I decided to go for a run this morning with a goal of four miles. I haven’t run four miles in a while, so this was significant for me. As I started running my goal seemed a bit daunting.
Would my legs and lungs hold out? How slow am I going to run? Can I even do it?
Miles one and two…
About 5 minutes in, my lungs were burning and it became apparent that I needed to set my sights on smaller victories on the way to 4 miles. The trail is a 1-mile loop around a lake, so I thought, “take it one mile at a time and make it around the lake”. This mantra worked ok for miles one and two, but when I started out on mile three and my legs began to hurt, I knew I needed tinier wins to keep me going.
One tree, one rock…
So I looked down the path and picked out a tree and thought “just make it to the tree”. Then looked immediately for my next win, like a rock outcropping and thought, “just make it past the rock”. I did this repeatedly and found myself being pulled to each new feature around the trail and covering my mileage, without thinking about the big bad four miles.
Before I knew it, I was at 3.75 miles and the end was in sight. I picked out my last win, a pavilion that marked the end of the lake loop. As I ran, I could feel a great sense of pride in accomplishing what I had set out to do. I also had a sense of calmness in recognizing that by taking small focused steps I could enjoy the journey along the way and make a molehill out of a mountain.
Stay present with the little tasks
How does this translate? When making goals, plan and visions, we usually create milestones, and tasks to be completed. While these are great, I think getting even more granular, staying present and focusing intently at the task at hand can keep you moving forward without the big picture weighing you down.
- Create granular steps out of tasks and give yourself more victories.
- Stay present in the moment when working. Focus all of your attention on what you are doing and the big goal will drift towards the back.
- Let completing the task pull you forward toward the next task. Keep your sights on the next target.
- Always remember to breathe.
This is not the newest information or rocket science by any means, but a gentle reminder to slow down, breathe and take time to focus on the immediate step in front of you without stressing about how big your goal is.
Try it and let me know your thoughts.