before, and are waiting for Frodo to finally throw the ring in the fire (news flash: all that stuff isn’t gonna happen regularly, if ever).

Therefore, Padawan (how many more sci-fi references do you think I can get in?), focus on the forest. Most importantly, do stuff, and do it well. Here’s a list of some of the forest stuff I have really liked and am currently trying to do indefinitely.


Cooler temps in the bedroom.

Dark Room.

Read before bed.

No phone while in bed.


More foods that were alive and now are dead. (Veggies, meats, fruits, etc.)

Three 32 oz water bottles a day.


Two good strength sessions, two good cardio sessions per week. (Obviously goal dependent)

Walk daily for 10-30 minutes.

Hit golf balls once a week-ish.

Spiritual health:

Read Bible almost every day.

Engage with people.

And there are my forest items at the moment. The goal is to have these things seem so simple, that it’s sort of a no brainer to be able to have them accomplished. And once they become a real habit, then I can add in other stuff.

And if we can do these kinds of things for the next 10 years, it’ll make a massive impact.

What are your forest items?


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