When you break your goal into segments, it’s easy to think that you’re going to eventually reach that goal. Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to run in place for five minutes by the end of the year. Now, I’ve already done the calculations on this: I planned on running in place for five minutes. And I planned on reaching that goal by the end of the year. All I had to do was start with fifteen seconds, and add one second per day. I knew I had it! And then, I got sick. We all heard of the flu that went around last winter. Well, my family was down and out but I’d just gotten over it by the first of the year. Hurray! I’d be able to reach my goal (that was the good news). but the bad news is, I got sick after jumping into my goal too soon after the flu. So here it is, March, and I still haven’t got started. Now right there, that would be enough to make most people quit…or never get started…or kill themselves trying to make up for lost time. But here’s what you need to understand…goals are exponential. If you gain just a little strength, suddenly you will hit a point where you are doing amazingly well and your progress spikes.
Before I give you a personal story on this, let’s go further into what exponential actually means. The definition on free dictionary reads:
exponential – a function in which an independent variable appears as an exponent
Noun:exponential function function, mapping, mathematical function, single-valued function, map – (mathematics) a mathematical relation such that each element of a given set (the domain of the function) is associated with an element of another set (the range of the function)
Adjective: exponential – of or involving exponents; “exponential growth”
Hmmm– that didn’t help me much, so let’s look at some examples; in financing, compounding interest has an exponential thrust. Here’s what I mean: If you deposit $1,000 in an interest bearing account, and leave it there, it’s growth will skyrocket. This works on a smaller scale as well
That’s called compounding interest and Albert Einstein called it the eighth wonder of the world. That’s the power of exponential growth.
In the same way, when you are working out, or trying to learn a new language, things happen quickly; suddenly, your muscles hit a new place of conditioning where instead of steadily increasing reps, you double or triple your ability with each work out. And instead of remembering five foreign words per day, you are suddenly quoting whole narratives.
I found this same dynamic happening when I played the piano each day–suddenly, I after inching my way through a classic, I was able to play three stanzas of an impossible song, then a whole line, during my practice time. One day, after stepping away from the piano for a week, I jumped on the keyboard and played the entire song flawlessly. What just happened? Pianists call it, “muscle memory”. It’s the same thing that happened when I could only do three sit-ups after childbirth. Then eight. Then sixteen. In just two weeks, I was doing fifty sit ups!
So if you feel like you are just crawling along in your goal, remember– goal reaching is exponential.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.
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