micro goals article

Micro Goals: the Power of Thinking Small

I’ve been to the gym 4 of the last 5 days. That may pale in comparison to most normal human beings, but for me that is a personal record.

The workouts I’ve done haven’t been groundbreaking, and I am most definitely performing all exercises with horrible form. However, I feel better today than I have in a long time.

Why?

Sure, there are the health benefits of exercise, but that’s not really what I’m referencing here.

I’m feeling like a peak-performer right now mentally, even though my workouts haven’t been special in the slightest.

“A mountaineer on top of a round rocky peak” by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

There is true power in setting micro-goals and actually making them happen. In fact, I’ve often felt more satisfied with the small victories I win than the big ones.

I want to hash out my theory on why small victories are so delightful, but we need to understand the ins and outs of micro-goals first. Let’s get to it.

How to Set Great Micro-Goals

First and foremost, every victory (large or small), begins with planning and preparation. “Lucking” into a win is highly unlikely, and definitely not sustainable.

Micro-goals are the reverse-engineered cousin of what you ultimately want to accomplish. If your end goal is to lose 40 pounds by January, the micro-goals are the steps you need to take to get there.

“A direction arrow etched in a white wall” by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

These stepping stones come with their own sense of fulfillment, often far more powerful than we even anticipate. This makes it easier to keep on the path toward the end goal.

So how do you set a proper micro-goal? Start with the end goal in mind, and work your way backward. Write down every step it will take, and follow them religiously.

Why They Work So Well

The reason is simple: human beings need constant affirmation that the results we ultimately seek are within reach.

Micro-goals help us see progress, even when we aren’t at the finish line.

For someone wanting to build the next great app for the iPhone, they will find great solace with each stage of the app they finish. This will propel them to continue on to the next portion.

The fact of the matter is this: with every stage we accomplish toward the end goal, it gets a little more difficult.

“Highway 212 with multiple high slope hills and complete tree coverage on both sides of the road” by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

That is why we need micro-goals desperately.

The Moral of the Story

At the end of the day, we all want our names attached to amazing things. We want to be remembered as impactful in some way.

It can be discouraging to only focus on the end goal. For many, their goals don’t actually have a finite end.

The small victories in life are the glue that bind our past to our future. Take time to appreciate these, and push on to the next.

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