In life and in training, it is easy to get caught chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So easy, in fact, that we often lose site of the wins we have every single day, no matter how small.

Okay, you don’t have your 400lb deadlift yet or aren’t yet to your goal weight. Let’s start smaller. Did you make it to the gym three times last week? Win. Did you get 8 hours of sleep last night? Win. Did you go with the healthy choice when out to dinner last weekend? WIN.

The bigger the goal, the longer it will take to accomplish it. Starting small will not only create a form of positive reinforcement but it will also start moving the needle further and further towards your end goal.

My favorite small win during these dark winter months definitely has to be just making it to the gym and getting the work in. Even if the intensity was lower or I have to pull back to loads and move lighter weights just to get it done, I consider it a big win when I don’t let myself talk me out of working out just because it’s cold and dark and I’d rather stay bundled up inside.

Regular attendance will get you rolling, then use smart nutrition choices as your next small win. Use the plate method to portion a meal, drink 80-100oz of water in a day, chew each bite 30 times during a meal. Or – better yet – put away all screens while eating and focus on the food.

Then, let’s start to focus on sleep. Can you go to sleep and wake up at the same time for a few nights in a row, getting at least 7 hours of sleep? That’s a really shiny small win.

These lessons can be applied outside of the gym as well. Long commute to work? Let your small win be the fact that you don’t let it affect your day as a whole. Did you catch the yearly flu bug? I’d make my win the fact that I now know my body needed the rest, and I will give it the rest it is asking for. Is something going on at home while you’re “stuck” at work? You have a job that provides stable income and you’re not going to let that stress from home eat into your attitude at work. WIN.

Focus on the little stuff. Because if life is a jar (I’m sure you’ve all heard the stones / sand / water analogy), your big goals are stones, and the small ones sand. Until you start using your small wins to move the needle, your jar will forever feel like it’s missing something.

-Chase Tolleson

CF L2

USAW Sports Performance Coach

CF Weightlifting