Taking it One Step at a Time: Building new habits for personal growth

TDB Fitness Newsletter 3/6/2022

Have you ever had a goal you didn’t reach? When working towards a goal we often put pressure on ourselves to achieve too much too soon. Successful goal setting often comes with “chunking” the work into smaller goals, and taking it one step at a time.

Photo by Sasha Kim from Pexels

Step by Step

It may be cliche, but stairs are really the best metaphor for working on your goals. When taking the stairs, do you start at the first step? Or do you start on step 10? Step one, right?

The problem is, when considering our goals, we often expect ourselves to start on step 10. We tend to get so fixated on the end-goal we lose sight of the fact that every new learning and growth process takes time. Just like, for those who are capable, you likely crawled before you walked, before you learned to run.

When setting goals, figuring out the ultimate end goal is only half of the assignment. In reality, planning how you’re going to reach your goal is just as important. As a curriculum designer, I learned to approach goal setting by breaking larger, ultimate end goals into smaller steps. Then, working towards that goal one step at a time while reflecting on the effectiveness of the process and the suitability of a goal along the way. When making a plan to work towards your goal, consider the following:

What is step one? Literally, back up. Think about your life the way it is now. If your goal is to run a marathon, but you’ve had couch potato habits – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to jump up and start running for long periods of time. Actually, if your body is used to being sedentary, you may not be able to run at all at first. And that’s ok! Don’t be afraid to start small. It doesn’t matter how far away you start from your goal – taking it one step at a time will get you there either way.

Create a “to do” list, and make a plan to start working on it immediately. Every want starts with a do. Once you’ve figured out the individual steps necessary to meet your goal, start at step one and make a “to do” list for meeting and surpassing step one. Cross off the list and you’ve made it passed step one and are ready to start your “to do” list for step two. Lists like these keep us focused and motivated to keep up the good work!

Reflect on the process along the way. Sometimes the goals we want for ourselves actually aren’t right for our body. And that’s OK. A lot working towards our goals includes trial and error, as we’re often pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. You can do as much planning as you want; if your goal isn’t right or possible for you, then you likely won’t reach it. Stay open to the fact that you might have to change things up.

Be kind to yourself. Negative self talk really never serves us, especially when working towards a goal. Try to talk to yourself how you would speak to a loved one working on the same goal. If you wouldn’t say the thing in your head to someone you love – then why would you say it to yourself? Negative comments, especially from ourselves, can discourage us from creating new goals that are better for our bodies. Your inability to reach a goal has nothing to do with your ability to reach goals in general.

Don’t be afraid to start over! No time working towards any goal is time wasted. As you go step by step and do self reflection you can learn things about yourself you may never have otherwise. This self-knowledge helps you understand yourself and the kinds of goals that are good for you in ways you may not have realized without a couple false starts. This is a natural, and beneficial part of the process. Having to start over on a goal, or start a new goal indicates you’re growing even if you’re not “meeting” all your goals. Negative self talk about “failure” will be the thing that stifles your growth much more so than starting over.

We are all much more capable than we believe ourselves to be. If you look into your past at any of your goals you failed to meet, you likely didn’t do any of the work I mentioned above. And that’s OK too! How could we expect ourselves to know how to do something when we were never taught how to do that thing? However, now you know. Now you know that, with any goal you set, it is OK to start at step one. Backing up and slowing down actually makes it more likely you’ll meet your goal in the long run.

Still having trouble setting, working towards, or meeting your goals? Contact us today for a consultation.

Team Announcements

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Take a look at our updated packages page! TDBFitness is a small business from Ypsilanti, MI. We offer in person and virtual fitness plans, individualized goal setting, and lifestyle coaching.

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