Think Small. Aim Low. Set Modest Goals.
Has any motivational speaker in history said those things? Probably not. And they constitute amazingly good advice.
At age 58 I had never done the famous exercise called Bench Press. I started small, at 85 pounds, because I saw a guy about my age or older doing it with that weight. Pretty soon I was lifting 100 pounds, then 120 and even 150. The day I hit 200 was amazing. When I first tried 240 I was over 60 and it felt like I had a truck on me. My workout partner was yelling “It’s moving! It’s going up!” I thought I was stuck. I was using a Smith Machine that has the bar in a slot and you don’t have to use any small muscles to balance the load. I eventually made it to benching 315 pounds. If you had asked me at any point along the way if that was my goal, I would have thought it absurd.
Now I do free weight bench, where I have to balance the bar. So I had to back up, a lot. I did days at 140, days going up to 190, and recently 200 and even 230. But today, I had my personal best on free weight bench of 250, at age 66. Again, I could never have set that as a goal. I started small. I aimed low, so as not to hurt myself. I set modest goals along the way.
What we easily forget is that thinking small, aiming low, and setting modest goals gets you in the game, in any dimension of life. As you acquire skill and strength you can then step it up. But if I had been told today that I could go to the gym only if I was willing to try 250, I could have stayed at home. Honest. By aiming only for a modest goal today I positioned myself for much more.
Consider the immense benefits of thinking small, and adjusting along the way.