Mastering the Marathon: How Small Goals Fuel Big Progress

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When it comes to setting goals, you’ve probably heard all sorts. Tips and tricks to make your dreams come true. How to set the goals and how not to. I remember writing a few weeks ago about HARD goals. All very relevant.

Sure, they work. Many times anyway. But not for everyone. We set goals all the time, only to quit halfway. We lose track of why we initially set them and the motivation to continue.

Here’s what you’ll never hear: To eat an elephant, you need to start with a bite.

Big Goals Don’t Always Cut It!

About two weeks ago, I got to see a client who had multiple sclerosis about ten years ago. He suffered a setback recently, losing what little function he had left in his leg, so he needed assistance to get around.

The problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge of what to do; he was a medical doctor. It wasn’t even the finance. In his words, “I could not bring myself to do what I know needed to be done.”

In our discussion, I realized his major limitation was his motivation to continue his exercises. On a more critical level, I realized that the problem was with his goals – he just wanted to walk independently (and that’s understandable)

The goal was realistic. But it was too big for his current reality. So what did I do? I helped him set a smaller goal. A few days later, we set another small goal. So far, the same person who couldn’t keep up with motivation has found motivation again. What changed? The size of the goal.

The Power of Small Goals


The reasoning behind setting small goals is simple. You need momentum to keep going, and nothing builds momentum like the multiple wins you get when you set small goals.

Accomplishing a goal gives more satisfaction and is much better than just taking a step towards a bigger goal. The purpose of a smaller goal is not just to get you closer to your goal. It is to help you believe you can achieve any goal.

Often, bigger goals require more time. When you set a goal that will take longer to achieve, you’ll lose confidence and momentum. However, the wins that come with achieving small goals boost your confidence and grow your belief that you can do it. With confidence comes better action and then more progress and winning.

So here’s what you need to do. Look at that goal you set for yourself and ask what the barest minimum you can achieve is. That’s your small goal. Now focus on doing that and celebrate the win when you do. Compounding the small wins will get you to the bigger goal.

Does this help? Let me know.

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