Big Goals in Small Steps

August 5, 2018

Janice Stone

Do you ever set goals that are so big you doubt that you will ever accomplish it? Or do you give up too quickly because you see the end goal as impossible?

When I started running it was just for fun and exercise. I had no intention of running long distances or trying to beat my time. I started running with a friend when I was around sixteen and continue for ... well, let's just say many years and leave it at that! I didn't even realize what a marathon was.

I was on holidays in San Diego (beautiful place to travel to - I highly recommend it!) and went out for one of my short morning run/walk. Let's be real, my running was not all running. My run took me around an outdoor mall that was surrounded by main roads and as I got closer to the mall I could hear lots of noise and cheering. Being the curious person that I am, I made my way towards the noise and realized that it was a cheering section at one of the many water stations for the marathon runners. Over 18,000 people were running that day, in almost every age. I really enjoyed watching the runners run through a large spray from a water hose, pick up their water and Gatorade paper cups handed to them by many volunteers, and then toss the cups on the roads as they continued on. I mean, if you are running 42 kms then why would you want to slow down and throw the cups in the garbage, especially when there are many volunteers more than happy to clean up after you. The enthusiasm of the crowds cheering everyone on was contagious. There were families with signs for their wives, Moms, husbands, and friends cheering on friends. Then there were some like me, who were just frozen in interest as I watched thousands of runners push past their discomfort and continue on the race. My observation spot was about half way through the run so it was beginning to show on many runners.

I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to observe such a motivating accomplishment that the participants had worked months, even years to reach.

When I returned home I had a gentleman I did not know comment to me on my weight as I was shopping. (Hint: never ever ask someone when they are due unless you postively know they are pregnant!) I was so discouraged but quickly turned that discouragement into determination that I was going to return to San Diego and run that full marathon myself!! My first step was to tell a friend of mine what my plan was. She was also a runner and told me that we could run a 10k that fall (2 months later) and maybe get some people to join us. I quickly told her she was crazy and there was no way I could run a 10k race in 2 months! She just as quickly responded, "let's just go out and see how far we can go". So day by day we ran, setting weekly schedules and goals towards running that 10k race. Soon other friends joined in and we had a running group.

What I found was, when others are waiting for you at a specific spot early in the morning, I could get up earlier than usual. And guess what? That group of ladies and I not only ran that 10k race 2 months later, but we ran a half marathon!! I learned that if you want to run a long race, you break it down into smaller runs, and through consistency and small goals you reach a pretty fantastic goal that you never thought possible.

So go ahead and set some life changing goals! Then take some time and break those goals down in small steps that you can take on a consistent basis. Tell others what your goals are and find some people who can join you. When you reach that bigger than life goal you will feel such a sense of accomplishment. When I watch the marathons on tv, such as at the Olympics, I get very teary as I watch them approach the finish line because I can feel that sense of accomplishment.

I didn't just run that 10k race that fall, but I ran my first marathon the next spring and have run many short runs, numerous 10k and half marathons and two full marathons. I went back to San Diego and I finished that full marathon that motivated me in the first place to start putting big goals in small steps to my running. It changed my running from just running for no specific purpose except music in my ears and exercise, to a purposeful and intentional goal to accomplish.

Join me and set some huge goals for yourself! Then tell someone, join others, and break down your huge goal to small steps that you can take week by week, day by day. You'll be so glad you did!!