What one Thing have You Done?

What one thing have you done today to move closer your goals for this year? 

Well?

If you don’t have an answer, then get off the computer and do something! Come back to this when you’re done. 

Motivation can easily be squashed by huge tasks, long term goals or the avalanche of to-dos. It becomes so daunting we become frozen through inaction or complacent thinking there is plenty of time to get it done later. (Afterall, I have all year to complete my annual goal.) As a result, we do nothing. Stress only escalates over the mounting tasks, passing deadlines, lack of progress and demands from those impacted.

The advice about eating an elephant one bite at a time, though trite, is accurate. Sometimes that isn’t as instructive to us and still may not move us to action. My solution instead is to ask the empowering question: what one thing can I do to make progress on this today? How you ask a question dictates answers. If you were to ask, “did I do anything to progress on this goal today” you end up with a yes-no answer. This is less stimulating… in fact, downright deflating if your answer is no. 

That “one thing” may be small. How small? (I knew you would ask that.) It depends on the person. It only has to be big enough to legitimately qualify in your mind that you did something. Let’s look at goals of losing weight and getting in shape. It’s late in the day. You’re home from work. You’re tired and feeling less than motivated. Here are some actions that might qualify.

  • Log what you ate today in a nutrition journal (Begin one if you don’t have one).
  • Get on the floor and do 20 push-ups and 30 sit-ups.
  • Do exercises during commericals while watching TV tonight (instead of channel surfing).
  • Eat a healthy dinner and omit dessert this evening.
  • Don’t have that beer or glass of wine before bed.
  • Evaluate your goals and re-write them with specific objectives for each. 
  • Read an article (or blog post) on nutrition, exercise or motivation.
  • Ask a friend to go for a walk with you.
  • Join a club.
  • Hire a coach.

Notice that these are process actions. It only has to be big enough to inch towards your goal. Like running a marathon, it’s done one step at a time. The snowball at the top of the hill gains momentum and power as it rolls downhill; similarly these “one things” keep you rolling forward. It is complete inaction we want to avoid because inertia (things at rest will remain at rest – a physics thing that applies to human behavior too) is very difficult to overcome.

Ok, now that you have done your reading for today; Let’s try this again. Get out your goals. What one thing have you done today to move closer to your goals for this year?

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About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
This entry was posted in Motivation, Sports Psychology, The Running Life - Philosophy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What one Thing have You Done?

  1. Jim says:

    Log what you ate today in a nutrition journal (Begin one if you don’t have one). Nope

    Get on the floor and do 20 push-ups and 30 sit-ups. Nope

    Do exercises during commericals while watching TV tonight (instead of channel surfing).Nope

    Eat a healthy dinner and omit dessert this evening. Nope

    Don’t have that beer or glass of wine before bed. HAHAHA

    Evaluate your goals and re-write them with specific objectives for each. Nope

    Read an article (or blog post) on nutrition, exercise or motivation. Nope

    Ask a friend to go for a walk with you. Nope

    Join a club. Nope

    Hire a coach. Nope

    Pretty much got the goose egg on this list….got any other lists I can check out?

  2. Hmmmm, you’re definitely a tough one… how about doing visualization exercises?

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