How to split large goals into smaller targets

How to split large goals into smaller targets

The start of a new year is a great time to make goals for the coming 12 months. What do you want to achieve? Whether it’s to run a marathon or build your fitness from beginner status, we applaud anyone who sets goals and works towards them. 

It’s useful to know how to break your one large goal down into smaller targets. Big goals can take months or years to achieve, and most of us don’t have it in us to keep motivated for that long. So smaller, measurable goals along the way not only help us chip away at the bigger goal, but give us regular opportunities to celebrate successes. Just as you wouldn’t try to climb a huge flight of stairs by focusing only on the very top, you’ll need to take things step by step. 

Don’t know where to start? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small. Any positive action which supports your goal is great, so just settle on it and commit yourself to it.  A small step can be measured and managed, so it’s no big deal if it doesn’t work. You can go back and start again without too much time having passed. 

It’s important to define your goal clearly, so you know how to start, and how to finish. So you want to run a marathon. Which one? Do you want to run the whole thing, or would run/walk be a success for you? What time to you want to finish in (or do you just want to finish)? You get the picture. Write your very clear goal down where you can see it every day.

Then it’s time to break this one big goal down into smaller targets. For runners, this naturally comes in the form of a training plan, but you might also have weight loss targets, speed or pace targets or smaller races along the way. Or maybe you want to join a running club, and do their weekly speed or hill sessions. Make these goals clear and defined, too. So, if you want to join a running club, write down which month or week you’ll go along for the first time. If you want to run a 5k race as part of your marathon training, choose the race and write down a realistic and helpful goal time.

These smaller steps are easier to get your head around, quicker to put in place and all help you reach your larger goal.  Set out how you’ll achieve your first mini-goal. Write it down, and then underneath write down what you need to go. This could be: find two or three local running clubs, then find out when and where they meet, then put the dates in the diary, then go. Then, within two or four weeks, decide which you’re joining. Then join, then add their training sessions into your calendar.

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