Our son Mitch just told my wife and I that he dunked a dodge ball for the first time yesterday. Dunking a basketball has been a goal of Mitch’s and yesterday’s feat was tangible evidence of his progress towards reaching his goal.
He was proud of his accomplishment because, as he said, “it takes lots of small steps to accomplish a goal and yesterday was one of those steps in me dunking a basketball.” Our 16-year-old understands a powerful reality about reaching goals – if we want to accomplish a difficult task or reach a challenging destination we need to break it down into achievable steps and patiently work our way through those steps.
This process of breaking down a goal, task or project into smaller steps does a number of important things that increases the odds we’ll reach our desired end.
First, it forces us to think through, plan and count the cost of all that needs to be done to ultimately accomplish a goal. Mitch knows there’s more work to be done if he’s ever going to compete in a slam dunk contest.
Second, if we ultimately don’t achieve our goal, we have the consolation of having improved and being in a better place than we were before we started. Yesterday Mitch jumped higher than ever before.
Finally, and maybe the best reason for breaking down our goals into manageable steps, is it creates many opportunities for small victories which give us confidence and motivation to keep going forward. Dunking a dodge ball is a small victory and it fired Mitch up to keep moving along his journey to achieving his goal of dunking a basketball.
What goal do you have that would become more achievable if you broke it down into smaller steps?