6 Tips to Set and Achieve Your Biggest Goals

An ultramarathoner gives advice on sticking it out when it's tough.
December 31, 2016

Scott Jurek is no stranger to conquering big goals. The 42-year-old ultramarathoner spent the last 22 years breaking myriad time, distance and endurance records. Most recently, he set the thru-hike speed record on the Appalachian Trail, hiking 2,189 miles (the entire trail) in 46 days. Now Jurek is focusing on a different types of endurance: raising his first child and writing his second book.

He offers these tips for anyone looking to set and accomplish big goals for 2017, such as losing weight or training for a marathon.

Related: 9 Ways to Achieve Your Biggest Goals—Quickly

1. Make it sustainable.

Your goal should be specific enough to motivate you but broad and stimulating enough for you to stay energized during the difficult points.

2. Don’t overshoot.

When creating your goals, create three levels: A, B and C. A is your biggest goal, so dream big. But be realistic with B and C; celebrate when you reach them. Ignore any inner monologue about settling for less. By hitting your C goal, you’re still accomplishing something you’ve never achieved.

3. Treat yourself.

Create an incentive program to reward yourself as you hit milestones.

4. Take a break.

Feeling stuck and unmotivated? Step away from your goals for a day. Go to a concert; hang out with friends who aren’t involved in that field; read a mystery novel. Switching your mind to another topic allows your brain to rest and refuel.

5. Stay confident.

Even ultramarathoners experience self-doubt. Instead of giving in to the negative voice in your head, recognize it, accept it and make a plan to drown it out.

6. Take baby steps.

Major goals can be overwhelming. It’s easy to look 50 miles ahead and wonder how you’re going to get there. Break those miles down into micro goals and make them as small as you need. Sometimes you’ll be able to focus only on putting one foot in front of the other, and that’s OK.

Related: The Most Enduring Man in the World


This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

You might like

3 Ways to Manage Your Perfectionist Tendencies

3 Ways to Manage Your Perfectionist Tendencies

Contrary to popular belief, perfectionists aren’t always winning marathons, heading the PTA and pitching new businesses.

August 14, 2017
You Are (as Powerful as) the World

You Are (as Powerful as) the World

Decades of research says you can literally be whoever you want to be.

August 10, 2017
How to Handle Haters

How to Handle Haters

Don’t let others get you down about your dreams.

August 9, 2017