I’ve always had lofty goals. I dream big and put too many things on my plate. I’m great at to-do lists and not so much at completing them. For a long time, I never finished anything because I was setting myself up for failure. No one told me that micro-goals are the key to success.
And I’m not alone. According to a study by the University of Scranton, 92% of people quit their goals. That means only 8% of people are succeeding!
We all have long-term goals: buying a home, writing a book, and losing weight. When we break down what it takes to achieve these goals, we get bombarded and overwhelmed.
- I need 90k for a downpayment
- I don’t have time to write with a full workday
- Losing 50 pounds will take months
The sheer weight of our goals drains us.
Motivation always burns bright at the start of our goals. Think New Year’s resolutions. We want to change so much. We join the gym, overhaul our diet, and start reading too many books.
WHAT IS A MICRO GOAL?
A micro goal is exactly as the name suggests: a small goal that will ultimately lead to your long-term goal.
For example, if you want to write a book, a micro goal could be finishing a character outline or writing a page a day.
These micro goals are essential as they are building blocks to something bigger. Everything starts on a small scale.
We were once only a pile of cells. The pyramid was built one brick at a time. Google started in a garage with two people.
Micro goals are the key to success. Let’s breakdown why.
MICRO-GOALS CREATE A DETAILED PLAN
When I was trying to lose weight, I was inundated by so much information. Eat this, do this workout, sleep at this time, fast for this many hours. It drove me nuts.
It was during this time I stumbled onto micro-goals. The first step is to look at your goal in pieces.
I broke down my journey into two categories: food and fitness.
Within these two categories, I further detailed how I would get to the finish line.
- For Food: Eat in a deficit of 500 calories a day.
- For Fitness: Workout 3 times a week and walk 10k steps daily.
This was a clear plan. Each day that I worked out, I achieved a micro goal. Each day I ate in a deficit, I also met a micro-goal.
These micro goals led to a weekly loss of 1–2 pounds, which in turn brought me to my ultimate goal of losing 25 pounds in about four months.
Be specific with your micro-goals for maximum success rate.
MICRO-GOALS INCREASE MOTIVATION
One reason why people quit their goals is that they don’t see progress. We live in a world of instant everything, and we want to see results now.
With micro-goals, you will see faster results because the tasks are smaller and more comfortable to tackle. As you see progress, you will be more likely to continue, and the motivation increases.
Writing 50k words for a novel seems impossible. But, writing 500 a day is manageable.
John Grisham aimed to write one page a day while juggling a law career with family time. A year later, he had his first novel, A Time to Kill.
Manageable is the key to not quitting.
MICRO-GOALS LEAD TO MORE HAPPINESS
Before I started blogging, I was in a writing slump for almost two years. I wrote things here and there but could never finish a project. I was depressed and had severe writer’s block.
In January, I set a goal to write consistently on this blog. And I have.
I don’t necessarily publish every day. Some days, I jot down headlines. Others, I work on two articles a day. The point is, I made my goal simple. To write something every day. This freed me up from constraints, and I ended up writing more than usual.
As my progress grew, so did my happiness. I was doing what I loved and saw results.
As you conquer your mini-goals, you’ll have more reasons to smile. Some studies show you can rewire your brain to produce more dopamine, the feel-good chemical, by setting micro-goals.
The dopamine release increases your happiness, and as you tick off your micro-goals, you’ll have a steady supply.
One of the main reasons we quit our goals is a lack of self-esteem. We attach negative thoughts to our objectives.
I can’t do it. It’s too hard. It’ll never get done.
Flip the narrative. If you are happy and seeing results, you’ll be more likely to continue to the finish line.
MICRO-GOALS PROVIDE LESS CHANCE FOR FAILURE
My aunt and uncle worked a minimum wage job for years. It took them almost 20 years to buy a house. They did it by saving a small amount every month.
They were not well off, but they made sure to budget around their goal. With time and effort, they got there.
All because they set aside money every month. Small, consistent effort.
There is less chance for failure because micro-goals are simple. It takes away the long-term stress. If my aunt and uncle had focused on 20 years, they might have quit early on under sheer pressure.
Small goals give you more control. If something doesn’t work, it is effortless to switch gears and try something else. You’ve wasted less time and thus improved your efficiency.
If you’re tired of having goals that you can never finish, try incorporating micro-goals into your routine. It is possible to accomplish the things you’ve dreamed of.
The beauty of micro-goals is they can be applied to virtually anything: personal goals such as reading a book a month to professional endeavors such as writing a novel. The opportunities to maximize your goals are endless.
Micro-Goals are the key to success and one step at a time, you too can achieve your dreams!
Want more tips for success? Try these 50 Journal Prompts to jumpstart your journey.
5 thoughts on “Micro-Goals are the Key to Success | How to Use Small Steps to Achieve Your Dreams”
That’s so interesting. Do you have any tips for creating micro goals for things you don’t want to do but should, like cleaning the house?
Hi there! Applying micro goals to something you don’t like can work for sure. Take your cleaning example, you can divide the work up throughout the week. When you spend less time doing something, it’ll become more manageable 🙂.
You described very well what micro-goals are and their meaning. And I very much agree with you. Micro goals are like stairs that lead to success. If we want to get to the third floor by stairs, we also go step by step, we can’t skip the whole floor.
Wonderful article and great motivation! Thanks!
I wish you much success in achieving micro-goals,
That sounds like a wonderful idea and it would be nice to plan this out. Having a micro-goal is great and it makes you feel better in finishing something while the long-term goal is slowly getting done as well.
yes! I always celebrate even small steps and small victories to get to the best results possible