2016 is all about the mini-goals

I’m not really a big one for New Year’s resolutions. I mean, January’s already miserable enough as it is, with its rubbish weather, lack of money and post-Christmas slump. Day-to-day life all feels a bit meh, so why add stress to your life by chucking impossible life-changing goals into the mix?! Better to just curl up on the sofa, light some candles and let the hygge work its magic until Spring arrives!

However, I was talking to my sister-in-law and a friend over Christmas and we somehow got round to talking about exercise. They both really recommended a running app with the aim of getting you ‘from couch to 5k’ over a number of weeks. Basically, this app trains you up from doing no running at all (umm…sounds suspiciously like my life) to being able to run 5 kilometres without stopping (a ludicrous, impossible-sounding target to my ears!).

I was intrigued, mainly because I’ve always been useless at running and wasn’t sure I could ever accomplish such a thing. But…

I actually do want to get fit. So,on the 3rd of January, I downloaded the app, laced up my trainers and forced myself out of the door, with the mantra ‘This is not a new year’s resolution – this is just going for a run!’ repeating itself in my head like a stuck record.

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It started easy, with repetitions of just 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking. However, I’m now a couple of weeks in and the programme’s stepped up a gear, to sets of 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.

Admittedly, that might not sound like much to some of you but I’m finding that those 3 minutes of running are a bit of a slog. So I give myself little goals – first, reach that lamppost; now, reach that blue car; now, reach that corner.

By reaching those tiny goals, I manage to achieve the slightly-less-tiny goal of doing 3 minutes of running. Which all helps to reach the slightly-bigger goal of completing that day’s programme. Which helps to reach the slightly-bigger-again goal of staying on the weekly programme. Which will eventually lead to reaching that big old goal of running for 5k without stopping! Yes! *fistpump*

Okay, so some of you might be wondering by now whether you’ve accidentally stumbled onto the wrong blog – what’s this got to do with learning Danish?!

Well, I’ll tell you – it’s all in the goal-setting!

I sometimes find myself thinking that ‘learning Danish’ is a ludicrous, impossible-sounding target (hmm, now where have I heard those words before?!). But I’ve recently realised that I might just need to ‘couch to 5k’ myself back on track! That is, I just need to break that big goal into varying degrees of tiny and slightly-bigger goals.

I’ll give you a quick example.

What’s my big goal? Well, learning Danish, of course. But – goodness! – that’s a huge, slightly nebulous and sometimes impossible-sounding target.

So in the meantime, I’m working on improving my comprehension and vocabulary with the slightly-more-achievable target of reading a kids’ book in Danish. And in order to achieve that, I’ve set myself the manageable goal of reading a chapter a day, which is on average around six to seven pages long. And if I ever feel like I’m struggling and not really sure what’s going on as I read, I just give myself the teeny tiny goal of carrying until the end of the next paragraph, by which point, more often than not, I’ve managed to work out what’s going on and I can keep powering through.

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By breaking things down like this, it feels much more manageable. If ‘learning Danish’ is like running 5k, then I can think of reading this kids’ book as, in effect, equivalent to completing a week of the programme. Reading each chapter is the same as completing a day in the weekly programme, and reading each page is like each 3 minute jog in that day’s run. And, if I find myself starting to struggle, then making myself read that next paragraph is like forcing myself to reach that lamppost 100 meters down the street.

I really think that these mini-goals are what I actually need to keep me going this January – not those vague, too-big resolutions like ‘learning Danish’! The mini-goals are much easier to keep track of and they help you feel like you’re actually achieving something real and tangible. Yes – I managed to finish that page! Yes – I finished that chapter! Yes – I read that book!

What about you? Do you agree? And are you setting yourself ‘couch to 5k’ mini-goals to help you reach your big goal? I’d love to hear how you’re getting on – why not share your big goals and mini-goals, and celebrate your progress, by leaving a quick comment below? 🙂

Catrin

 

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5 thoughts on “2016 is all about the mini-goals

  1. Hi-five to you, Jori and Inger! Celebrate all the small achievements, and they’ll keep you going 🙂
    PS – Jori, hats off to you learning Chinese! I haven’t tried learning anything with a different writing system before – maybe something for the future? I’ve always fancied giving Russian a go…

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  2. Hej! I am proud of you that you found your strategy of how to do one step at a time. “Learning Danish” has been fun for me because I didn’t had to proove anything to anyone. Studying Chinese feels like: “Now you run! 10k! Per day!” So I will to set myself more tiny goals 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration! Tusind tak! Hilsen, Jorinde

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  3. Yes, I applied the same kind of tactics when I started learning Danish. At a certain point I decided to start talking Danish in shops, and to count how many sentences I could speak in Danish, before I had to fall back on English. Oh, the joy when I had a full (well, all of four sentences) conversation in Danish, from beginning to end!

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