Committing to the Small Wins

Updated 12/01/18

I broke a personal record and a milestone for myself.   

I ran a mile in 6:38. I've been chasing the goal to be under 7-minute mile time for roughly 3 three months now. Did I start there? Hell no! 

As a person who never really liked running and in high school having a mile of nine-plus minutes this is an incredible feat. Now you may be wondering how I was able to cut three minutes from my running speed.  

The first thing to do is to check your ego at the door. Forget about how fast you think you should run. The initial goal was just to run at a pace that was still pushing myself, but not so severe that I couldn’t do it for the distance. This does a couple things; first helps your body get used to running. If you don’t run often or you have been taking a break the soft tissue can sore especially the ankles and arches of the feet.  

Another detail that becomes important is that initially running feels like a chore and you can’t wait to get it over with. Are the five minutes up? Or regularly checking the distance. Don’t look at these little things because all it does is prolong the discomfort rather than embracing it. What helped to forget these details was to focus on something else that interests you or clearing your read. Trying to concentrate on breathing; in through the nose and out through the mouth. This helps for many reasons one being that by controlling your breath it keeps from getting away from you. Once you start pushing yourself hard, you get winded and then everything gets harder from there, and it’s a form of panic. 

Now I’ve given precise advice towards running here. But the idea of committing to small wins applies to anything. Anything that you wanted to learn or just get better at commit to trying a little a bit each day. A person doesn’t learn rocket science, nursing or becoming a writer anything in a single day.  

I’m an engineer, and many people like to assume I’m good at math, but being good at math doesn’t make you a good engineer we use math as a tool. What I have learned is how to solve problems with math. This process started with a baseline of zero but over six-plus years of course. I can now look back, and it seems funny at how the basic concepts seem so simple compared to the level I am at today. Am I done? Never. 

The constant building of knowledge and framework is built over continual effort.  One of my favorite sayings that effort in equals results out. Some advice from recent podcasts: 

  • For writing, just one shitty page a day. 

  • Comedians, get on stage and get comfortable 

  • Just going to the gym three days a week.  

The ideas here are about being able to say you don’t know everything and that you’re willing to challenge yourself in areas you want to go. Commit to what you want to do and keep doing it for three months, and you’ll see a positive change just by doing.