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Hitting Singles

Can the old “How-to-Eat-an-Elephant” adage be applied to achieving your goals? The answer is “absolutely yes“. The elephant adage advises one bite at a time. To reach your goals, I suggest that you focus on hitting singles.

What do all great home run hitters have in common? They strike out a lot! That’s what happens when you swing for the fences every time you step up to the plate. The analogy that I like to draw is that your goals are like scoring a run in baseball. One way to score in baseball is to hit a home run. Another strategy is called “small ball” whereby you do whatever you can to get on base and focus on moving the runner ahead of you around the bases. This includes walking, bunting, hitting a single or a double, stealing a base, getting hit by a pitch or focusing on making contact.

Some of the greatest hitters in Major League Baseball history hit less than 200 career home runs.

  • Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, had over 14,000 at-bats, 4,256 hits and only 160 home runs.
  • Tony Gwynn, #17 on the all-time hit list, had over 9,200 at-bats, 3,141 hits and only 135 home runs.
  • Rod Carew, #21 on the all-time hit list, had 9,315 at-bats, 3,053 hits BUT only 92 home runs.

The idea I want to convey to you is that one of the secrets to attaining your goals is to start with the end in mind, create a plan to step-by-step, day-by-day, make progress toward the goal and then execute the plan by focusing on hitting singles day in and day out (one bite at a time).

Too many of us keep our focus only on the achievement of the ultimate goal. I want to caution you not to fall into this trap. Try to celebrate your progress (your singles) along the way to your goal. Below are some examples:

  • If your goal is to run a marathon – celebrate your progress training.
  • If you want to pay off debt – celebrate the dwindling balances and interest payments.
  • Starting a business? Celebrate each step along the journey to get the venture off the ground.
  • Going on vacation? Celebrate the countdown until you go.
  • Trying to lose weight? Celebrate each lost pound.

Try hitting singles. Let me know how it works out for you.

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