Is Your Goal Too Small? (Goal Series #2)

Susan Donnelly finishing her "too-small" goal, a 30-mile long run

Last week in Goal Series #1, I wrote about what to do when your goal's too big. 

This week it's the opposite - your goal's too small.

Opposite, but the end result is the same - you lose motivation. Maybe even quit.

But it doesn’t have to work this way.

Take my weekend run, for example. My big goal was to a) run (and walk) my first 30-mile run since mid-June, while b) keeping my injured sacroiliac joint in place. 

If I could do it, it'd be an exciting 10-mile jump from last weekend and a huge milestone on my way to full recovery.


This distance on these easy, gravel loops in town would normally be an average long run for me.

And it wasn’t even in the same universe as the gorgeous, epic ultramarathons friends were running in Minnesota, Colorado, and England.

Hm…not so exciting now.

So, try not to compare, right? Doesn’t work. Humans are hard-wired for survival to compare this-to-that. 

The conventional advice to “be grateful for what you can do”? Worked the first couple of times but eventually turned into guilt for wanting more and not being “grateful enough” for what I had.

What worked like a charm was to stop looking at differences between my goal and the big ones, and see the similarities instead.

Like, my 30 miles was going to be a challenge I wasn’t sure I could finish. Just like the races my friends were facing.

And once I started thinking about it, this was also ultramarathon distance, would take discipline and willpower (I ran loops in July heat by myself), would take hours of running outside in the woods, and would be a good test of my current ability. I’d probably even be stiff and sore afterward too. 

Suddenly, I was proud of my goal again. 

So if you’re going to compare your “too small” goal - with your former self, your ideal self, or someone else - be fair and compare the similarities too.

Big goals are great but small ones matter too.

Because every small goal we reach gets us one step closer to the big ones we're aiming for.

Signature favorite.png

PS - If you want to learn to change your thinking to work for you instead of against you, email me here to set up a free 30-minute mini-session to see how coaching can keep you out of self-sabotage and change your results for the better!

Susan DonnellyGoals