12 Most Successful Ways to Take On a Huge Goal

12 Most Successful Ways to Take On a Huge Goal

I’m going to run a half marathon at the end of September. And when I started training in July, I could manage just about three of the 13 miles. But I put a plan in place. And I’m used to doing that with what seems like really big goals.

Here are my 12 top tips for making them happen.

1. Start with a grounded possibility

This isn’t intended to be a downer, just a reality check. Be open to possibilities and achievement, but make sure you have access — or can get access — to the tools and resources required. This sets you up for success.

2. Give yourself a realistic timeframe

Among the most important resources is time. If you have two weeks, you can aim to lose five pounds, not 100. Assessing an appropriate timeframe can help guide progress and make sure the goal isn’t too overwhelming.

3. Write down, and commit to, the goal

Once you set the goal, own it. Put it in writing and put it in a place you’ll see it regularly: your date book, bathroom mirror or computer screen, for instance.

4. Use affirmations

Tell yourself you can do this. Use strong, optimistic language. Support yourself and cheer yourself on.

5. Break the really big goal into mini-goals

My next goal for this half-marathon is not the 13 plus miles of the actual race. It’s five miles. That’s the goal I am focused on. I need to be able to run just two more miles at one stretch to meet that goal.

6. Don’t look past the next mini-goal

When I’m focused on a mini-goal, such as adding two miles to my running distance, I keep my eyes on that mini-goal. Anxiety can creep in if I let my mind sweep ahead to the finish line of the half marathon. Questions start invading my brain, like can I do that? It’s best just not to go there, I find.

7. Recognize progress

Even before I hit five miles, when it gets much easier to make 3.5 miles, for instance, I’m going to acknowledge that. And I’ll incorporate that progress into an affirmation, perhaps. Something such as: “You’re building your endurance and getting stronger.” Might seem crazy, but it works for me…

8. Reward gains along the way

When I get to my five mile mini-goal, I’m going to celebrate by buying a new running skirt. (Love the gear that SkirtSports has!) Little rewards along the way make meeting the mini-goals even more worthwhile.

9. Regard some setbacks as inevitable

Progress toward a goal is not a straight line. It rarely is, anyway. Miss some training days? Get slightly injured? It’s okay. Give yourself some slack when the progress is not all onward and upward.

10. Let slip ups strengthen your resolve

But, use them to re-connect with your focus and plan. After giving yourself a break, don’t let yourself give up. Rather, reaffirm the commitment and remind yourself of your progress and success, so far.

11. Enroll support

Tell people who will be totally in your corner — and only those people. No need to invite smirks or snide remarks from any doubters. You need people cheering for you who know you can make it. Hint: you might find great support online with others who are also tackling a big goal similar to yours.

12. Believe you can do it!

This sounds like it might be simple or, maybe not that important. But when I think of the really big goals I’ve made — which include running two marathons and also losing 65 pounds — just believing that I could was essential. I had to believe that no matter how big the goal seemed, I could get there.

These are my best tips for reaching a really big goal. Do you have others? I’d love to hear them!

Featured image courtesy of o palsson licensed via Creative Commons.

Becky Gaylord


Becky worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; and Cleveland, Ohio for major publications including the New York Times, Salon.com, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and was Associate Editor of the Plain Dealer's Editorial Page before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. The company helps clients improve their external relations and communication and increase their influence and impact. Becky blogs about that (a few other things) at Framing What Works.

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@PaulBiedermann Thanks Paul! A perfect repost for today.... ヅ cc: @12Most


@BeckyGaylord @RWAChickLit YW! Happy Weekend! : )



Perfect timing as I continue this semester with the goal of completing my dissertation. Wish me luck!


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Thanks for sharing, Megan! @IowaHawkeyeMeg @tamcdonald @12Most


@BeckyGaylord Thank you for the RT, it is appreciated. Bill


Thx Great post for Friday - @BeckyGaylord @12most : I use #2 #5 #7 #8 regularly when drawing out our scope for projects. Esp. Rewards .

PegFitzpatrick moderator

Wow >> I’m going to run a half marathon at the end of September! Go you!! My husband is training for a half marathon in October and it is hard work.

I love your steps for reaching a goal. Everyone wants a shortcut or fast pass to success, most things take time and planning. I wish I could come and cheer you on for you big run in September!


You totally rock, Paul and Peggy! Thanks for sharing and for doing so, so, so much for @12Most ; ) @PaulBiedermann @PegFitzpatrick


@thornybleeder lol, at first glance that look like huge goat. hahaha