Achieve your goals, step by step
Every morning, I cross the River Thames on the way into London’s West End. For the past month, an underpass has been closed which has caused traffic constant delays. Being the patient person I am (ahem), I cross the Waterloo Bridge by foot, come rain or shine. It’s turned out to be an effective pre-workday workout.
One morning, I found myself goal-setting as I walked. Having established a medium-fast pace, I decided to challenge myself to go that little bit faster. Having spotted someone a bit ahead of me with a decent pace, I set to catching up with him. As I neared, I identified the next person to catch-up.
After doing the same with five people, I noticed a man ahead of me had a very decent pace. Accordingly, I set to keeping just behind him, maintaining the same speed. Every now and then he would glance back, wondering about the continual sound of click-click-click-click so close!
As I walked, I thought about how this was like goal-setting in life. My overall aim was crossing the bridge in short order. By setting milestones along the way, I was establishing a positive pattern of accomplishing targets. This reinforced the fact that I was well on my way to reaching my destination.
And then, something surprising happened. My fast-walking man and I were 80% across the bridge. We were on the home stretch. And he…. suddenly slowed down! I’m sure it wasn’t my heels scaring him. I had learned during my track and cross-country running days that you don’t slow down in the final stretch, you challenge yourself that last little bit, ideally even improving the pace.
So what did I do? I didn’t slow down, but charged on, making good time.
This too was symbolic, as it demonstrated what pace one sets in working towards goals. It’s important to establish a speed you can maintain. In the case of our speedy man, he had set a stride that he could only hold for a short burst. Once exhausted, he practically slammed on the brakes. And yet, he was so close to the finish line!
Whilst you want to be realistic in setting a pace, bear in mind too the importance of challenging yourself. It is possible to find a speed that pushes what is comfortable, yet is also maintainable. This will help you set new ‘norms’ for what you achieve. And then, you’ll find that you are readily jumping along the stepping stones to your bigger goals.
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Photographs © Chris King.