By: Jennifer Hefner
“Being specific about what you want and how you will achieve it helps you say no to things that derail progress, distract your attention, and pull you off course.”
~ James Clear~
Have you ever heard the question “Are you a long jumper or a step taker”? I heard this about a year ago and being a competitive athlete and self-proclaimed high achiever, my automatic response was “LONG JUMPER”! I want to go far as fast as I can! But, as you can imagine, my ego was knocked down immediately when I heard that I should strive to be a Step Taker instead of a Long Jumper, and how Step Takers are generally more successful than Long Jumpers. And honestly it makes complete sense.
A Step Taker builds the necessary skills to achieve, follow through with tasks, and meet goals. These small steps eventually become habits, something that becomes ingrained into our lives that we start doing automatically and will lead to success. Reminds me of the phrase I use frequently- “All or Nothing and No In-Betweens”. Long Jumpers are generally ALL or Nothings. So, as you can guess, last year I decided I no longer wanted to be a Long Jumper, and I started training myself to become a Step Taker.
Goal Setting is something we are all familiar with and certainly have done in our life. But think about how often you have reached a goal you have set with complete satisfaction. I can say that in the past I have failed at many goals I have set- because I was acting as a Long Jumper. We all set goals, which is great, but the problem lies with how we go about achieving these goals or maybe the goals just are not achievable at that moment.
I am a college volleyball coach, so each season we ask our team what their goal is. And of course, we get the usual “Win the Conference Title” which is great, but more goes into that goal than just “Winning the Conference Title”. So, we work with our team to focus on smaller, more achievable goals that eventually will add up to that BIG goal. We work on daily goals, weekly goals, non-conference goals, and conference goals. These goals are broken down even smaller to personal goals, speed/agility/strength goals, film study, mastering skills, mental training, etc. Then we work hard to meet these smaller goals with the hopes that we will achieve that BIG goal in the end.
As I used in my example, breaking down a Big Goal into smaller, more manageable tasks/goals helps us to see progress and not get discouraged. When we see progress, no matter how big or small, we become more motivated to keep working towards the bigger goal.
I will use another example- reading! Last year I took the 75 Hard Challenge created by Andy Frisella. Part of the challenge was to read 10 pages of a Nonfiction/Personal Development Book each day for 75 days. Well guess what? I like Fiction, Suspense/Mystery! I had not read a nonfiction book since I was in college and was told I had to. But, as Andy talks about breaking the task down to 10 pages daily, this was manageable for me. And amazingly, I found a love for personal development books and have not read a fiction book in over a year!
So, as we are setting goals and continue training our MIND, remember to be a STEP TAKER. As you set your goal, make yourself a chart that includes the small goals/tasks needed to achieve your BIG GOAL. BREAK THAT BIG GOAL DOWN INTO MORE MANAGEABLE GOALS. Training our mind to see the progress on a smaller scale, and how it is adding up to meet our larger goal will help with motivation as you are also building skills that will eventually become habits. You may start by adding/changing 1 task/goal in your daily or weekly schedule. After you incorporate that task, you can add in/change 1 or 2 more tasks/goals. Keeping your focus smaller will keep you interested, positive and working towards that big goal.