Back in 1953, two intrepid climbers reached the top of the world for the first time. After a gruelling climb, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing got to the summit of Mount Everest.
These days, hundreds climb Everest every year, with extraordinary newspaper photographs showing traffic jams of people awaiting their turn to get to the top. I’m sure it’s still a remarkable achievement for those who make it (however, although the numbers have increased dramatically, the danger hasn’t diminished – and many sadly don’t) but one can’t help but feel that what began in the 1950s as a bold expedition has become rather more routine.
Pioneering or not though, you’d have a clear goal in mind if you set out to conquer a peak, and goals can be good things. They give you purpose. They help to define your life. They equip you with something tangible to focus on.
Setting goals is all well and good when your spirits are high, but if you’re heading through a bad patch, it will probably be far harder.
With a low mood, there’s a tendency to take a pessimistic view of the world, believing (possibly correctly) that you’re capable of achieving little. Belief drives activity, or in this case, inactivity.
But even tiny goals can help.
Clearly you’re not going to climb mountains when you’re feeling dejected, but even a messy kitchen can seem like Everest in such circumstances.
So what do you do? The answer is probably to break a big task into much smaller bite-sized chunks. Rather than expecting yourself to knuckle down to get the whole kitchen spick and span, it could be sensible to promise yourself that you’ll spend no longer than ten minutes doing (some of) the dishes.
Even a small achievement such as this can help you feel better, leaving you better equipped to tackle another ten minutes a little further down the line.
Goals are goals, big or small.