This post from Nerd Fitness hit me just at the right time. With it being January, I’ve been contemplating what my goals for the new year should be. Many of my goals last year were fitness related and this year is no different. I’ve once again signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle and hope to best my previous time. I’ve registered for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon in May and with my gained knowledge on training and injury prevention/treatment, I expect to do significantly better. I want to do more pull-ups. I still want to be able to do a hanging leg raise with my toes touching the bar. Even crazier, I want to be able to do a front lever. (I can already do a tuck front lever! Albeit, not with my arms completely straight.) I know that if I work on these things a little bit every day, eventually I’ll be able to do them.
Where I find my knowledge faltering is with my non-fitness related goals. For the past year I’ve been working on starting my own business, and while my partner and I have made good progress, it’s hard to know where to go from here. In making my New Year’s Goals, I knew I needed to put something business-related on the list, but I had no idea what. How much revenue can we expect to make? How much marketing should we do? How many new customers should we aim to bring in? I don’t have any idea how to answer these questions and this leaves me clueless as to what I should aspire to do.
When I was writing my thesis in undergrad, and again in grad school, I used to set daily goals for myself. Writing a thesis seemed an insurmountable task, so I would tell myself I just had to work on one specific section today and then I didn’t have to think about it again until the next day. It worked – I would sit down in the morning, do my one assigned section, and eventually the entire paper came together. It was focusing on just one step at a time, instead of concerning myself with the larger picture. I realized I did the same thing when I set out to lose weight, focusing only on going to the gym a set number of times a week and eating at the dining hall only for lunch, not the number of pounds I wanted to lose or the number of calories I wanted to restrict. And I repeated the process last year when I trained for my half marathon, reminding myself that I didn’t have to run the entirely of my long runs, but that I had to try and I could walk when I needed. (Despite my panicky doubts, I never cumulatively walked more than five minutes.)
So, again, I find myself focusing on the step I’m on and not the finish line at the end. Or in Nerd Fitness parlance, the brick I’m laying, not the one that was laid yesterday or the one that will be laid tomorrow. With the nebulous end goal of “run a successful business in mind,” I knew what my specific goal should be: do one thing for the business every day. It’s a small goal, yes, and I don’t know where it will eventually lead me, but I trust that every small step takes me closer to the finish line and every brick goes toward building the walls of my dream cathedral.