The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) holds an annual conference each year, and this year it took place in one of my favorite cities in the world: Nashville, TN! If you have never been to Nashville, take a long weekend and hit the main drag on Broadway. Do not miss the upstairs stage at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. However, you are going to seriously fall off your fitness wagon, so be prepared to make up for it the next week…

I encourage you to take a look at the ACSM’s web site from time to time to see the treasure chest of scientifically-based information about fitness, performance and avoiding injury. Most of it is completely free and well documented.

One item I found interesting is the concept of setting small, achievable goals along as opposed to more challenging, long term goals. You can read the release by clicking here.

A former professor of mine gave me this great bit of advice once regarding splitting big tasks into smaller, bite sized pieces. He said, "If students were shown every test, quiz, paper, discussion and group project that they would be expected to do in the four years it took to complete a degree at university, NO ONE would ever enroll. It is too daunting of a task. So, always break it into mid-term or shorter segments. It is not about performance. It is mostly for maintaining your own sanity."

Great advice. It applies to litigating a big case, doing a huge deal or trying to lose 50 pounds over the course of a year (see, I got the fitness angle back in here).

Losing 50 pounds means you have to burn 175,000 calories. That equates to running for 125 hours at a 10 minute mile pace AND finding a way to cut almost 220 small meals (at 400 calories a piece) out of your diet. I think most people would rather think about that in a less intimidating way!

Here are some examples of small, achievable goals you should be setting along the way to your final destination:

  • Go from being able to do three pull ups to five pull ups by June 30
  • Lose eight pounds of body fat in the next 30 days
  • Reduce my calorie intake in my diet by 500 and burn 500 calories through exercise every day
  • Go from running one mile in 10 minutes to being able to run it in nine minutes (and enjoy it)
  • Burn 7000 calories through exercise in the next 14 days (if you miss a day, do more the next time)
  • Lower my cholesterol by 10 points

Take it one step at a time and keep stepping.