Success rarely comes with a lightning bolt. It’s usually the product of showing up every day and chipping away at the tasks and challenges that stand between you and your goal.
Sometimes hard work is not fun, especially when it turns boring. But what if your process could be as fun as your result?
That’s what I’ve observed with my husband Fred’s consistent fitness routine. He’s not doing anything fancy, but he’s got a great tool to help him stick with it and keep from getting bored. It’s become fun because his efforts are captured in a simple and quantifiable way.
He has found a way to beat boredom through this small powerful tip for motivation: celebrating the small milestones.
The Fitbit Effect
We all need benchmarks in our progress, and that’s what Fred has found. He’s been wearing an unobtrusive Fitbit sensor wristband for a few months as a way to measure his activity level. Millions of people use Fitbit to track movement throughout the day and avoid the health risks of being sedentary.
That could have been enough for Fred, but as a bonus, one of our daughters is wearing a Fitbit too. Now he has a social motivation to stay active. Their wristbands give them a connection, something to bond over.
What I see is that this small piece of technology pays big dividends because it increases Fred’s mindfulness. Just like he used to check the time on his wristwatch, he checks the time and his steps on his Fitbit. And the Fitbit app will send him a fun badge to mark his fitness milestones, which some people might think is corny, but it points out the power of celebrating achievements along the way to a goal.
There’s no guessing about his progress. The number doesn’t lie, and it’s not personal. It’s basic data that helps him choose what his next move is going to be. He can be more intentional, and that’s empowering. Fitbit helps Fred love the process of getting 10,000 steps a day so he will get the result: good health. It’s not just a connection with a daughter—it’s an example for all three of our girls.
Successful Teams Value Small Milestones
Appreciating incremental progress is so important, as the San Antonio Spurs demonstrated this power on their way to winning five NBA titles. Their coach found an inspirational quote from poet Jacob Riis.
“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
These words helped the Spurs find meaning in the daily grind—the workouts, the long season, the injuries and constant demands on their physical health, families and time. Every day they were each striking a blow for their common goal.
The Riis quote also helped create a sense of anticipation: What blow will crack the rock? Will I be ready to step up and deliver?
Suspense is part of play. Sensor wristbands, poetic words and countless other workarounds can help sustain your sense of play and keep drudgery away. We owe it to ourselves to protect the sense of joy and fun doing what we love, so our own unique passions never become a grind.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Everyone has to find the small inspirations that help each of us push through the obstacles. Avoid being stuck by looking for ways to simply quantify your progress, and keep your passion and sense of play going. Celebrate the small milestones!
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.