Think Small (Lessons from my marathon pt. 3)

Ever set a BIG goal?  If you are like me, you tend to choose HUGE goals that seem to overwhelm you.  Our tendency is to become emotionally overwhelmed by the audacity of the goal – sometimes resulting in abandoning the goal because “it is just too big.”

I was determined not to allow this to happen to me during my marathon training.  Keep in mind, I was trying to go from NOT running at all to running a marathon (26.2 miles) in only 6 months.  That’s pretty audacious!  So, I took an approach that translates very well into just about ANY goal.  Hopefully, you can use this method the next time you take on a massive goal!


I took my massive goal and broke it up into many small parts (smaller, achievable goals that led to the BIG goal).  I decided I would FIRST try to run a 5K.  So, I did the “Couch to 5K” training app.  It added just a little bit of distance every run.  I ran in my first 5K race at the end of that 8 weeks.  Then, I did a half marathon training, again adding a little bit of distance each time.  Ultimately, shifted into the full marathon training.

Even as I ran, I set small goals.  “OK, I am running to the end of the block.”  When I reached the end of the block, I said to myself, “OK, I running to that light pole up the road.”  When I reached the light pole, I picked another object up the road that was my “goal.”

Ultimately, I didn’t achieve ONE GIANT GOAL of running a marathon.  In reality, I achieved hundreds of mini goals.

You can take this approach in just about any area of your life:  reading, health, prayer, writing, Bible study, etc.  Simply begin to question what specific actions you need to take in order to achieve the long-term goal.  These specific actions will become your “mini goals,” which will make your ultimate goal measurable and achievable in the long-term.  (i.e. don’t decide to “write a novel”, make a decision to “write one page per day”)

As you begin to complete each action or “mini goal” on the journey towards your ultimate BIG goal, you will start to feel a sense of self-control that you may not have had before. It’s amazing how being able to check off a smaller target on your list will act as a positive reinforcement, which will in turn boost your self-esteem and encourage you to keep going!!!

So, what BIG goal have you avoided because it was just TOO BIG?  Try working backwards.  Write down the BIG GOAL, break it up into smaller goals (steps), and start working on STEP ONE.

Time to share.  What BIG goal have you put off?  What is ONE step you think you can do to get you moving in that direction?  Share in the comments section.  Let’s motivate each other!!

Related Posts:

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 1

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 2

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 4

Lesson From My Marathon Pt. 5

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2 thoughts on “Think Small (Lessons from my marathon pt. 3)

  1. Great post!! Really encouraging as I prepare for my 5k , and begin to raise money to expand our children’s church and start a bus ministry!!

  2. Way to go!!! Thanks for sharing!!! We serve a BIG God who loves us and has placed in us more than we realize most of the time! Great wisdom!

    Here’s a very simple thought – How do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time!

    You can stare at how big it is and then NOT eat it because you convince yourself you can’t eat all that.

    You can rush ahead and try to consume it ALL at one time only to discover you are miserable and the dent you made in the elephant is tiny so you stop.

    or you can take it one bite at a time! With steady eating of small bites you will eventually get the entire elephant consumed!

    Faith and patience inherit the promise!