the-practice-journal-blog

Start small, win BIG.

May 04, 2017 Brett Yang

Start small…win big.

Have you ever had an epic goal you wanted to achieve but never managed to make it happen? 

I was always good about aiming really high, and while this felt great in the moment, I could never get it to actually happen. My lack of discipline and other distractions kept getting in the way…or so I thought.

One evening some years ago I decided I wanted to learn all 24 Paganini caprices in the next 24 months. I was so excited, fantasising about the results, that I believed nothing could stop me, not realising that I was setting myself up for failure the moment the goal was set. 

Day after day I would pick up my instrument and play my way through each caprice. I would start with one caprice then leave it unfinished because it was too difficult, thinking maybe I could go back to it later. But I soon found the next caprice just as difficult, if not even more challenging.

After a few weeks I gave up.
Why?

I was trying to conquer Mount Everest on my first attempt.

So, I decided to change my approach. Rather than trying to take on all 24 caprices at once, I switched gears and started learning the Tchaikovsky violin concerto by setting ridiculously easy goals.

For example – “I’m going to learn only the opening cadenza this week. That’s it!”

By doing this, I was able to slowly chip away at the enormous feat of learning an entire concerto. The only difference was, I just focused on the small steps. I steadily progressed, and before I realised it, I had learnt the whole concerto!

By breaking down a huge goal into smaller, easier-to-accomplish ones, the seemingly impossible, becomes possible. Additionally, setting smaller goals reduces the pressure, and by reducing the pressure, practice can become better and healthier.

The Chinese philosopher Laozi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This is very true—but it’s also important to remember that in order to travel those thousand miles, you have to take steps each and every day. The more consistent your efforts, the sooner you will reach your destination.

What are your big goals?
What bite-size goals can you set to make it happen?

Chat soon, Brett out.


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