From the series Better Test Performance the Navy SEALs Way.
U.S. Navy SEALs wannabees are taught goal setting. Why? It helps more of them survive the grueling training and actually become SEALs.
If you’re like me, goal setting brings to mind thick-as-your-thigh Covey planners and pretentious self-help gurus. But if the SEALs are using it, you can bet there’s no namby-pamby lets-all-get-in-touch-with-our-inner-child two-day retreats going on. Pragmatic techniques that can be used when the world is on fire are what they’re looking for.
Goal setting on-the-fly functions like this; set your sights on an immediate, easily-reachable goal and then take one step after another until you get there. Then set a new goal. For a SEAL trainee, their internal dialogue might go something like this…
“Just gotta make it until lunch, then I can rest.” And after lunch, “Just gotta make it over the next hundred yards of beach.” and then, “Just gotta swim this last 200 yards.”
The entire day is broken up into a series of individually manageable steps.
You can do the same during finals to get through the mountains of work that can pile up. “Just gotta get through this next chapter.” “Just gotta finish the next page of this rough draft.” Or you can use it when test anxiety rears it’s ugly head. “Just gotta finish this next problem.”
This technique is deceptively simple, but it’s powerful and proven! It helps concentrate your efforts not on what you can’t do, but on what you can.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!