Why micro-goals may just change your life

I read an article recently that talked about Micro-Resolutions and how instead of hoping for good intentions to work out, you could use these micro-goals to shrink down and reach big goals one at a time.  I love this.  I’m often setting enormous goals and excitedly thinking of how to break them down into smaller pieces – but I love the idea of starting with the smaller goal from the very beginning.

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I had to make many changes this year for my goals.  After a year of aggressive goals that failed, I needed to re-focus and make goals that would actually work and micro-goals have served me well.  Here’s what I learned:

Make your goals more manageable with your daily schedule.

Instead of a goal of run 5 miles per day, 5 days a week, I’ve changed my goal to get 10,000 steps per day (and walking counts). Why this micro-change mattered: To run 5 miles a day, I have to carve an hour out of my daily routine and have enough time afterwards to get presentable again.  With my current job, I can realistically do this 3 days a week, but not 5. And to make this goal happen, I was sacrificing my health to get more healthy.  Correct, it made no sense.  What I changed: Now, I work to get 10,000 steps in per day through walking.  Which means that walking to a colleagues office counts, walking home for lunch counts and walking for my errands counts.  It’s pretty easy to get steps in each day when I try to take more steps in every little activity I do.  I’ve upped my daily mileage and I’m not thinking about another appointment on my calendar. I encourage you to adjust a stressful goal into something that is more manageable with your schedule.

Try for one small accomplishment each day.

Instead of trying to manage a mega-cleaning list once per week, I’ve changed my goal to accomplish one chore per day.  Why this micro-change mattered:  I used to spend every Saturday morning before the guys woke up cleaning and puttering – and it was great.  But my new work schedule means that Saturday mornings are running and weightlifting class days.  And after that workout, I didn’t want to spend a day with chores.  What I changed: Now, I plan to do one thing in the morning before we leave the house or just after I come home from work. And by doing a small amount each day – I’m getting more done throughout the week and it doesn’t feel like a major chore.

Visualize success in each step of progress.

Instead of trying to complete a large, confusing project at once, I regularly carve out a little time to complete one thing.  Why this micro-change mattered: I have a lot of projects that take time to figure out what needs to be done, take time to get organized and take time to complete.  I don’t often have time for hours devoted to one thing and when I try to carve out that time, it gets overtaken with immediate needs.  What I changed: I schedule one night a week to work on these projects and try to accomplish 2-3 steps of projects (doesn’t have to be the same thing) each night.  Then I write down additional tasks needed to move toward completion.  The small goal makes me feel accomplished and writing it down, makes me more likely to understand then next step.  Plus, I have all week to figure out the best strategy to move forward next week.

I encourage you to try a new strategy.  This week, make a short list of things you’re trying to accomplish.  Nothing too long – think of about 3 goals.  And look at what you can do today to help make them a reality.  Make sure your list is realistic and focus only on the small changes to your daily life, instead of thinking of the major goal that might be overwhelming. Your micro-progress will make all the difference in your mega-goals.

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