On most days, my wife, Jamie, and I go for a walk. Our daily goal is to cover 3.1 miles (5km) together.
I like variety, so we never seem to walk the same route, My watch’s GPS helps us reach our target. If we are falling a bit short, we circle the block a couple of times to ensure we check 3.1 miles off our daily ‘to do’ list.
I love my ‘to do’ list!
Once in a while, I forget to check the watch until we are in the house, shoes off, and the dog is released from his leash. If I realize we fell short, I go back out to get just a few more steps in so that we win on our goal.
I do love that ‘to do’ list!
Recently, Jamie purchased her own Apple watch, and with it in hand, we started an experiment. We walked side-by-side for the entire hike and then compared the results at the end.
I was stunned. My watch read 3.1 miles. Jamie’s showed 3.19 miles.
I felt cheated.
Did this mean that when we had fallen short of our daily goal in the past and I felt like we had lost, we hadn’t missed the goal at all?
Jamie brought me back to reality by asking a few questions:
How many times have we walked together this year as opposed to any other year of our lives together?
Is there that big of a difference between walking 2.95 miles one day as opposed to 3.1?
What’s the value of spending an hour together every day?
She was right.
I felt silly.
Many people feel frustrated when they fall short of their daily 10,000 step goal. Fail to stans for 12 hours on a particular day. Or miss any other goal that they set for themselves.
The reality is that if you walk 9,500 steps today but have historically only completed 7,000 per day steps, you are winning. You may have fallen short of the goal, but you are far better off than you were before you started.
Yes, some goals are binary. You either win, or you lose. You either did it, or you didn’t. But most goals allow for a degree of celebration even when you don’t hit an arbitrary target. It’s in those celebratory moments where we find the energy and drive to keep going.
This has been a tough 15 months. You may have started with very different goals before COVID but had to pivot, adjust, and improvise. Don’t miss the chance to celebrate what you and your team did accomplish. You’re still standing and moving forward. Revenues may be way down, but the doors are still open (virtually or in person).
That’s huge and gives all of us a reason to celebrate.
Make it a great day!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.