Use Mini-Goals to Accomplish Big Wins

This Simple Hack Makes Bettering Yourself and Achieving Your Dreams as Easy as 1–2–3

Photo Credit: Tim Gaf

One week into the new year is often a loaded time. Perhaps you feel like throwing your head back and casting your arms out wide, shouting, “I’m the king of the world!” DiCaprio-style because you’ve been so diligent about sticking to your New Year’s resolutions so far. Or perhaps you feel more like you’re slowly losing your grip on the too-small piece of wood that’s precariously keeping you afloat.

Either way — or even if you’re somewhere in the middle — the truth of the matter is we’ve still got fifty-one weeks left to go. We’re in this for the marathon, not the sprint.

Whether its your standard anytime-of-the-year goal or an actual New Year’s resolution, so much of acheiving our goals is determined by one simple factor: whether or not we set ourselves up for success. How great is this? It means the power is actually in our hands!

One of my favorite hacks for achieving everything from big dreams to minor shifts is establishing a series of mini-goals along the way. Mini-goals are the small steps we take to get from Point A to Point B. For example, as a new mom, my intention for 2018 is to be more dedicated to and consistent about Me Time and self-care. Great — but what exactly does that mean? It’s one of those dangerously nebulous resolutions that can very quickly fall flat on its face.

To ensure this goal turns into a lifestyle change as opposed to a quickly discarded flight of fancy that ultimately makes me feel like “I’ve failed,” I have enstated a series of monthly mini-goals to usher me from Point A to Point B. With this, I’m building a stable of new habits that accumulate to significant shifts by the end of the year.

With that in mind, in January I’ve promised myself to drink 64 ounces of water per day. I know, not exactly the sexiest goal, but it’s a little thing I can do that I know will make me feel healthier, both physically and mentally. It’s also a way of remembering to remember myself throughout the day, even when things get chaotic.

By nature, mini-goals should not be complex. The entire point is that they are easily acheivable so that we can pull them off, building a sense of confidence, achievement, and renewed dedication to ourselves along the way. A mini-goal is not writing the first quarter of your novel; it’s building the habit of writing regularly by sitting down to write for ten minutes every single day for a month. Is that mini-goal in and of itself going to net you a Pulitzer? No. But it programs you to get your ass in the chair and write. Not only that, but you get yourself into a groove where you’re racking up practice and “muscle-building.” Ten minutes per day? NBD. But add it up, and that comes to 300 minutes of writing in a single month. If you’re starting at zero minutes per month, that’s a pretty big mark-up!

With each mini-goal we accomplish, the next one seems that much easier to conquer. If you break it down, a marathon is finished through a series of consecutive small strides, right? On their own, these individual steps may not seem like much, but string them together and you’ve got a monumental milestone under your belt. Of course, the inverse is also true. If we’re focused on the finish line but don’t bother training, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.

Do you have a resolution you feel slipping away from you? Or is there something else in your life that you really want to accomplish but keep putting off for “later on?” If so, I challenge you to enstate a mini-goal for yourself right now that will get you one step closer to where you want to be.