Slow And Steady Wins The Race: The 20 Mile March

The 20 Mile March Concept

The concept of the 20 mile march is one that has been around for a while. It is based on the 1911 trek to the South Pole by two explorers, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott.


It uses the methods used by these two explorers in preparing for their trek to demonstrate how goals are accomplished by taking small regular steps rather than big inconsistent steps.

Journey Preparation

In preparing for the journey to the South Pole, Roald Amundsen spent a long time getting himself ready and planning for the trip.


He immersed himself in the environment by living with Eskimos to get accustomed to the temperatures. He was able to learn how the human body reacts in extreme cold, what to include in his groups' diet, how to travel and how to stay warm.


His immersion in the environment also increased his understanding of the terrain he would be travelling in.


Robert Falcon Scott, on the other hand, did not immerse himself in the environment; did not plan for unforeseen circumstances and while on the journey, decided to take advantage of the good days to catch up or get ahead of his schedule.


Roald Amundsen planned to travel only a set number of miles a day and no more. This gave his team time to re energise for the following days trek.

What The 20 Mile March Concept Teaches

The concept of the 20 mile march teaches so many things: From being patient; to planning properly; to submerging yourself in your new environment.


Most important of all of the concepts, the one that resonates the most is that by doing a little bit at a time, goals get accomplished.

Following The 20 Mile March Concept

Before hearing about this concept, I always tried to get ahead of my to do list in an effort to finish sooner. Similar to Robert Falcon Scotts approach.


This was because I was under the impression you had to complete whatever goals you set yourself within the time period allocated. So after the first week of following the principle, I made significant progress but was not able to complete my tasks effectively the following week because I did not stop when I was supposed to.


I fell into the trap of doing that little bit extra because I could. My thinking was I would be able to get ahead of my list if I just did one thing extra. Needless to say, I fell behind on my to do list.


After a little re-evaluation, I set about on the 20 mile march again. This time doing no more than I had set out to do. If it got completed, that was fantastic, if it didn’t then I would carry on with it the following day, having had time to rest and re-energise myself.


I started with the end in mind, by knowing what I wanted to achieve and then laid out the steps to achieve the goal within a specified time period. This was done before starting on any task or goal.


What I Wanted To Achieve

What I wanted to achieve was not necessarily big life changing goals, although I do have a few of those.


For the main part, they were all little goals like:


  • Watch a series of videos on how to run Facebook ads
  • Send out individually tailored emails to a list of people
  • Create an annual priorities plan of action for my business
  • Create new classes


Regardless of what it was, I was trying to achieve, when I accomplished it, I had to stop, celebrate and check how I was progressing according to my schedule.


If I got behind, then I would adjust the plan to get back on schedule, taking care to spread tasks evenly. If I was ahead of schedule, I would enjoy the time I had before starting on the new goal.


This doesn’t mean I do not think about the next goal or come up with new goals I need to achieve. What I try and do with these ideas is either write them down immediately or acknowledge them and tell myself to bring it back up when I am working on that goal.

Final Thoughts

Does the 20 mile march method work?

Yes, it does.


Is it challenging to adhere to the 20 mile march concept when you are making good progress?

Yes, it is.


Is it better to follow the 20 mile march rather than work flat out and suffer from burnout?

Without a doubt.


Do I religiously follow the 20 mile march concept to complete my goals and tasks?

Absolutely not.


It is a work in progress though.


Links on this post may be affiliate links, which will provide me with a small commission if you make a purchase using my link. Images were created using Visme.

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