“Setting small goals”

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30th May 2024

When Michael Phelps was 8 years old, he wrote down a set of goals. The long-term goal was to compete in the Olympics someday, and he included short-term goals for his upcoming races. The goal-setting habit stuck—for practices, meets, and aspects of his training—and when Phelps retired from swimming in 2016, he was the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, with 28 medals, including 23 gold (more than many countries have ever won).

Setting small goals can lead to big outcomes in business as well.

Goals clarify objectives and have a positive psychological effect, giving people a series of small wins on their way to achieving bigger aspirations.

When presented with a problem that requires behavior change, we pounce on it with big goals — only to find ourselves locked into a self-defeating cycle. As high achievers, we’re programmed to “go big or go home” and to “set big hairy audacious goals.”

Big goals are more burdensome than they are motivational; they require daunting effort to accomplish and sustain in our busy lives.

Falling short of a lofty goal creates a negative spiral of discouragement deterring future action. Instead of striding forward, we slide backward.

It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small — through micro habits.

Micro habits are small components of a larger habit. By breaking down an ambitious job into smaller, more achievable ones that you build over long periods of time, micro habits help you achieve big goals.

For example, when I first started going for a morning walk, my micro habit was to lay out my clothes the night before and get into them first thing in the morning.

When I eventually made it to the lake or the park, my next micro habit was to simply walk for 15-20 minutes and soon I was walking 5 Kms daily

Similarly, when writing my first book, I started by giving myself the target of writing a page, and then a chapter and voila, within 6 months or so I had completed my first draft, something I’d been trying to do unsuccessfully for a couple of decades.

Formidable objectives suddenly become achievable with small Goals.

The idea of making change through small habits isn’t new; others have discussed and written about it in the past, but people still struggle to implement them.

We’re indoctrinated to — and rewarded for — thinking big, not executing small.

We might feel silly doing something minuscule and spending any time on it might not seem worthwhile, so we talk ourselves out of doing them at the start.

Set small Goals, achieve them & stay blessed forever.