Making Small Adjustments to Reach Your Goals

Making Small Adjustments to Reach Your Goals

Making Small Adjustments to Reach Your Goals

Goal setting is not a new practice. In fact, we set goals in all areas of our lives.  Most of the time we reach our goals because of persistence and perseverance.  But what happens when we can’t achieve the goal we set?  Do we give up or start over? No, we make small adjustments to help us reach our goal.  

In 1974, I attended a NCAA Division 1 school on a baseball scholarship.  I was a pitcher, believe or not.  In fact, I had some success playing ball in high school, and I headed off to university thinking I was big stuff.  I was soon to discover that playing at the Division 1 level was a lot more challenging than playing in high school and that I would have to make a small adjustment to reach the goals I set for playing in college.

The first day we were out practicing, the first batter I faced hit my third pitch 410 feet over the centerfield wall.  That was a pro-level shot.  I immediately thought, “Toto, you are not in Kansas anymore!”   The pitching coach came to the mound after the hit and said that they were going to have to teach me a new pitch.  So, he taught me how to throw a “slider”.  I learned the grip for a slider and it dramatically helped me get people out at the plate.

So, I thought with this new pitch that I was ready for our first game.   I was put in to pitch at the beginning of the second inning.  I was just some freshman kid they’d spent a lot of money to get there, and the first three guys all hit shots on me.  The bases were loaded in 6-8 pitches.

I was feeling quite a bit of pressure at this point, when Coach walked out to the mound.  He didn’t say a word.  He just reached up, took my middle finger and moved it one eighth of an inch from the left side of the seam to the right side of the seam.  Then, without a word, he turned around and walked off.

I struck out the next three batters and got out of the inning. No one in the stands and no one on my bench including the head coach knew what he did when he made a small adjustment of my grip on the ball.

That one eighth of an inch adjustment made a dramatic difference in the effect I was able to have in that game and future games.  It’s amazing how such a small shift can drastically change the result of what we’re working on.


What kind of goals are you working on in your personal life?  Many of us have goals related to health and fitness. Others of us have goals related to personal development or specific family goals.  Whatever the goal is, when you reach a point where you are no longer able to achieve the goal and are about to give up and walk way, then it is time to make an 1/8 inch adjustment.  So, how do you make an 1/8 inch adjustment to help you reach your goals?

  • Change the size of your goal—If the goal is too BIG to accomplish, break it into smaller goals to help you get there.
  • Change the direction of your goal—If an obstacle arises, find a new way around the obstacle in order to reach your goal.

What goals have you set that need an 1/8 inch adjustment?  Can you change the size or the direction of the goal to help you accomplish it?

Billy Epperhart
Billy Epperhart
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