Incremental Improvements

We often dream of the big achievements, like winning a lottery or running a marathon in under three hours (or even just finishing one).

Yet we get discouraged when the goal seems overwhelming. We wake up one day and think it’s downright impossible to reach mile 20 on the run today.

This is where incremental improvements come into play. Small bite-sized milestones to keep you motivated and on your path to success. We need to take a big goal and break it down into the smallest possible chunks.

Let’s look at a few examples. Say you want to lose 20 pounds. Instead of dwelling on such a challenging task, you could first brainstorm all of the daily activities you can do to improve incrementally. This is why tracking steps is so effective, because you can see your progress day-by-day. Maybe you can look at how many hour-long walks you want to do in a week. For diet, you could look at how many days you can go binge-free with your eating habits.

With these increments, we’re not even thinking about some crazy goal. Instead, we’re going micro, examining each day as it comes.

For me, I have some personal fitness goals I want to achieve. I make a spreadsheet of everything I need to do each day, and I check it off. It’s exciting to check things off a list.

Take a look at your wild dreams. The dreams you are constantly thinking about. What can you do to break it down into daily activities?

Look for ways to improve incrementally, not drastically. When we look for big wins right out of the gate, we often find ourselves being big disappointments. For our long-term self-esteem, that’s not going to work.

In order to think incrementally, you have to become a realist and throw away pie-in-the-sky thinking. You’re not going to lose 100 pounds in a day, so let’s get real. But you could lose one pound this week, or two ounces today. Now we’re being realistic. Losing a few ounces deserves celebration, a mini-cheer. Cheer yourself on when incremental improvements are made.

Then, and only then, can your wild dreams become reality.

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