Micro Goals: Creating Daily, Repeatable Tasks to aid Goal-setting
One of the most crucial steps to staying productive, and ultimately becoming successful, is proper goal-setting. While some individuals may be familiar with the basic principles of goal-setting, others may not know where to begin.
When deciding to put pen to paper with goals and ideas, a crucial step is exactly that: write it down. Come up with something that is important for you to achieve and jot it down on a piece of paper that you carry around with you. If you would like, you can even put this goal in a note on your phone. The key is that it should be somewhere easily-accessible, and you should reference it often.
But how does one create a goal, and what exactly are we trying to put into words? The concept of SMART goal-setting is the easiest place to start. A goal should be something that you want to achieve with the following characteristics: it is Specific and well-defined, it is Measurable (meaning you can accurately describe how close to, or far from, achieving it you are), it is Attainable (go nuts as long as it follows the laws of physics), it is Realistic and reasonable for you to achieve, and it must be Time-bound so that you have a deadline to adhere to. Most importantly, it must be something that you actually want to achieve at this point in time. If it doesn’t excite you, find something else!
For the purposes of our discussion, we will use the example of losing weight since that is a common goal for many adults. Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds by March of next year. The goal is specific in that you have clearly defined what you want to accomplish, it is measurable because you will be stepping on the scale regularly from now until March, it is attainable as long as you stay committed and focused, it is realistic, and you have given yourself the deadline of March 2018 which makes it time-bound.
The difficulty for many comes once they have written down their goal; motivation dwindles and it is easy to procrastinate, particularly if the time given for achieving the goal is extensive. This is where micro goals and daily tasks become critical for success. First, the SMART goal should be clearly written in a place that is easily accessible for you i.e. a piece of paper or in your phone as discussed earlier. You should look at this goal first thing when you wake up, and it should be the last thing you see before you go to bed. From there, the goal must be broken down into smaller targets.
Using the weight-loss example above, what are three repeatable tasks that must be performed in order to succeed? These three tasks become your micro goals that must be accomplished every day or every week. In this example, your micro goals might be: eating healthy food Monday through Friday, exercising three to four days each week and, lastly, getting adequate sleep each night. You can then create a “tree” for each goal that will help you stay accountable throughout the process. Note that the micro goals are also SMART and are naturally time-bound by being placed under the umbrella of the main goal.
GOAL: Lose 20 pounds by March 2018
1) eat healthy Mon-Fri (lean protein and vegetables every meal, healthy carbs, no sugar)
2) exercise 3-4 days weekly
3) get adequate sleep (>7 hours) each night
Setting goals and holding yourself accountable with daily, micro goals will help you succeed in whatever endeavors you decide to pursue. The daily tasks help build momentum towards the bigger goal by giving you numerous opportunities to succeed on a small scale. The path to success can be long, so these daily accomplishments make it far easier to focus on the big picture and cultivate discipline when motivation wanes. Follow this blueprint for success and surprise yourself with what you can accomplish!
Until next time.