How I Ran My Fastest Half Marathon at 41: 6 Steps to Accomplishing Outrageous Goals

It's happened to all of us.

January 1 - This goal is going to be awesome!
January 5 - Look at me. I'm awesome.
January 10 - This sucks.
January 20 - I suck. 

You set a goal to accomplish something important to you. 

A few days in you are feeling empowered. You are still living on the high from the work you did to set this goal that really matters to you.

But then it gets hard. And you doubt yourself.

Before you know it you have given up and feel like a failure.

I’ve been there, too. Plenty of times. I’ve set gigantic goals but gave up quickly when I found myself overwhelmed and without a direction. This is because I had the big picture in mind but didn't know how to tackle my goal in smaller chunks.

Setting goals but not breaking them down into bite size pieces is like trying to cook a gourmet meal without a recipe. Seldom does it not leave a bitter taste in your mouth. 

My current strategy for accomplishing my goals wasn't working. Not one little bit. Something had to give. 

In 2015, I set the goal to run my fastest half marathon. Talk about outrageous! I am a 41 year old full time business owner and momma of two busy boys. But this goal was hefty and mattered to me so it was time to make it happen. I set out to accomplish it using the strategy I am about to teach you. 

  This race was insane. When the race started it was raining and at mile 3 the winds came in with a vengeance. The winds brought in a cold front that dropped the temperature 20 degrees. By the end of the race it was cold but sunny.  I won't even try to describe the outrageous amount of hills this course provided. Yikes! 

This race was insane. When the race started it was raining and at mile 3 the winds came in with a vengeance. The winds brought in a cold front that dropped the temperature 20 degrees. By the end of the race it was cold but sunny. I won't even try to describe the outrageous amount of hills this course provided. Yikes! 

I must say, I felt strong, capable, and accomplished running across the finish line. I didn’t let the rain, winds, and obscene amount of hills stop me from pushing through to meet my goal. It wasn’t because I was more determined on that one day. It was the consistent, daily determination I showed over the several months leading up to the race that made all the difference.

Would you like to learn how to achieve your most outrageous goals, too?

First, let’s quickly chat about why breaking down our goals into small pieces is key to achieving massive success.

We Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

In order to move forward in the directions of our dreams and passions, we must set goals and take action. But we get overwhelmed because the goal seems out of reach.

Following these steps that I will outline in just a bit will take that overwhelm away and set you on a direct course to success. 

It Makes the Outrageous Goal Achievable

Setting goals and breaking them down into smaller steps that are doable makes the goal achievable. Stop looking at the big picture only, see that consistent actions will add up to the success you are after.

Our Confidence Soars

Do you ever feel like you just can’t get things done? Like you aren’t capable? Action breeds confidence. Set goals and take the actions that I am going to teach you and watch your confidence soar. 

In my last post in this goal setting series, I taught you how to set goals that matter that are centered around your one word for the year and how to make them measurable using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

Now we will learn how to break a goal down into bite size pieces. Get ready. This is where the magic happens.

1. Make a Plan

As soon as I signed up for the Shiner Half Marathon, I printed off my half marathon training schedule, reached for my calendar and plugged in tentative running dates and distances. Making a specific plan is crucial in accomplishing your goals.

  • Start with the final date of the goal. I turned my calendar to the month of November and marked off the day of the race. Writing it down is your first step in holding yourself accountable to reaching your goal.
  • Start working backwards. Now that I had the day scheduled and the deadline set, I worked my way backwards. I plugged in daily runs and long runs on the weekends with my accountability partner, Beth. Make a plan for each month, week, and even break your goal down by the day when necessary. 

2. Take Action

Here is where the rubber meets the road my friend. The key to accomplishing any goal you set is taking consistent actions that lead you to the success you are craving. 

Simply setting my goal and then plugging dates into my calendar wasn't going to get me across the finish line. Lacing up my running shoes and hitting the pavement was the action that would get me where I wanted to go. I had a deadline and the consistent actions I took is what ensured I crushed my goal.

Follow these simple steps to ensure that you are taking the necessary consistent actions to reach your goal:

  1. At the beginning of the month, ask yourself what will need to be accomplished by the end of the month to get you closer to your goal. Break it down into four weeks worth of tasks. Remember, consistency is the key to accomplishing any goal.
  2. At the beginning of your week (I like to do this on Sunday evenings to prepare for the upcoming week), schedule out what actions you need to take daily to get you closer to your goal. 

3. Reward Yourself Along the Way

An outrageous goal is just that. Outrageous. And can seem overwhelming. Not to mention that the length of time it will take to accomplish it seems so far out of reach that we can easily lose our motivation. Burn out can set in quickly.

This is why I like to reward myself along the way. During my training, I made it a point to treat myself after each long run. Sometimes it was a fun dinner out on the town with my hubby, and sometimes it was a new pair of running shorts or shoes.

Find what motivates you and don’t be afraid to treat yourself along the way to keep the energy and excitement up. 

4. Be Flexible

In a perfect world, each day, week, month will go exactly as planned and you will be right on track. We just don’t happen to live in a perfect world.

During my half marathon training, I dealt with weather issues and busy work schedules. I had to be flexible enough with my schedule to work around those issues that popped up.

Sometimes we have to throw the plan completely out the window for the day and readjust the next day. But the key is to not throw the entire plan out the window and give up at the first sign of resistance or inconvenience.

It is important to readjust quickly, make your goal a priority, be willing to say no to some other things and be flexible.

5. Celebrate Your Success

I did it! I ran my fastest half marathon ever at the age of 41.

I didn't let the crazy weather conditions or the hilly terrane stop me. I made it happen because I stuck to a consistent plan throughout my training period. I kept my goal as a priority and never lost sight of why I was working so hard. I was committed to proving to myself that with hard work, dedication, and consistency I could accomplish this outrageous goal I had set for myself. 

I celebrated my accomplishment with a celebratory dinner date and a rather large glass of wine with my hubby. 

Celebrate your success because you have earned it. Take some time to reflect on what you accomplished. Enjoy the moment. Be proud of yourself.

6. Choose Another Goal Quickly

This might not seem like the final step in accomplishing an outrageous goal but I believe in the power of momentum.

You know that saying that says when you fall of a horse, the best thing to do is get right back on? I believe that same idea applies to successful situations as well.

As soon as you accomplish one outrageous goal, set another one. You are on a roll. Don’t stop moving forward. Your accomplishments will get bigger and better each time you follow these steps and reach new heights. 

Setting a goal after having dropped the ball so many times before may not seem worth it. But you haven’t had these action steps before. 

Whether your goal is to reach a new level in your business, grow your relationship with your significant other or run your own best half marathon, you can do it with these steps.

Remember to start with your why. Make the time to truly understand why this goal is important to you. What will you gain by achieving it?

Choosing something that really drives your passion and gives you purpose will ensure your success. 

Be bold. Be brave. Take action. 

Check out my other posts in this goal setting series:
Post One: 50 Thought Provoking Questions to Help You Reflect on Your Past Year
Post Two: Discover the One Word That Will Change Your Life

Post Three: 4 Steps to Setting Goals That Matter