I recently listened again to an audio programme by Andy Gilbert of Go Mad Thinking, the programme covers the basic principles of solutions focussed thinking. During the audio, the principles of breaking down large goals into smaller, manageable chunks is covered. To demonstrate an extreme example of how this might be used, Andy recounts the story of Robert Swan OBE, who became the first person in history to reach both the South and North Pole on foot. Whilst on his Antarctic exploration, when the air temperature and windchill factor combined to give a temperature of -70 degrees centigrade Robert said that there was no point in thinking of the hundreds of miles he still had to cover, he had to focus on staying alive; to do this he set himself mini-goals of still being alive in five paces time. So he would set himself the goal, count his next five paces and the end he would say to himself “I’m alive”.

I have taken this to heart, and whilst I cannot claim to do anything as extreme as polar exploration, I have used this principle to help to improve my health and fitness. When I am running (well perhaps plodding would be a more accurate description), and start to flag or hit a big hill instead of focussing on the end of the run, top of the hill or just walking I set myself small goals. I do this by saying I will still be running in ten paces time, so I count out to myself 1,2,….10, and then say “that’s a win now do it again”. There are two benefits to this, first I am still running and second I actually cover 14 to 15 paces in that sequence. This approach has helped me increase my fitness, improve the distances I run and the pace at which I run them.

You too can benefit from breaking large goals down into smaller sub-goals; it allows you to get wins more quickly and frequently, build your confidence and each one is a step closer to completing your larger goal. Everyone’s a winner!