Many people fail to reach their goals, because it’s too difficult to connect the sacrifice and hard work of today, to long-term benefits that might not come for months or even years down the road. In the modern era, we are constantly bombarded with stories of successful people who seem to have changed their lives overnight. In reality, the reason their success seems so sudden is because no one was talking about them while they were putting in the work to reach their goals. We just see their big win posted to social media and get discouraged because our own goals seem so far off.
It’s time for a shift of perspectives. We need to stop trying to run before we even learn to walk. Of course, that’s an analogy. I’m talking about setting micro-goals that can help us build up to our macro-goals. Micro-goals are exactly what they sound like—small, actionable steps that you can easily achieve on the way to accomplishing something bigger. Micro-goals are important for two big reasons. First, they help you set up a plan of attack. Second, they give you an easy win that can boost your self-confidence and give you a thirst for getting things done. No matter how small.
Here and Now
The Navy SEALs were some of the first people to utilize micro-goals. To them, it was all about completing the task ahead of you. Don’t think about the grueling obstacle course you have to finish. Focus on the wall you need to climb. After that’s behind you, focus on the mud pit you crawl across, and so on.
You might not be planning to join the Navy, but it turns out we set up obstacle courses for ourselves all the time. We have goals like: eat healthier, get in shape, read ten books this year. The problem is, none of these things can be achieved anytime soon. But you know what you can do right now? Snack on a carrot, do one push-up, read the first paragraph of that book you had in mind. If you set a goal that’s too small to fail, you now have a micro-goal that’s totally within reach.
Before you say, “No. That can’t make a difference,” think about it. Chances are, if you get down on the ground to do that one push-up, you’ll probably do more while you’re down there. While you have the book open to read that one paragraph, you’ll probably finish a page or two. For the carrot, you might have to add that to your grocery list, first. Boom, that’s a micro-goal accomplished on your way to the macro-goal of eating healthier.
Staying on Track
Of course, these micro-goals are going to have to ladder up to a larger goal. That’s why it’s helpful to write everything down in your Enlightenment Planner. Not only can you add your micro-goals to your weekly schedule but you can also reflect on how you feel about getting closer to your overall goal. You might look back and realize that every time you set aside time to read one page of a book, you read five. That’s an accomplishment to be proud of. After all, these micro-goals are about changing your mindset from the “I have so far to go” attitude, to the “look what I’ve done” attitude. And that can have a lasting effect on how you live your life.
Daily Dose of Dopamine
Studies show that setting and achieving micro-goals can increase dopamine, because as we all know, it feels great to accomplish something. That’s why small wins are so powerful. It’s like a shot of pleasure right from the brain as a reward for doing something right. Quite literally, it’s a natural high. If a daily dose of dopamine isn’t reason enough to set micro-goals, we don’t know what is.
It’s perfectly natural to think there is a better version of you waiting to be discovered. But when that “better you” is just one thing at the end of a long journey, we can get sucked into feeling like we’ve failed to reach it. Micro-goals make the journey itself a win. For example, making your bed, calling your mom to say hi, or going for a daily walk may just seem like small steps on the way to your goals of becoming a more organized person, or a better son/daughter, or being more active, but don’t those small steps make you a better person just for getting started?
Enlightenment Planner gives you a way to make micro-goals a part of your daily schedule. It’s a great place to reflect on the head change and shift in perspective that comes with a daily win, or a once-a-week win. Whatever the schedule of your micro-goal journey is, just get started.