As former procrastinators, we recall saying things like “I did that for a while” or “I tried to do that but I flubbed it.”
Sticking with something can be hard, especially at first. When other things in life demand attention, pursuing a goal over a long period of time is a definite challenge.
Try this: Draw a straight vertical line. Put an x at the end near you. This is where you are. At the other end is the destination you want to reach, your goal. Make a dot slightly to the left or right of the line. Place a ruler or other straight edge from the original line through the dot and on beyond. See how greatly your direction changes? That you are now headed to a different destination than you were, away from your goal?
That little dot on the side usually starts as just that – something small that diverts us. Something that seems unimportant or temporary. Yet it takes us off course. Day one doesn’t take us far away. But if we follow the trajectory established by that one day …. we miss by miles.
Recognizing this fact enables us to avoid the lure of stepping away and staying away. Because we realize this is true, we can step right back on the path to the goal. We can course correct. In fact, we must correct constantly.
In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson points out that we course correct as we drive a car, moving the steering wheel constantly to keep the vehicle on the road. He also writes:
“On its way to landing astronauts safely on the surface of the moon…an Apollo rocket was actually on course only 2 to 3 percent of the time…for at least 97 percent of the time…it was off course. And it reached the moon –safely. How was such a thing possible? … This machine was correcting its own off-course errors twenty-nine minutes out of every thirty. …[If you were able to match] an Apollo rocket’s degree of accuracy in the pursuit of your own goals…you’d be perfectly on target and on course no more than ten days in any given year. The next time you’re giving yourself a hard time because…you’ve gotten off track…give yourself a break.”
Yes! “A break” doesn’t mean “stop fighting” or “quit trying and go with the flow.” “A break” means recognize the need to constantly correct is normal for everybody. Normal and critical.
I’m very encouraged to realize constant corrections are completely normal. It helps me be more alert. It helps me see all those failures to stay on the path don’t make me a failure. They naturally occur. The need to constantly correct is normal and so am I! So are you!
If the spacecraft did not correct right away each time, those men would’ve been lost. If we put it off, correction becomes harder. Taking corrective action daily, we move toward our goals.
What course corrections will you now view as normal?