Let's get real for a minute. We all have aspirations for ourselves—whether it's to win a million dollars, lose 100 pounds by our birthdays, run a marathon, win the Nobel Prize for something really cool, or be debt free by the time we're barely out of trainers.
We all have great aspirations, but there's just one problem with them.
When people utter statements like the ones above, it's usually with an "I want to…" kind of speech. However, the follow up to these grandiose ideas can be a little lacking. Why is that so?
Well, to put it simply, it’s because these aspirations are HUGE! Now, I'll be the first to utter the montage, "Go big or go home,” but you also have to be realistic about your goals, or you're never going to get there.
Or, worse yet, you'll start on the path to this goal but get so defeated by the "lack of results" that you'll give up halfway through; and this is worse because you give up when you don't realise that you have already made SO MUCH PROGRESS.
So, how do we achieve those BIG goals and NOT give up?
We learn to think smaller. ABBA may say that you can dance before you walk, but in the real world, we know we have to start with just getting out of bed and putting on our workout gear before we can even think of walking, let alone running.
So, if you want to run a marathon, how are you going to do it? Hit the pavement everyday, and then eventually be fit enough to run those kilometres (or miles—cheers, American friends!)? Well, sure…But that's a good way to hit that "give up halfway" snag.
Instead, know in the back of your mind that you DO want to run a marathon, and then SET SMALLER GOALS.
Before you run the marathon, set the 5 km run goal. Before you run the 5 km, set the “five times around a track” goal. Before you run the track, set the “walk around the track” goal.
Start with baby step goals.
When you set small, doable goals, your BIG dream will be far more manageable because you're attacking it in a healthy, one-day-at-a-time manner. Crossing off and achieving each of your smaller goals will motivate you, reinforce your drive, and keep you on the right track to realising the big picture.
The only reason people call big dreams "pipe dreams" is because they don't set the smaller ones needed to get there. Once you do, you'll be working with more manageable and realistic aspirations that will fit you, your body type, your fitness level, and your mental readiness AT THE TIME.
And here's the great thing about meeting and surpassing those smaller goals: it makes your fitness level higher and makes your physical, mental, and emotional ability to set and meet new challenges better.
A big win is made up of small victories.
The more small things you accomplish, the greater you will grow, until, eventually, you can run that marathon. And when you do reach that point, you can feel proud of not just that huge accomplishment, but also of all the smaller feats that have led you to that moment.
Just remember to have patience, and above all, remember to be good to yourself so that your body can, in turn, be good to you.
by Kat Clark – Born in Canada, Kat began her healthy living journey six years ago and enjoys finding new ways to stay motivated and active, her newest passion being yoga. Currently, Kat lives and works in South Korea as an English teacher and children's Autism centre volunteer coordinator. Check out her website and Instagram.
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