The Trick to Reaching Your Goals


A new year is all about new goals, right? Or maybe it’s just about the same goals but in a new year. Once you set those goals — how do you reach them?  There’s lots of talk about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).

I think the secret to your goals is even easier: baby steps.


Take baby steps
You heard me: break your goal down into very small steps. Once you’ve done that, if you’re still having trouble working towards your goal, it just means your steps aren’t small enough. You need to break them down even more.

Getting to the starting line is just the final steps in many baby steps

Let’s break down a race goal
Of course you’ll train differently for a 5k than you would for a marathon, but the basic steps to carry you to your goal are the same:

  • Pick a race and register for it.
  • If your race involves travel, book those plane tickets and make the hotel reservations. Early. Earlier than you think you need to do. I like to make sure my hotel has a refrigerator and microwave for those early race morning breakfasts (and leftovers!).
  • Get fitted for the proper shoes.
  • Either hire a coach or find a training plan (online, in a magazine, in a book, make your own).
  • Figure out when you have to start training for the race. I like to add in a couple of extra weeks to my training plan — life happens.
  • Put all the workouts on your calendar. This could be a digital calendar or a physical calendar — or both! Share with training buddies or significant others so they know when you will be available (or unavailable).
  • Also put any big events you’re aware of during your training period on your calendar. Think about how that event will effect your training. Decide how you’ll juggle the event with your training.
  • Make sure to book support appointments in advance: massages, chiropractic, fitness trainer.
  • Will you need a fresh pair of running shoes before the race? When will you buy them? Don’t wait til the last minute only to find out they’re not available in your size!
  • Test out your shoe, clothing, accessories like fuel belts or hydration vests, nutrition (if necessary), and hydration choices on your long (or longer, if the race is a shorter distance) runs.
  • Test out your pre-and post run meals on your long runs. If you’re traveling, look to see if you’ll be able to get similar meals near where you’re staying. What will you do if there are no tried and true options for you at local restaurants? If you’re staying local and you want to eat at a particular restaurant, consider making a reservation for that pre-race meal.
  • As the race nears, decide on your goals: finish with a smile on your face, run with a friend, crush a PR, enjoy the views? It’s your race, but knowing what you want out of it going into it can help you have a good time.

There are so many decisions that can go into a race, especially if you’re traveling for that race. There are so many steps to training. It can seem overwhelming in the beginning. Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will make it seem more doable, less frightening.

Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will take out so much of the pre-race anxiety and get you to the starting line feeling prepared. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final thoughts: It works for all goals
Breaking a large goal into baby steps is the trick for reaching any goal: running, weight loss, career, getting stronger, getting more flexible. You name it and you can baby step your way to it.

Do you make goals and then never think about how to get to them? How does that make you feel?

What baby steps would you add to training for a race?

What are your goals — for 2020, for this month, this week? Please share!


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


28 thoughts on “The Trick to Reaching Your Goals

  1. Such a good list, Judy! When I started out with running, I think my biggest mistake was not having any training plan. I just went running and then registered for a marathon, without any clue of what kind of training that distance really needs. So your 4th point really speaks to me: find a coach or get a training plan.
    For 2020, I have registered for a few races – in fact, I have a 10k race coming up this Sunday! My first one in South Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I most definitely didn’t know what I was doing training for my first half. I thought I did, of course. I think the first time is just always difficult to figure out.

      Wow, you really hit the ground running! So excited to hear about your race experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would add flexibility. Things don’t always go as planned. Injuries. Weather. Etc. You always need a plan B.

    If you are a beginner, you probably do need to do all that you mentioned. Experienced runners most get lax. Or maybe it’s just me.

    As I’ve posted. I don’t do goals. But I am a planner. So there are things I’d like to do this year.

    De-clutter my house.
    Get rid of my foot pain.
    Be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Flexibility was mentioned in adding a few weeks to the plan, because yes, life happens!

      Getting rid of pain is a good thing, for sure. I’m doing a LOT of decluttering this year. It seems endless.


      1. Actually what I meant was flexibility in your Goals not in your training. In other words, you may have wanted to PR or finish at a certain time but things happen. Your goal may change to just finish with zero time goals.

        And yes, de-cluttering is endless.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very true! Breaking things that seem overwhelming into little steps really does help. I think that’s what I love about a good training plan. All I need to do is think about one week at a time and trust that the plan will get me there in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m pretty spontaneous, but I definitely need to do some planning to make all those last-minute things pan out.Since I do a lot of races, I always have to have a rough idea of when my long runs (for marathon training) will fit in….that’s always a fun challenge seeing how all the things come together.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good points here as always. My running plans are to enjoy and relax during my training to not do London Marathon, to run around the No 11 bus route in May, and once I’ve got my Canal Canter marathon out of the way, spend six months getting properly strong.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s