In 2019, I have set the goal to run at least 100 miles using the Aaptiv app each month. Currently, I have achieved this goal for 11 out of 11 months, and only have the month of December to go. My running has become better, and each month, I seem to be going above and beyond my goal. The overall focus is to get into better health, and this is one of the measurements that I use for the process.
Compare that to a few years ago when I first started running. I remember distinctly sharing my goal for running with someone, and they asked me to go for a ten-mile run in the morning. At this point, if I was running two miles in a day, that was great, and ten was out of reach for me at the time. I am pretty sure the person knew that it was out of reach for me, but they wanted to push me to a place where they think I could have gone.
Could I have done it? Maybe.
The problem is that if I did do it, I probably wouldn’t have been able to run for the next few days.
My goal for each day of exercise is to push myself hard, not to push myself past a point where I don’t want to be active the next day.
A few things about this and hopefully some reminders for learning in our classrooms.
1. When someone else solely decides what success is for you, it might have the opposite effect of what’s intended. It can make us feel more like a failure than was expected.
2. The goal is too often to move from point “A to Z” when we should be celebrating the move from “A to B.” When we celebrate small steps along the way, you are eventually able to get from “A to Z,” but when we look down on those that aren’t able to make the giant leap in one step, we might encourage them to disengage entirely.
3. The picture of success can be framed differently for every individual. What progress is to you, is not necessarily success to me, and vice-versa. When we compare ourselves (or our students) to one another, we can get caught up in what we can’t do as opposed to what we can do. Success should be measured against ourselves, not someone else.