Alexander’s struggles 8 – How to know if you are doing enough?
Since I didn´t manage to have a job until now I am struggling a lot with the thought if I am doing enough and trying enough. That makes me think a lot about how should I know if I am doing enough? Hell, how should anybody know that? Especially, when the time is (mentally) rough or if you don´t achieve the “big” goal, yet. Also, we shouldn´t forget that many goals take a lot of time and work. Sometimes it takes years to achieve something and how then do you know if you are doing enough to get there as fast as possible?
While thinking about this, I came up with two major factors that help with this subject (feel free to let me know when you think there is another important one).
The first one is to focus on small goals, so-called micro-goals. For example, let´s say you want to get a six-pack (not the 6 bottles of beer). So, you need to work out more and eat better. Hence, instead of only focusing on getting a six-pack each day you make yourself small goals like: “Today I eat only one sweet.” or “I will do one push-up more.” or “I will run one time this week.” or “I will run some seconds faster or longer this week”, etc.
You see, this focuses you on small steps each day that you can achieve easily. That takes a lot of pressure off you and it has the bonus of making it measurable (it´s easier to write down workouts than estimating the progress towards your six-pack).
Now, I would love to tell you how amazing I am in this and how much it changed my life. But that would be lying. I am failing at micro-goals regularly, sometimes daily. I think about the great goal that I have and how much work it is and how far away I am way too often. So, this post is also a reminder for me to have more micro-goals and focus more on them instead of the big goals.
It´s interesting to notice how different it is for different goals. For example, with staying fit and working out regularly it´s way easier for me, now (after years of working on that habit). However, with finding a job and writing regularly good solicitations it´s way more challenging! So, I guess we will always have something to work on.
The second factor is to focus on the progress (you see how handy it is to be able to have measurable micro-goals?). Let´s stick with the example. Instead of thinking about how difficult it is to get a six-pack we now focus on achieving the micro-goals we made for ourselves. I use for this a habit tracker, a really simple one. I just write down the habit on the left side, e.g. exercise, then I write the day on top of the paper, and then I make a tick at the habit when I did it. In this way, I measure mostly around 5 micro-goals of habits that I want to become better at.
In this way, I can look into my tracker to see if I moved forward whenever I am doubting if I am doing enough.
And always remember, as long as you are moving forward everything is alright! Look if there is something you can improve to move forward faster but don´t beat yourself up. Aim for a tiny bit better. It´s been said to become 1 % better each day but I would argue that becoming better is always great. Even if it´s just 0,01 %. I think progress is the secret. Persistency is way more important to progress than the amount. So, let´s try to focus on the progress!
Just, never forget to enjoy the journey!
“Work hard, play hard!”
When you focus, for example, in the morning on being productive then allow yourself to do in the evening whatever you want without feeling guilty, as long as it´s not damaging you or your goals.
And now let´s attack this day head-on!
All the best,