One Step At A Time

Could you go out this morning and run a marathon? Can you lose 35 pounds this week? Can you ask your boss for a 58% raise? Can a 3-year-old name all the colors in the 64-box of Crayolas? No, of course not! Those goals are ridiculous.

However, could you run a marathon if you trained for 6-12 months? Could you lose 35 pounds in 2 years? If you start a job at $24,000 a year, could you work there long enough to be making $37,920? Can a 9-year-old name all the colors in the box of Crayons? Yes! All of those goals are achievable because you are allowing a reasonable amount of time to achieve them.

Now, can you run a marathon if you sit on your couch, watching TV shows about running for 11 months, then run every morning for a month? What about ordering pizza and wings every evening for a year and a half, then going on a 3-month celery diet? Would that put you at your weight loss goal? Can you do only the minimum amount of work required, day after day, and expect consistant promotions and raises? Can you hide the box of Crayons from the child and pull it out on his 9th birthday and expect him to know his colors? The answer, here, of course, is “NO!” It is important to give yourself enough time to reach a goal, but just letting the time elapse is not sufficient to reach the goal. You must be taking steps towards the goal during the entire time period.

To train for a marathon, you do not have to run every single day, but you do have to run almost every day for several months. On days that you don’t run, you may need to be lifting weights to strengthen other muscles. When you’re not exercising, you must give your body decent fuel (food) to use during the training sessions. When each day is done, you must get sufficient sleep to allow your body to heal and strengthen to face the next task. You have to be ‘in training’ during the entire time, not just right before the event.

When you give yourself a sufficient amount of time and spend that time training, you can accomplish really outrageous goals. You must simply allow yourself to start out at whatever pace you can and increase slowly and steadily until you reach your goal.

When you’re working with a 3-year-old on his colors, you don’t bring the whole box of 64 out on the first day. You may begin with just red, green, and blue. After several weeks of recognizing those three, you may add yellow, orange, and purple. If you eventually add black and white, that really might be enough for quite some time. It may be another year or so until they can master such nuances as pink, lime green, or sky blue. It may take another year or two until they can easily distinguish pink from peach from red-violet from salmon.

Whatever goals you have for yourself, give yourself a reasonable amount of time to reach the goal, keep yourself moving towards the goal during the entire time, at whatever pace you can manage, and just take the steps one at a time until you reach your goal.


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