Often when we set ourselves a Big Goal, its not something that we can achieve right away or in a small period of time, often these can take months even years. Like my friend Will who is building his own boat, which will take 2-3 years, and is then planning to sail around the world, which will take another 4 years.
When we are in this position, whilst we need to keep our eye on the big picture, our ultimate goal, we also need to create some smaller interim goals that will be our short and medium term focus, which will ultimately help lead us to our big goal.
We need to be able to manage our own expectations and ensure that we set ourselves short and mid term targets that we can achieve, in order to increase our motivation and belief.
I was reminded of this whilst I was out on training run today, one of my goals is to run a marathon and to try and do this in Sub 4hrs 30.
But as a I’d never run a marathon before, my first goals were to run a half marathon, and then complete a couple full marathons.
Only then I could look to see how I could improve my times.
If I have tried to do my first marathon in sub 4hrs 30 mins, I would have failed to complete it.
So sometimes our first goal has to be to just cross the finish line, to complete a new task, prove to ourselves that we can do it, that alone is a success in itself.
Then once we have done that, then we can look at improving it, working to make the small changes that can have an impact on our overall performance and help us ultimately reach our goal.
I saw a talk last year about 2 German mountain climbers, the Huber brothers, who were looking to set the speed world record for climbing El Capitan, 2300m, in Yellowstone National Park.
At that time the record for the climb was 2hrs 48 minutes and 55 seconds.
So I was very interested to hear that on their first climb it actually took them over 12 hours to climb it. This was some way off the record 🙂
Their explanation was that, they had never climbed it before, so they wanted to take their time get a feel for it and then look to start to find ways to increase their time.
Their goal wasn’t to break the record on their first attempt, as they knew that wasn’t possible. They needed to climb it several times, get used to it, see what opportunities there were to increase their speed.
In fact it wasn’t until over a year after their first climb that that eventually broke the record.
With some of the goals that we set ourselves, we need to remember that whilst we might complete a task, we might not actually achieve it in the way we would like until we have done it many many time
This is not a failure on our part, this is part of the learning process, first we need to complete a task and then we can look to improve it.
For those interested I include here a video of the Huber brothers record climb. They no longer hold the record as it has since been broken by other climbers, but it is still an amazing achievement.