Yesterday my friend Kim and I were talking about her newest goal to participate in a triathlon. It’s not just a goal; she’s actually training quite diligently for it. Each day, she either runs, bikes, or swims a certain distance and some days she does two of those things. She tells me that is called bricking and eventually she has to do a lot of it to prepare for this race where she will do all three (hopefully) within a certain time span (again hopefully). I, by the way, am not doing a triathlon, nor am I training for one. You go girl.
We were talking about how hard her bike ride had been yesterday because the wind was blowing so ferociously. It was a breeze going out three miles, but it was like pedaling into a brick wall on the way back.
Kim told me that to push herself forward she gives herself little incentives along the way. For instance, she told herself “If you just make it to that telephone pole up there, there is a double scoop icecream cone waiting for you!” Mind you, there really is no icecream cone at the telephone pole. Normally she says this little mind game works for her, but yesterday she had about decided that she could care less about the stupid ice cream cone.
Thing is, this method would never work for me because I know there is no ice cream cone at the telephone pole to begin with and, besides that, I don’t even like ice cream that much. But hey, if it works for Kim, more power to her. She’s the one doing the triathlon. I’m the one sitting on my seat.
It occurred to me after our conversation that Kim was simply setting up some little victories for herself, albeit in her mind, so that she could have victory in her ultimate goal. Little victories, indeed, lead to bigger ones.
Sometimes we need to set up some little victories along the way to keep us going toward the larger goal. I know I do. So rarely do we accomplish the big things, it certainly helps to string together some smaller accomplishments to push us toward that bigger victory.
For instance, I’m a pretty big list maker. I’m not obsessive compulsive about it or anything, but I do make them, especially when I have a lot to accomplish or, in keeping with my topic here, a bigger goal. Accomplishing little objectives on my list makes me feel like I’m moving steadily toward the big goal. In fact, I so crave those little victories, that I often start off my list with simple, no-brainer things that I’ve actually already done just so I can immediately cross things off. For instance, I might be making a list of all I have to do before going on a big family trip. The list will include doing all the laundry, packing, taking the dogs to the sitter, clean out the refrigerator etc. All big, bad, yucky stuff that has to be done, but doesn’t appeal to me in the least. So I start my list with stuff like eat breakfast, brush teeth, make bed, call parents, watch Good Morning America. That way I can immediately check off a good portion of my list and feel really good about myself.
Is this not the saddest thing you’ve ever read? I’m making Kim and her imaginary ice cream cone sound awfully smart.
My daughter Abby was telling me about a mind game she played yesterday as well. She got in the car when I picked her up from school and she informed me that she had a wonderful day. When I asked her what was so wonderful about it, she said this:
I love breaking big tasks down into little tasks! Jack always laughs at me because I touch each piece of laundry 3 times. I don't just fold the whole basket of laundry, I first like to sort it out per person, then complete each pile individually, small victories adding up to one pile of laundry finished! With running too, I always make smaller goals like Kim, but never tried imagining a reward. Hmmm….
I get up at 4:45 each morning to work out. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is this little mantra: "You are a person who works out in the morning. This is what you do. And when you're done, you're always glad you did it." I guess it's a little victory of sorts…
Runner Mom says
Hey, Kay!! THanks for your sweet comments on my blog! I too keep lists. Sometimes things get marked off, and sometimes they don't. I just circle them and add to tomorrow's list. And, then try to get it done that day!
I am training for another marathon, and the running is not at the top of my priorities…this photography website is! I truly need God's wisdom and keep His priorites for my life in order. Love the scripture from Thess.–thanks so much!
365 Days of The Roll Family says
It is always good to break things down and do a little at a time. I have been were Kim is and sooooo understand! Thanks for your great words of encouragement!
That's so funny about Kim, when I ran a bunch I would do the same little head games, like pretend I was doing a challenge for some T.V. show! I'm starting again with the running, tomorrow! 'course I've been off so long it will be walking, fast at-least. Lezlee
Stephanie Page says
I'm a list maker too. Makes me feel like I have accomplished lots, even if it is just brushing my teeth. (which I must say, with 4 little ones, sometimes is the biggest accomplishment for the day! LOL) While our earthly lists help us reach our daily goals, I am reminded of Phil 3:14 "Press toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling in Christ Jesus". What a prize! Beats any earthly prize I could give myself!!