Achieve Your Goals One Mini Goal at a Time

When helping my clients set their goals, I borrow a lot from project management. Treating your ultimate goal like a project helps you see the action steps that logically take you from start to completion. Sure, you have your vision of that ultimate goal once it’s been achieved, but the way to get there is up for discussion.

So, as you progress toward your ultimate goal, milestones – or “mini goals” – mark your progress along the way.

When you aim for one mini goal at a time, rather than just your big, juicy ultimate goal, it’s not only more motivational (you’re collecting small wins along the way), but it is easier to make any changes you need to make the whole thing more efficient, doable, and direct.

Between each mini goal is a small set of actions, or steps you take to get there. This set of actions is laser-focused on just achieving that mini goal, not the whole enchilada. Want to run a 5k? Set a mini goal to run 10 minutes daily. Want to eat more whole foods? Set a mini goal to eat ONE more fruit or vegetable each day.

Mini goals work because they build on one another in a way that is pretty painless. John Dewey said,

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”

You build up your momentum, and that big goal becomes much easier to achieve. So, you need to think both big and small when it comes to goal setting.

Remember, these mini goals are fully-fleshed-out goals. They aren’t just steps in your plan. Like with setting your big goal, you want to make your mini goals “SMART:”

* S = specific* M = measurable* A = actionable* R = realistic* T = time-bound

Think of big goals as describing how you and your life will look in the long term. So, six months, one year, five years. The mini goals are the actions and achievements you need to hit to make progress toward that long-term goal. As mini goals are reached, you can see progress, make assessments, and adjust your plan so that the next mini goal will get your to the finish line.

Tell us in the comments what are some of the challenges you face when trying to achieve your goals?