When I met my husband, Mark, he was training for a triathlon.  I had never been a runner or a biker, but I did know how to swim and I taught aerobics (insert mental image of 90’s aerobic instructor).  So, I thought I would give it a go as well.  In triathlon, much like running, there are 4 common distances.  Sprint is the shortest, then there is an Olympic, a Half-Ironman and a full Ironman distance.

I would eventually end up doing all of the distances, but my first goal was to complete the sprint distance.   Again, swimming was no problem and running, well if I couldn’t run the whole thing, I could at least walk it, right?  But biking, that was another story.  Not only did I not know how to ride a bike, I really didn’t like it.  The bikes were uncomfortable, it was kind of boring, and my legs were not strong enough so it was really hard.  When something  is uncomfortable, boring and hard, it is hard to motivate yourself to do it.

But, if I wanted to do this triathlon deal, I had to be able to ride a bike at least 15 miles.

So……I made a really audacious goal.

Actually I didn’t.

An audacious goal was too much.  I wasn’t ready for an audacious goal.  15 miles, intimidated me.  I needed something small and doable.  I needed to know I could be successful at biking.

So…..I made a little goal, a teeny tiny goal.  A goal so small, it might seem that it was not even worth making.  Here it is:  Get on the bike, at the gym no less, and ride for 10 minutes twice a week.  10 measly minutes!   That’s it.  I mean you barely break a sweat in 10 minutes.  It’s almost not even worth doing.  But, honestly, that is all I could convince myself to do.

That is the important part right there.  I could convince myself to do 10 minutes.  I still didn’t like it.  It still wasn’t comfortable, but I could and would do it.  It wasn’t a big step, but it was a step in the right direction.  And I did it, week after week.  And then, I realized I was capable of more so I rode 15 minutes.  And then even more.  Eventually, I did that little triathlon and eventually, I was able to do an Ironman which requires you to ride 112 miles!


Mark and I after the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii


That little “not even worth doing” goal was the stepping stone to much bigger things.

Small, incremental changes are the key to big changes IF you are consistent, IF you persevere and IF you continue to grow.  (I first read about the importance of incremental change through a podcast by Michael Hyatt.  I would highly recommend visiting his blog and podcast)

While audacious goals are good and admirable, some times we need to give ourselves a break, a little mercy perhaps, and set goals that we will do versus goals that sound good or look good on paper.  You don’t need to be and you won’t be a totally new person on January 1st (or 2nd or 31st) of 2015.  That is not going to happen.  But if you do want to make some changes in your life, remember it is the little steps, day after day that lead to real, lasting change.

And remember, life isn’t just about working out.  If the rest of your life is a mess, it won’t matter how fit or healthy you are.  Make some doable goals for your spiritual life and your family or social life too.

What is one tiny goal you have made or could make today that will lead to lasting change?