When I was heavy into distance running, I found a trick that worked really well for keeping me moving. It worked especially well in the trail marathon. I’d set micro-goals.
Sometimes, when we’ve got a lot to do, it’s hard to plow through it. For instance, is there a garage that needs cleaning out, or a bunch of reports to sift through at work? Do you have some chores you’ve completely shoved to the side just because you can’t fathom really getting through it all? How about a novel you’ve been meaning to write?
Micro-Goals are the Secret
Don’t think about writing a novel. Think about writing a page a day. Say to yourself, “I’ll just write this page and then I’m through.” And then hit that target. Don’t say, “I’ve got 100 reports to go over.” Say, “I’ll do two reports and then I’ll go get a snack.”
The key is to set the goals JUST high enough that they’re not meaningless and trivial, but they’re not so big a bite that you’ve got a great excuse not to follow through.
When I was running, I’d set my sights on some distant point and say, “I’ll just run as far as that tree, and then I can walk a little ways.” Of course, when I got to the tree, I’d consider stretching that distance out, but hey, I sometimes would walk, too. (By the way, this is one of those things new runners understand insanely well- that fear that if you walk at any point during your run, you’re not really a runner).
Good Micro-Goals to set RIGHT NOW!
Here are just a few sample ideas for setting micro-goals versus big goals. In all cases, you can see how these will roll up into your bigger plans.
You meant to start getting in shape on Jan 1, right? How about setting this goal:
Review Your Results
The final trick is to see if these things moved the needle at all. No? Then you need to stretch just a little more. Yes? Cool! See what else you might be willing to add to the mix.
I think that setting micro-goals allows you to feel some confidence in trying out something new, but also the comfort of not having to endure sweeping changes. I encourage you to give it a try, and I’d love to know what you think.
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