We’ve all tried to reach some big goal and if you’re like the rest of us, you’ve failed too many times to count.
Ahh, the irony. I’m not suggesting you count your failures, although that is an intriguing idea.
I am suggesting you and I start small, counting one pound lost, one dollar saved, one page written.
I’m saying there is Strength in Numbers - strength in counting numbers and starting small.
Let me explain.
I have for some time wanted to increase my fitness and get stronger. Enter my friend Matt Treppel who happens to be the Area Director for the Southeast NC chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and who happens to be awesome.
Matt invited me to join the 100-day Burpee Challenge. Right away I knew this was perfect. You do exactly ONE burpee on Day ONE then TWO burpees on Day TWO and ... you get the picture. Yes that means 100 burpees on Day 100.
So there is clearly a level of commitment happening.
If I suggested that you lose one pound this month, would you feel offended? Or “Hey, can you save $1 dollar in the piggy bank today?” “Can you write one page today?”
Like me you might say, “Yes, obviously I can do that! What kind of person do you think I am?”
Offending yourself may be the just the thing you need to do to achieve your goal.
It’s all about establishing the daily habit.
I got a little happy kick out of recording my 5 burpees on Day FIVE. There was huge satisfaction recording my 50 burpees on Day FIFTY.
Not sure yet what it’s going to feel like once I’ve counted all the way up to 100.
The strength in counting numbers and starting small that we’re talking about here is all about easing yourself into a discipline. Establishing a daily habit.
Personally I still like recording the numbers and seeing my progress. There are some days I do my burpees only for that reason. I’m not yet on the next level where I’m doing burpees because it’s good for me. (Can I get a witness?)
My old friend Clint Henry encouraged me as a runner. I was of course counting my miles run as well as using my love for music to motivate my running and it worked. I ran three half marathons and began to love the rush and results of running - and not just the music.
Clint though was on that next level. He ran because he loved it - no music. I have some work to go to get there. Maybe I’m alone in that I sometimes don’t want to crawl out of bed at 5:30am for a run.
But I am on the track - literally and figuratively - towards that next level.
I started small doing 1 and 2 mile runs on my way to logging 200 miles before ending big, crossing the finish line of a half in a respectable 1 hour and 45 minutes.
So... start small. END BIG.
By the way Clint did his half in 1:15 ... but anyways.
Here’s the takeaway:
- Start small, even if it’s below what you know you can do
- Record your progress and allow yourself to relish the accomplishment of even the small achievements
- Keep counting those numbers - the pounds or dollars or pages or whatever is it you’re counting - right on until you achieve your goal
You will at least start toward your goal (starting is the hardest part) and you will also greatly increase the likelihood of “ending big” by achieving your your goal.
One day you might find yourself not counting anymore and actually enjoying the process.
Until then develop your strength in counting numbers, starting small.
Mark B. Anderson
Tutor & Founder, Strength in Numbers Tutoring