This is real simple advice. It covers every aspect of life. If you actively participate in some activity on a regular basis, whether it be memorizing Bible verses, working out, playing softball, or creating software, you need to practice the aspects of this activity that you are not good at. You will never improve until you do. You need both conditioning and confidence.
Here’s a few easy steps to get going on this today:
- Determine what you want to work on – This one is easy. There is nothing we do in life that we can’t be better at. Just pick something.
- Set a goal for where you want to be in a month. The time factor on setting goals is one of the most important aspects of goal setting. By putting a time period on it, you can break your goal down to math to make sure that as you are practicing you are making the right progress towards that goal. By limiting it to a month, you will be able to quickly move in to the habit of practicing what you are bad at.
- Make the goal something that you will be really excited about when you accomplish it. It’s got to be satisfying. This is important for continuing on to improve other things that you do.
- Practice at least once per week. That’s all you have to do, but when you get down to business, hit it with everything you have. Depending on what you are trying to improve on you may need to practice more frequently, but no less than once per week.
- Set a goal for progress each week. This goes along with number 2. In order to go from where you are starting, to where you want to go, you have to have some checkpoints along the way. Set your goal incrementally each week. This is simple math. I will give you an actual example below.
- Announce it to the world, or at least to someone. This is one thing that Facebook is actually good for. If you don’t do Facebook, then simply tell someone who you communicate with on a regular basis.
- Once you announce it, keep everyone updated with your progress at least once per week. If you practice more than once per week, consider giving an update each time. This will provide you with accountability. This is crucial. You don’t want to start and not finish.
- While it’s not imperative, I would focus on only one thing at a time. If you get really good at this monthly routine, then try adding another goal and see if you can handle two. If it works great, if it doesn’t, go back to one.
So now for the example. I’m working on Burpees this month. For those who do CrossFit, you are all too familiar with Burpees. Others may also be. For those who don’t know what a Burpee is, consider it a push-up from a really hot place. Rather than try to explain it, I will let you check out this video instead:
A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to get better at Burpees. First I had to define better. To me better meant doing 100 in under 5 minutes. While I wasn’t sure of exactly where I was at, I figured I would be under 10 minutes. To me this wasn’t good. So the only way to figure it out is to try. I went out and did a round. 100 in 8:03 and I started off doing 35 in row. Better than I thought, but pretty far off from sub 5. I was encouraged though because I started. I decided at that point I would try this workout once per week for a month, with my goal being the sub 5 by the end of the month. I was so excited about it that I decided to try it again only 3 days later. My goal for this attempt was 7:30 and 50 in a row. Well I got the 50 in a row, and I did the workout in 7 flat. This got me real excited. In just 3 days I trimmed a minute off my time. I went into the second workout very confident, because I felt 50 in a row was very doable based upon the first time I tried it. I waited a full week before going into round 3. My goal was 6:30 and 65 in a row. My result 5:48 and 65 in a row. I was totally blown away by this. After a little more than 2 weeks I was within 49 seconds of my goal. I was also pretty pumped about being able to do 65 burpees in a row. Most people struggle to get 10. To follow my own advice, along the way I have been letting people know what I have been up to. I have told my trainer at the gym, announced it on Facebook, and have posted my results there as well.
So that brings me to today. I will do the workout again on Friday, which will be 3 weeks from my start date. My goal is to hit the 4:59 mark this week, getting 80 in a row. I will have hit my goal with a significant improvement within 3 weeks if I can make it happen. I will try for 100 in a row in week 4, just to wrap it up and hit a new goal that was born during this one. From this point forward, I will be satisfied with my performance on Burpees for a while. I will be good at them. I can always be better, but there are plenty of other things to focus on getting better at, and a new month long journey will begin.