When you think of setting a goal, you think of the end result, right?
For instance, since you want to lose weight, you decide that losing 40 pounds would be good, and you set your goal at the full 40 pounds.
Maybe you decide that you want to save ten thousand dollars, so you make that ten grand the goal.
Or maybe you pick a goal like making this year the best ever.
You’ve heard people say things like:
Go big or go home.
Make the goal big enough that it scares you a little bit.
Set your goals high and don’t stop until you get there.
Those BIG goals and those strong quotes sound perfect, don’t they?
They’re very motivating. They are truly transformative goals. They sound impressive. You can imagine how good you’ll will feel when you achieve them.
Setting a big goal is exhilarating. It’s clearly the way to go, right? Many self-help experts support big goals. In fact, those gurus usually want you to make goals even bigger than you had planned.
But here’s the thing about big goals… They are BIG. Too big and for most people they become not achievable.
Let’s look at those three goals.
If you lose 2 pounds a week, that’s at least five months or 20 weeks or 140 days to achieve your goal. You’ll need to cut 140,000 calories out of your life.
How you might achieve this:
Cut every calorie that you can until you’re in starvation mode.
Exercise until your every body part hurts.
Ten Thousand Dollars
That’s ten thousand one dollar bills. If you’re starting a zero, it takes a while to count to ten thousand let alone eek out those one dollar bills from your already tight budget.
How you might try to achieve this:
Promise that you won’t buy anything extra until you’ve hit that goal.
Sell stuff on eBay.
The Best Year
Well that’s 12 months or 52 weeks or 365 days or 8,760 hours.
I’m not sure how you would even attempt this goal. It’s too broad but it’s actually a common goal that encounter frequently in my practice as a personal life coach.
No matter how those goals are viewed, each of the goals (weight, money, best year) are ones that will take a long time to achieve.
Guess what happens to us when things feel like they’ll take too long?
If things become too hard, we procrastinate until we forget about them. We may become discouraged enough that we choose to give up before we start. Keep in mind that many of us think that the microwave takes too long.
Why would we do that?
We give up when that bright, shiny goal that we were so excited about 6 months ago fades. We give up because it was too hard and too unattainable. We give up when it the results are too meager, and the goal feels impossible.
I’m all for big goals but not impossible ones.
There’s a tweak that I’d like to see you make when you’re setting your goals. This tweak has proven itself over and over again. Every single one of my clients that made this tweak eventually reached their goals.
Start with your big goal.
break that big goal down in to small baby steps
celebrate the success of each baby step.
Taking baby steps looks like this.
Goal: Lose 5 pounds.
Commit to a realistic meal plan for those 5 pounds.
Start an exercise plan that doesn’t stress your body but gets the blood flowing a little bit.
Achieve the goal, celebrate, and evaluate.
Decide what worked, what didn’t work, and start the next goal of 5 pounds with the information you discovered while.
Repeat until you achieve satisfaction.
Goal: How much can I save this month?
Turn saving into a game by figuring out where you can tighten your budget in a livable way.
Repeat every month until you’ve reached your big goal. By turning it into a game,
you’ve made your goal manageable (baby steps),
created a habit of saving, and created a way to have fun with the goal.
Goal: Have the best week ever.
What does the best week look like for you while keeping up with your responsibilities (because losing your job doesn’t make for a good week)?
What do you need to plan or implement this week?
What do you need to do to make Monday the best day?
What does Tuesday need to include to make it a good day?
How can you make Wednesday stand out?
Make a plan for each day to add some special spicy sauce to it.
A year happens a week at a time, and a week happens a day at a time. To achieve the big goal of having the best year ever, you’ll have to break it down into baby steps by making each day the best.
You can’t run before you can walk, you can’t walk until you can crawl, and you can’t crawl until you can sit up.
The next time you’re setting a goal, start with the big picture but then break it down into small baby steps.
Think small and then get smaller in order to get big and bigger!
Taking baby steps means that you’ll have a lot of wins, and wins make you want to do more. Those wins create motivation and momentum.