Breath by Breath Your Daily Choices Shape the Transformation of Your Life

Understanding the Pace of Big Goals

Mary Clymer
6 min readJan 9, 2024

Comparison is a funny thing. As I was writing out a list of goals for myself this year I added read twenty books to the list. In my mind, this feels completely doable, but in reality, I only read about 5–6 books a year currently, and the only reason I have 20 in my head is because that’s what one of my super-motivated friends shared on his list. In reality, setting a goal of reading 8 books this year is more reasonable for me. It feels so insignificant, not even worth writing down, and not shareworthy, even though that would be a win for me.

I realized I was comparing myself to someone else in a way that made absolutely no sense! And we do this all the time.

So, if you’re scrolling highlight reels on Instagram and feeling behind or insignificant in your own journey, perhaps it’s time to stop pressuring yourself! Goals are about bringing out the best in yourself, and not about feeling pressure to live up to others’ standards.

Progress takes time

Transformation is a slow burn that takes small daily actions. How often do we see others’ success as luck? Forgetting that they too decide daily what choices to make that have moved them along in a series of small steps that don’t make the yearly highlight reels.

In a world of instant gratification, we forget that big goals take time. And the secret to your success might be in setting smaller, more achievable goals.

Like 8 books for example. If I kept it at 20 I would probably give up in August when I have only completed 6. I’d shame myself and fall into my unhealthy pattern of calling myself lazy, and dumb. When in reality, 6 is about what I read, so it’s incredible! A smaller goal with a BIG impact.

The key is not to compare and set very realistic and doable goals.

Confidence is built by accomplishing small goals often. As you begin to see small improvements your confidence grows, your clarity expands, and your energy skyrockets! This is how you attract more opportunity and success into your life.

When working on setting smaller goals, I like to keep three things in mind.

  1. Go Small and Go Home!

You have big visions for your life and that’s amazing. You should aspire to dream big and keep reaching for the stars. The problem comes when you set goals that don’t include realistic steps to achieving them. We often treat goals more like dreams, and that’s exactly what they are if you don’t put action steps behind them.

Have you ever been to a gym in January? It’s packed with people with dreams of getting into shape. Most of them bought a month’s membership to try it out, and after a month when they don’t see the results or are exhausted because they tried to do all the things, they leave.

They haven’t embraced the go small and go home attitude.

I’m talking about small consistent steps in the direction you want to move. I know, it’s not sexy at all, but It’s why so many of us struggle to make change.

Take time to switch your focus. Have the grand vision, but have actionable steps, and focus on those. To lose 30 pounds in a year is a grand vision, to lose 2–3 pounds a month by eating healthy and walking 4 times a week for an hour are the actionable steps.

By adopting this mindset, you are less likely to give up when overwhelmed by the big picture. Remember those who are most satisfied with their life don’t compare their journey to others so can focus more on the actionable steps they set for themselves.

2. Offer Yourself Some Grace

Life is full of ups, downs, and unexpected twists and turns. It’s easy to fall off track. You might be crushing your goals this month, but then health issues or a family vacation throw you off the next month.

It’s ok.

We tend to berate ourselves when this happens or worse, stop altogether because of one bump in the road. Instead of beating yourself up, maybe simply offer yourself some grace. By doing this small mental head-check you acknowledge that you slipped up, but recognize that you can get up and start again.

When in the pursuit of any goal, big or small grace is crucial because it allows you to maintain a healthy perspective.

Resilience is built through setbacks. Offering yourself grace and some self-compassion helps you to bounce back quickly so you can sustain your progress at that nice slow steady pace.

In essence, offering yourself grace is about finding a balance between striving for your goals and understanding that it’s okay to stumble along the way. It’s recognizing your humanity and accepting that perfection isn’t necessary for progress or success.

3. Take Time to Breathe

We learn and grow from our mistakes and this presents us with an opportunity to become more self-aware. When you take time to breathe and reflect on the challenges set before you you are offering yourself time to reflect instead of react to those challenges. This encourages a deeper understanding of oneself and offers insights into patterns and mindsets that might have previously been holding you back.

Overcoming the stories we tell ourselves is possible when you slow down and breathe through the challenging situations that make you feel uncomfortable.

As you develop a relationship with your breath you begin to see it as a powerful tool that can help you go deeper into your programming and begin to see pathways, potential, and innate knowledge that help guide you through discomfort.

By exploring the principles behind different breathing methods you learn to regulate your nervous system and those emotions that often control our decisions making. It can be very therapeutic. With more ease and practice you will find yourself uncovering hidden potential within you by grasping a deeper understanding of your habits and the underlying issues behind them.

Big goals take time. As you walk the path to these goals, baby steps in place, you have time to slow down and breathe. It beats worry, panic, and uncertainty. And you just might discover something new about yourself along the way.

Embarking on a Journey!

Because achieving big goals often takes persistence, time, and dedication, you shouldn’t expect to get there overnight. Think of it more like embarking on a journey. This way as you make progress you can celebrate the effort and work instead of feeling like you haven’t done enough.

Just like any grant journey, it should feel exciting and inspiring, but it takes a series of small steps to hit those milestones.

As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, says…

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Manageable tasks make big goals more achievable while keeping motivation high. Don’t diminish the significance of small slow daily actions shaping your life.

The journey is where the fun is. The process of working towards something meaningful is often more valuable than reaching the goal itself. Every step invites new information that allows your desired outcome to draw closer to you.

Stay patient, stay present, and celebrate the progress, no matter how small. And be sure to not compare your growth to someone else's journey that you know little about. You are on track and you will, with work and persistence, keep moving forward. One breath at a time.



Mary Clymer

Breathwork Coach, Pulmonaut Explorer, & Content Creator. Taking it one breath at a time. Join me at