Set Small Goals to Accomplish Big Things

Better to shoot at a close target and hit it, than agonize over a far one and never get started.

(Source: Bev Childress)

(Source: Bev Childress)

Whether you’re new to training or have been battling away for decades, there comes a time when you need a new target or a goal to give you a fresh sense of purpose. Going through the motions and monotony can produce sub-par workouts and results.

The very premise of training is to create enough stress on the body for it to be able to adapt and improve. Doing the same workout for an extended period of time, you can only expect to stay the same, or even regress with age.

If you’re the sort of person who can stick to a healthy habit that involves the same workouts for months and years on end, I commend you! It’s certainly better than adapting to your couch and being a reality TV expert.

For the rest of us, having something new to look forward to is what keeps us coming back. Despite that, a lot of people get stuck doing the same workouts or plans for a few understandable reasons:

  • They enjoy the routine.
  • It’s worked for them in the past.
  • They are comfortable.
  • They don’t know what else to do.
  • They lack inspiration for new training goals or target.

Unearth Your Own Goals

The last point I mentioned above is the key ingredient for getting yourself unstuck and inspired to move in the direction of improvement, rather than spinning your wheels.

It’s extremely common for new athletes to lack a clearly defined target or goal. Sometimes it can be a lack of confidence in what they believe is possible, or simply not being able to put a finger on what it is they want. Either way, if they don’t find a way to uncover a meaningful goal, chances are they won’t stick with their training for very long.

In this scenario, I recommend going small and short with the target. This makes it easy to start building confidence and momentum. Don’t overthink selection of the goal itself. I have never met or worked with anyone that didn’t have a weakness or need to improve in a certain area. Pick one of them, and a goal is born.

Ticking off that first goal or overcoming an obstacle will do wonders for confidence, and will create “buy-in” for the next step. People have a natural tendency to want to finish or complete what they began. Making this initial target within arm’s reach helps shift the mind into growth mentality.

(Source: Bev Childress)

Motivation Momentum

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”

– John Dewey

It’s almost impossible to predict where overcoming a challenge will take an individual in both physical and mental aspects. We often refer to how training makes us physically better, but skip over the psychological benefits that come from improvement and confidence. Confidence comes from experience, and the momentum really builds fast, after you’ve started.

Also, being exposed to a training environment with others operating at a higher level will help cultivate ideas and aspirations for you to want to improve. Modelling those that have done something that you aspire to achieve is a shortcut to success. Why take the long road, when you can learn from others’ mistakes and triumphs?

If you’re getting lost on what your next fitness or health goal is going to be, here are a few simple tips that can get your momentum going in the right direction:

  • Start with something bite-sized. Inspiration will come from action, not being stagnant.
  • Make a timeline of the first goal, short and attainable. Having an early win will help build confidence, get the creative juices flowing, and build momentum for setting a larger, harder goal in the future.
  • Find and immerse yourself in an environment where people are performing at a higher level. You won’t learn anything if you’re always the smartest or fittest person in the room.
  • Model people that have the results that you are pursuing. This shortcuts mistakes and pushes you in the right direction.

Remember, you don’t need to see the whole plan when starting, just focus on taking that very important first step, and the rest will take care of itself.

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