When you’re trying to reach a goal, it’s comforting to focus on the milestones. However, a better target for your attention may be the incremental process improvements that will get you there.
Picture: Justin See/Flickr
As writer James Clear explains, many successes aren’t major events, even if we see them that way. Rather, they’re the sum total of small, incremental improvements that are made consistently. Doodling in a notebook may not seem like an important task, but no one’s able to create a magnificent painting without thousands of those doodles that come before it:
Most people love to talk about success (and life in general) as an event. We talk about losing 50 pounds or building a successful business or winning the Tour de France as if they are events. But the truth is that most of the significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things 1 per cent better or 1 per cent worse. Aggregating these marginal gains makes a difference.
By getting our minds off the major milestones (and more specifically, our frustration with not already being there), we can focus on the little things that make them possible. Running around your neighbourhood to prepare you for a 5k, practising the guitar to make you good enough to be in a band, or even simply eating less junk so you’re healthy enough to be fit and active when you’re older.