The Power of Small Stuff — or How I Hit My 2020 Fitness Goal Two Months Early

Kelley C. Long
5 min readNov 2, 2020
Image credit: author; Olympic National Park

Looking back at my journal entries from this time last year, I was sick. I felt physically limited, weak, stiff and was worried about my longevity. I knew I needed a change, but I also knew from experience that jumping into a new lifestyle was not a sustainable way to address the issue of my physical vitality. I needed a lifestyle overhaul, but it had to happen slowly. And going on a restrictive food diet was NOT going to be the answer. (for more on that, I encourage you to read this book)

Setting an achievable goal

I’m definitely what you might call a “goal getter.” I thrive on checking things off lists and following plans and having concrete next steps, so I wanted to use this to my advantage. I’ve run two marathons, not because I’m much of a runner, but because there was a plan — you run this many miles on these days, and eventually you can do 26.2 in one day, and I did. This mindset can be limiting when you miss the present day because you’re always focused on the next thing, but my ability to focus on the endgame is a strength to play to in many areas of life.

The key is making sure the goals you set are actually possible. I wasn’t totally sure what my aching, inflamed body was capable of, so I knew I needed to be vague on the “how” of my goal, but specific enough to have something to track.

Hacking myself

I also knew that I needed to leave myself room for not feeling like it — one way I’ve gotten off track on previous attempts at lifestyle changes was that I inevitably hit times when I just didn’t feel like working toward the goal. Sometimes it was hormones, sometimes it was illness or injury and other times I just didn’t feel like it or got burned out. I couldn’t make my lifestyle adjustment contingent on a plan that required 24/7 adherence or else I’d be starting from scratch, such as training for a triathlon or a restrictive eating plan — I had to leave room to move in and out of the process.

Kelley C. Long

CFP & CPA writing about money & how it fits into life based on my work with everyday people as a financial coach.