Goal-Setting Lessons Gleaned in 26.2 Miles

The month of January is half over which means New Year’s Resolutions could be teetering already. We are often too general and “big-thinking” when we decide on a New Year’s Resolution, and so here are a few lessons I learned as I trained for my marathon (and I had many miles to think about this for sure!)

1. Seek Sound Advice- Since I had never trained for a marathon, and my sister-in-law had, I leaned on her to find our training guide. She went back to her first-time training book by Hal Higdon, and we chose his intermediate training schedule from his book. Seeking an expert’s (or a “seasoned” friend’s) advice equips you for the road ahead.

2. Set Incremental Goals- Set smaller goals to reach the Big One. Our training didn’t have us completing 10 mile runs by week 2, and saying “I will lose 20 pounds.” is a much larger and far-off goal than breaking it up into 5 lb increments. When we did our first 20-mile route, we made a quick potty break at mile 5. I remember thinking, “That first 5 was easy, and I can do that just 3 more times.” The mental aspect of running a marathon is just as important as the physical, and this is true in all areas of our lives. So when it comes to losing that 20 pounds, how about changing some eating habits,  getting out and moving more than you have, and when you reach that first 5 pounds lost, you can say, “That wasn’t so bad. I could be down another 5 in just one more month of this new lifestyle!” Small steps will lead to success.

3. Find a “Partner-in-Crime”- It always helps to have someone hold you accountable as you strive to reach a goal, so if there is someone to “walk” alongside you in your journey, seize them! For:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecc. 4:9-10

4. Reward yourself – Give yourself a pat on the back when you reach those incremental goals! Trying to lose weight? Buy yourself a new workout outfit like I did for my girls for sticking with their exercise commitment. Trying to get your finances in order? Take an hour of your time and simply read your favorite book or walk your favorite spot. You’ve earned it!


4. Prayer- For me, my New Year’s Resolution this year was a word: BREATHE. This is a reminder for me to do two things:

  1. To Breathe in God – I need to take more time to focus on God, to hear His voice, to breathe Him in so I can lose more of myself.
  2. To Breathe out Stress- A busy, noisy household can often get the best of me. I am taking more time to breathe out (really and truly- and counting when needed!) the stress around me, and to take in more of the joy my family brings me.

But my goal to breathe, or your goal to make better choices in whatever area can only be a true success when we pray and seek God. For with God, all things are possible!