Select Page

3 Minutes that Can Change Everything

Ten years ago, I had the crazy idea to run a half marathon. My very first half marathon.

Never mind that I was currently incapable of walking to the kitchen without heavy breathing. Never mind that not once in my entire life had I even come close to running 13.anything miles. Never mind that I was very pregnant with my third child and in no condition to…move. Forget about running, right?

Maybe not.

It was absurd, but I decided then and there to start training. Can you picture it? The “Eye of the Tiger” started playing in the background. The resolve settled in my face. I immediately started doing squats, chugging raw eggs and planning my mileage for the week.

Yeah, except it didn’t actually happen like that.

The truth?

I started my half marathon training by choosing to get up and walk to get my OWN ice cream from the fridge instead of pulling my pregnant wife card and asking my husband.

Impressive! Inspiring!

The next day? I upgraded my training and walked around the block. Once. It was a whopping 400 meters. Only about 20,000 shy of a half marathon.

Ridiculous, right?

I had a looooong way to go, but I made simple changes like those day after day. One unimpressive step after another. A year later I ran my first half marathon.

I wake people up early for a living. No, I’m not a drill sergeant or a garbage truck driver or the neighborhood Harley Davidson owner who works the early shift.

I’m a writer.

I write about the power of a morning routine and how waking up even three minutes earlier can be life changing. Yes, just three minutes. It’s hard to believe, I know.

So many people I meet would LOVE to have a meaningful morning routine, but the change just feels too hard.

May I humbly submit that, it’s not? Or at least it doesn’t have to be. After helping thousands of women, I’ve learned that the biggest obstacle to personal growth isn’t how hard it IS but how hard we MAKE it.

If I had done a web search for “half marathon training” I would likely have been overwhelmed and thought it was an impossible goal for me. But instead as Teddy Roosevelt often quoted (and I’m slightly paraphrasing here), “I did what I could with what I had where I was at.”

Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do – run a half marathon – I focused on what I could do – get my own ice cream.

When I help people transform their mornings we don’t focus on waking up hours earlier or complex prayer times or fitness routines.

We start simple. Three minutes.

It seems that three minutes couldn’t change anything, but neither did walking to the kitchen to get my ice cream.

Never despise small beginnings.

We think that to run the race we need to suffer in the preparation. We think we need to go big or go home. The problem is that if we actually START by “going big or going home” we really do end up “going big” and then “going home” because we burn out.

Change can be so much simpler than we believe it to be. If we are willing to take one small ridiculous simple step after another. If we acknowledge setbacks but keep on with our small ridiculous simple steps.

If we…just, keep, going.

Before we know it we’ll we’ll have run a marathon or gotten that degree or restored that relationship or lost that weight or transformed life long patterns.

This wisdom isn’t new. Aristotle nailed it in the story of the tortoise and the hare. We all want to be the hare. We want to look fast and feel fast as we move toward change, but sure things are usually unimpressive, slow and steady.

What is it you want to see change in your life? What small, ridiculous, simple step can you take today? Seriously. I want you to write down that one step right now. Put a reminder in your phone. Start today.

And Just. Keep. Going.

For more motivation from Kat, check out her book, Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine.

p.s. – A Japanese word that makes all the difference.

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Hanna

    Yes – the best way to make a change, I’ve learned, is to start with one thing at a time. Many of us fail because we try to take it on all at once and get overwhelmed. It’s the same with running. When I decided I wanted to run a half marathon as someone who hadn’t ever been a runner, I started by simply going out for 15-20 minutes to jog without stopping and very gradually built from there – 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 2 miles, 2.5 miles, 3 miles….I didn’t worry about speed work or weekly mileage, I just took one small step a time. 4 years later I’ve now run 4 full marathons and 15 halves. What was once impossible is now normal. That’s how change gets made – our bodies and minds gradually adapting to one small step at a time!

    • Kat Lee

      Yes! I love that, Hanna. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Seana Turner

    I love this post, because it makes all things seem possible. 3 minutes, every day, adds up. My daughter and I were just talking about the power of things we do every day. Those are the ones that add up to real change. Of course, we can only alter our own choices, but that is enough! I’m never running a half marathon (because I hate running), but I could do something else. Be willing to dream, and then think about what that first tiny step might be.

    • Kat Lee

      Exactly! I love that you had that conversation with your daughter.

  3. Golden Life

    You are absolutely right, that the one small step is essential to make any change in life. Recently I was reading a scientific report about changes in personalities over time, and it was said that in fact, the real change is caused by small events. Small events which in effect cause an avalanche of processes in our minds. I like your style of writing, it’s very straightforward. ✌️

    • Kat Lee

      Well, there’s my new favorite poem. Thank you for posting that.

  4. J

    Good morning sunshine 🙂 I stumbled upon this last night when I was looking for something else. But it was meant to be. I want to spend more time with God. I want to get up earlier. But when the alarm goes off an hour earlier – it just doesn’t happen. Now I’ve set my alarm for 3 minutes earlier and I’ll build on it from there 🙂 Many thanks!

  5. Holly

    This is such an inspiring post. Recently I have been trying to get up earlier & get the things that I have to do out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of the day & it is really starting to pay off. I’d love to be able to run even 5k and this has given me the confidence to give it a go, thank you!

    Holly from | The Art of Being Holly

  6. Sarah

    This is all so true! We’re always told to set goals (which is good) but sometimes we forget to take action or get distracted by other things. Deep down we all need take those 3 minutes, get uncomfortable and push forward 🙂

  7. Karyn

    Thank you for being so real. Getting your own ice cream as the start of marathon training. LOVE!

Join thousands of readers
& get Tsh’s free weekly email called
5 Quick Things,

where she shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)

It's part of Tsh's popular newsletter called Books & Crannies, where she shares thoughts about the intersection of stories & travel, work & play, faith & questions, and more.