Rome was not built in a day, but when setting goals, we forget this adage and shift our focus to the future—where our dreams have crossed the finish line and are ready to be shelved as success stories. But the reality is that nothing truly happens instantaneously, seeds don’t turn into fruits overnight, babies are not born on the day they’re conceived, and students don’t transition into working individuals with university degrees by going through days of education.
Many people fail to accomplish their professional and personal goals because the bigger picture has the tendency of overwhelming even the smartest of dreamers. The solution to this plight is to have micro-goals—which are essentially long-term or short-term goals that have been broken down into every day, small, achievable goals. Micro-goals are task-specific, linked to each other, follow a pattern, and have a sort of dominoes-like effect toward the long-term goal.
For instance, let’s say your overall goal is to buy a house. Although a great investment, houses on the market are expensive and most likely to run your bank account into the ground. It may seem like an impossible mission but when this long-term goal is broken down into micro-goals, you’ll realise that you can buy your dream house in no time by taking it one task at a time, such as: making smart saving choices, improving your credit score, saving for a down payment, building a healthy saving account, getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and buying your dream house.
How to create micro-goals:
- Start by identifying the one thing or things you desire the most. It could be anything, as long as it makes you happy and your life better.
- Turn your heart desire into a SMART goal, that is, ensuring that the goal is: Specific (what, why, and how), Measurable (ability to rate progress), Achievable (challenging but doable), Realistic (relevant and results-oriented), and Time-bound (deadline).
- Write a SMART goal statement e.g. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, and use a combination of diet and exercise programs to lose 20 pounds in 60 days.
- Break your SMART goal into a micro goal e.g. Have a healthy breakfast and go to the gym today. Repeat tomorrow, the day after, and the next day.
Tips for creating micro-goals:
Don’t be overwhelmed by how small the tasks seem to be.
Focus on what you need to do today, accomplish it, check it off your list, and move on to the next task.
Weigh tasks by their importance, urgency, and how effortless they will help to transition to the next micro goal.
This brings a sense of orderliness.
Appreciate and celebrate small wins as you progress.
Don’t wait for the long-term goal to be accomplished before you give yourself credit or words of encouragement.
Re-evaluate your long-term and micro-goals; and make changes where necessary.
Learn from your successes and failures, and apply the lessons as you go.