Exploring the idea of micro goals
Question: “How do you eat an elephant?”
Everyone has at some point struggled with some task or goal that seems just about undoable. Think about yours for a second, something that you’re facing now or have faced before; some kind of large intimidating task or goal….
What is it?
Need to lose a lot of weight? Take on a marathon? Climb the daunting promotional corporate ladder? Raise children? Fight disease? Recover from injury?
Whatever your personal goals or challenges are, they all have at least one thing in common. They can all be broken down into smaller more manageable goals.
Let me give you an example of how this can be applied to something as simple as a whole bunch of teenagers running a track workout.
So picture this: it’s the middle of track season, which in Florida means it’s pretty much summer, and it’s blazing hot on the track. You and all your training partners gather up around the coach and he says, “Alright guys today we’ve got 15×400 meter.”
Each interval is supposed to be fast and consists of some small amount of rest afterward. For those of you unfamiliar with track, just re-write those words as “Alright guys, you are going to do one of the hardest workouts you will ever do”.
This was my first experience with what I now hear so elegantly described as micro-goaling. After we’d only done around 3 out of 15 intervals, I heard one of the guys say, “It’s all good guys, we only have one more before the last one after we do two more sets of five.” Now I know that sentence is ridiculous and silly, but take a second look at what my training partner did in that sarcastic instance. He took the 12 grueling intervals we had left and broke it down into, “It’s all good, just one more”.
Now, my friend’s comment did not change the reality that we had to make that 400-meter trip 12 more times before the workout was over. What it did change, however, was our perspective. And if you can change your perspective you can, in fact, change your reality.
One of my favorite things about Crossfit and challenging ourselves in the gym is that it gives us the opportunity to test and refine skills that are valuable in all aspects of our lives. In a sense, the hour a day workout you put in can be a microcosm of the rest of your life.
If we can learn to take on grueling, long, and uncomfortable workouts by breaking them into small achievable tasks, then when life happens, and it will, we can, in turn, do the same thing. We are trained to face tough situations by taking them on one step at a time.
When faced with an obstacle, don’t see it as a gigantic challenge, see it as the sum of little efforts that will eventually add up to you conquering your goal.
So, “How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time…”
Now, next time you face a tough workout, challenge in life, or you just feel like giving up, ask yourself: “What is the smallest next step I can achieve?” Take a deep breath and get to work.