Written by Blaine McConnell
I was listening to a podcast the other day and the guest on the show was Jordan Peterson, and he was talking about how people don’t aim low enough. At first I was a bit taken aback because it seemed like he was saying that people need to lower the bar they had set for themselves, but when he started to elaborate on it a bit more, this statement of “aim low” really started to resonate with me. Jordan went on explaining what he meant and it applies to basically everyone everywhere, myself included.
As a coach, too often do I get an athlete that has their sights set on making it to the CrossFit Games and they haven’t even made it to Regionals yet. Or a new client comes in wanting to clean and jerk 315 pounds, yet they haven’t cleaned 135 pounds. Or even the person who wants to lose 50 pounds but they haven’t lost five yet. All of these goals are achievable, yet people always seem to not reach them, and in most cases it is because they give up too soon because they had their sights set too high. Here is where “aim low” comes into play.
If you have the goal of making it to the CrossFit Games; that is great, and that can be achieved through enough hard work and discipline. But if you haven’t made even made it to Regionals then you need to aim lower than the Games and focus on the first step. For you, it may mean to place top 100 in your Region for the Open and then improve on that to qualify for Regionals. Aim low, find success in the little things and the big things become achievable.
If you are the type of person who wants to improve a certain lift by 50 pounds the same goes for you. Don’t focus on the end number, and instead aim low and focus on the next 5 pounds. Focus on the technique of that lift, and the little things you can do to get that first 5 pounds, then the next 10 pounds and before you know it, 50 pounds is not too far away.
If you are a person who has a goal of losing 20, 50 or even 100 pounds your aim needs to be low as well. The journey can seem so far away when looking at where you want to be rather than aiming low and focusing on what you can do to lose that first stubborn 5-10 pounds. What little things can you change right now that will help you lose 5 pounds? Then what can you add to that to lose another 5 pounds? Sometimes it’s as easy as adding a walk each day to your routine, or cutting out a sugary drink you don’t need. Little victories add to big success.
What I got out of listening to Jordan Peterson was that his statement “Aim Low” was not telling people to not have lofty goals or high expectations of themselves. Rather that they should have those goals, but that shouldn’t be where their current aim is. Aim low still means you are aiming up which is so important I feel like I need to write that again. Aiming Low still means AIMING UP. What Jordan was saying is something we have all heard many times before. Success in your short-term goals will lead to success in your long-term goals.
For me personally, I have recently been training to make the Team USA Bobsled roster and possibly the Olympics for that in 2022. For me, aiming low meant just focusing on being the best I could be for the tryout, and not thinking about being the best for 2022. Leading up to the tryout many people would make comments about how cool it would be to be an Olympian and my response was “I need to make the team first”. It wasn’t that I didn’t have confidence in myself because I definitely do. It was that I knew that end goal couldn’t be achieved without keeping my aim low and focusing on crushing the first step of crushing the tryouts. Remember, aiming low still means you are aiming up.
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