The Power of Setting Small Goals

2019 is almost coming to its end. How far have you gone with your goals?

It’s exciting to start something new and dedicate yourself to a goal at the beginning of the year. However, when the air of festivities slowly wears off, so as your interest to pursue that goal. Often, that 12-month goal you have set yourself into during the new year has somehow found itself down the drain halfway through the year. 

Setting the bar too high can easily discourage you and set you up for failure. 

The problem doesn’t usually lie with one’s personal determination to achieve something. The problem is, people often aim for big, long-term goals. Unfortunately, setting the bar too high can easily discourage you and set you up for failure. 

But don’t get it wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big. In fact, we are encouraged to aim high when it comes to our dreams. However, while dreaming big is not always a delusion of grandeur, knowing how to systematically break down your big goals into chunks of more feasible, easily achievable small goals is a necessary tool for success.

Start Small

One of the most powerful motivations to keep a person moving towards his goals is to get a few wins. 

Getting a few wins builds momentum — it gives you the drive to keep moving towards the direction of your goals. However, it would be quite challenging to get the momentum that you need if you set your standards too high.

Gaining momentum can build your confidence. On the other hand, if you set your standards too high, you may have trouble keeping up with its demands, and this can take a hit at your self-confidence.

The benefits of setting small goals

Since small goals tend to be so much easier to achieve, it is more prudent to set them more often. Here are some of the most common benefits of setting small goals instead of big ones:

  • You develop good habits. By setting small goals and getting a few wins, you develop good habits of keeping up with your plans and actually achieving something.
  • Small goals strengthen your belief. Setting small goals helps you build the skill of belief that you can actually achieve a goal, giving you the motivation that you need to keep you driven.
  • You can be more efficient. Small goals are usually more feasible to accomplish. This promotes more action from the goal-setter because human beings tend to work harder when we are closer to achieving our goals.
  • Small goals help you focus better. Big, long-term goals are often difficult to control and picture out because it’s easier to get distracted with what’s happening in your life right now. It is so much easier to focus on what you can do at the moment. Having small goals allows you to focus and lets you execute the necessary actions in order to accomplish them.

How to Set Small Goals

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

This holds true to any kind of goal you set your heart into. By starting small, it will be easier to see and track your progress — this motivates you to chase slightly bigger goals in the future. 

Here are three effective tips to set small goals:

1. Set very tiny goals

Keep your goals very tiny that you will feel embarrassed not to do it

For example, if you want to lose 50 lbs in a couple of years, start with tiny goals like “to run in place for one minute”, “to not eat anything sweet for your next snack or meal”, “to drink water instead of sweetened drinks for your next meal”

While these small goals will not get you closer to your big, main goal, they are more feasible to achieve right at the moment — giving you the small wins that you need to gain momentum and build confidence. After all, even goals that small can still feel good when you accomplish them, and you will still feel and notice that you’re making progress.

2. Set them often

Because tiny goals are achievable, it’s possible to set them more often and give you consistent, more frequent wins. Also, setting smaller, short-term goals gives you more flexibility and you will have the ability to adapt to your changing circumstances. 

Some people can be too fickle that their wants and needs can easily change. This means that setting a year-long goal can possibly leave you doing something that is no longer important to you halfway through the year when your priorities have changed. This can break your momentum because you have to give up on your goal without actually achieving it.

With smaller goals, on the other hand, you can quickly set them more often because they are generally achievable within the hour, day, or week. You don’t need to break up with your long-term commitment because smaller goals are usually only set for the short-term. Changing circumstances, therefore, will not take a toll on your momentum or self-confidence.

3. Level-up slowly

One of the drawbacks of setting tiny goals is that they are easily achievable that it quickly can get pretty boring. However, this is not really a disadvantage, because when you get bored, it just means it’s about time to level-up

Leveling up doesn’t necessarily mean to keep the same goal at a higher level. Depending on your current circumstances and priorities, you may level-up by moving towards another direction (because you have the flexibility to do it). If you want to keep the same goal, make sure to level-up slowly to keep your momentum going. 

Small goals and small wins are all you need to find the drive towards achieving your big dreams.

For example, if “running in place for one minute” doesn’t make you feel accomplished anymore, try adding another minute, or perhaps doing a 30-second plank after the run. Again, your leveled-up goal doesn’t need to be too grandiose. It has to stay easily achievable to keep your small wins consistent.

Ready, Set Goal

You don’t have to paint the big picture right now to get started with your success. Small goals and small wins are all you need to find the drive towards achieving your big dreams.

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”

John Dewey

By starting and achieving small, it can lead you to another small achievement, and then to another, until you begin to gather momentum for the growth that you want. Remember — sometimes, thinking small is the secret to big success.


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