Small Goals Towards Big Dreams


But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

– 2 Chronicles 15:7

Reading Daniel Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, I found myself identifying with one finding of his research. Pink discovered that people who are in the last year of a decade, such as 29, 39, 49, 59, or 69 years of age, have an increased rate of attempting challenging goals, such as running their first marathon.

Today, I turn one of those 9’s, and strangely enough, I feel the pressure to set a gigantic goal for the next 365 days. I promise you I won’t be running a marathon. Been there, done that, and happy to have thrown in the towel many years ago. But from running The New York City and Vermont City Marathons (in my 20’s and 30’s), I better understand how we achieve a goal that at first appears impossible: set smaller goals that eventually lead to a bigger end result.

I’ll never forget the day I ran 10 miles for the first time. As I rounded the final corner to home, I heard my husband holler a joyous congratulations. Beaming, I remember thinking to myself, “If I can run 10 miles, then I can definitely finish a half marathon. I’m halfway there!”

No matter your age, I believe God wants you to press on in your faith and set small spiritual goals that eventually lead to huge change in your life. Here are two examples of people who set small goals that led to significant change.

  • Mary set her alarm to go off 30 minutes before the kids woke up. She chose to spend her first moments of the day with God in prayer. At lunchtime when her kids are fighting, her first response is to pray to God for guidance and peace. The kids wonder why moms not yelling at them like she usually does.

  • Dave decides to listen to praise music instead of talk radio in the morning on his way to work. A familiar homeless man catches Dave’s eye. Instead of being annoyed by the man’s interruption, Dave rolls down his window and offers his banana. To Dave’s surprise, the homeless man looks intently into his eyes and says, “What you do for the least of these, you do for Jesus.” How could the man have known those lyrics had just been sung?

So what small goal can you set for yourself this week? Think about one step of faith God might be prompting you to take. Write it down so you remember. This simple act increases your chances of accomplishing it. Then grab your calendar and carve out time to work on your goal. Tell someone who cares about you what you’ve set your mind to complete. Ask God to strengthen you and help you reach your goal. When you achieve it, celebrate and stretch towards the next one. In a short time, you’ll start to see big differences in your life. All by taking small steps of faith.

The Power of Giving God Thanks Will Ignite Your Faith and Change Your World

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