Goal Setting Skills In Action, A Little Revision or The Surprising Power Of Mini Goals

This past week I have been using my time to work toward my BIG goal of getting my book into print. This is no small task and without some sort of plan, realised, I would not find it easy to mobilise myself into action.

So, I set about creating one and now have, what I believe to be, a blueprint for making this book a physical reality.

Along the way however I realised I needed to do a bit of revision in the goal setting area. How had I achieved things in the past, I began to ask? What stratergies had I used when I was losing weight or writing my first ebook?

Since I had actually written extensively about this subject in my ebook, I thought that taking another look at what I had already written about goal setting (in relation to losing weight) might be helpful.

I then thought I might also share this revision with you, so below is a brief extract (edited and reshaped) from Reframe Weight Loss. It is from Chapter 6, Gaining Your Goal Setting Skills. NB The emphasis in the extract is on weight loss goals, but you can substitute your own goals for the weight loss ones and I hope still find some relevance for you.

Start of Extract

Prelude: After discussing my own strategy and then emphasizing the importance  of a goal achieving strategy, I then continue with the following:-

 Chiefly, these strategies were and should be for you:

1. State and express your goal in a positive way. 

2. Be exact!! State exactly when, using a specific date and time that you want to achieve your goal by. A good adage to keep in mind with this strategy is:

3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TIME YOUR PLAN, BUT ALSO TO PLAN YOUR TIME!

4. Next, write all your goals down on a piece of paper.

5. Place them somewhere where you will see (and review them) often!!

Bite-sized Tasks 

 Okay, so that’s a simple approach to the BIG GOAL. Now, to the real ‘magic’ of goal setting – breaking it down.

It is my belief that no one has ever gotten anything done by sitting and looking only at the BIG PICTURE. That’s not the thing to focus on.

Although it is always important to have that vision alive and vibrant in your mind, it is actually in achieving the many mini goals along the way that is going to get you there. Similar to the BIG GOAL, your mini goals should also have a ‘to be completed by’ date and time. Once again, be precise and be specific.

For  example, your first mini goal may be ‘to lose two kg by the first day of the next month this year. (As I don’t know the exact date that you’re reading this, I’ll let you fill in the more specific month names and year!) After you have a list of all your mini goals, it’s now time to set some even smaller mini goals.

Staying with our mini goal of losing two kg by the first day of the next month, let’s break it down even further. First, two kg in one month is approximately 0.5kg a week.

Great, a much more achievable outcome and one you can ‘see’ clearly and work toward!

From here, the next step is to define the actions and steps you are going to take daily that will get you to that 0.5kg. If you’ve read the preceding chapters of this book, then I think you already know how to do that.

Now however, is the time to get specific. You may end up with about 10 mini tasks that you are going to perform this week, or perhaps a daily ‘to do list’.

Achieving and crossing off these daily tasks will get you to that weekly goal of 0.5kg weight loss.

A review of some of the work we have done so far may assist you in writing these mini tasks. I can set out an example for you of what the first five might look like (they may be familiar to you, as we’ve already touched on them earlier), but it will be up to you to write your own personal and relevant ones. Okay, so maybe something like this:

1. This week, I will continue the exercises I have begun in ‘The Seven-day Plan.’ If I have joined a gym, I will attend three times this week!!

2. For this week, I will only home cook. No takeaway food (this includes snacks and meals).

3.My home cooking will be from my own low-fat recipe book or from my own personal eating plan.

 4. I will replace all my between-meal snacks with fruit, low-fat yoghurt or a low-fat protein smoothie.

 5. I will stay within my calculated ‘calories for weight loss’ and keep an accurate record of everything I eat and drink.

 Important: stay mindful of your mini tasks and remind yourself of them frequently throughout the week.

Setting weekly mini goals is the way to continue, and if at any point even these seem too hard, then take a step back, be realistic and reset some smaller goals; ones that you KNOW without a doubt that you wil.l achieve.

 Gently Raising The Bar

I would like to quickly share with you a simple short story about ‘raising the bar’ that may help clarify for you the effectiveness of ‘mini goals’. It is about a method used in Japan to train children into ‘Ninja Warriors’, and is similar to one that many high jumpers also use to gradually improve their performance. 

For each Ninja child in training a bamboo shoot is planted, and from the very first day that child must jump over it. As it grows and gets higher, the children continue to jump over it on a daily basis. At first, when the bamboo shoot is very low, the task is simple. Then as the canes get a fraction higher each day, the children have to stretch themselves and jump a little higher to succeed. The result however is that they all end up jumping over quite tall canes with surprising ease.

The metaphor for us is clear. Doing just a little bit more, pushing ourselves just a little bit further each day, can amount to huge achievements in our lives, achievements that may not have been possible to attain without a commitment to some smaller daily improvements.

From little things, big things grow!!

I would also just like to add that I have faith that you can find the inspiration (indeed I hope you already have, in this book!!) to achieve each new behaviour, each new habit and each new way to be that you set your mind to. Just like the little Ninja Warriors.”

End Of Extract

That is the extract that I re-read this week and it has helped me to make some progress toward the mini tasks required to achieve my BIG task of publishing my book in print. Just like when I was working toward reaching my weight loss goal (which was a big number of kilos to lose) I am trying not to get overwhelmed with the BIG PICTURE, but rather to focus on the bite sized tasks that are easy and achievable for me on a daily basis.
 But what do you think?
Is this a good way to go about achieving BIG goals?
 
What goal achieving strategies have you employed?
 
Are they effective and do they  make the project (what ever it is) more manageable and achievable for you?
 
Are you working toward some BIG GOAL in your life?
Are there any tips or strategies of your own you can teach us about or add to my list of goal setting strategies?
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11 responses to “Goal Setting Skills In Action, A Little Revision or The Surprising Power Of Mini Goals

  1. Good luck working the plan. I’ve been working on a book since last May. I’ve dreamed of writing for 20 years. But this is the closest I’ve gotten to making my dream a reality.
    Kathleen

    • Hi Kathleen,
      Nice to hear about your writing goals and thanks for the good wishes. Best of luck to you also with your endeavour – am sure you will do it!!
      Dreams are certainly something to be pursued and acted upon – I believe that you have that dream for a reason, so go get him!
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, too. I enjoyed hearing from you. Mon 🙂

  2. I tend to accomplish more when I have more to do, but then I have to prioritize at the same time. So mini goals seems like a good approach, otherwise it all becomes overwhelming and I feel like I am letting myself down. This week I have to set aside the book for a bit to concentrate on other things, and then I’ll revisit those goals.

    • Hey Lisa,
      Good luck with your upcoming week’s project. You sound like a busy lady!!
      Hope all goes well this week for you and also with your book’s progress. Glad you liked the idea of mini goals.
      Thanks for your comment, Lisa! Appreciate you taking the time to drop by. 🙂
      Mon

  3. Well done Monica! You’ve got this goal-setting thing down pretty well it appears. But for me, the key point that you kept making throughout the article was the phrase ‘specific’. I think in life, especially with our goals, we’re for some reason afraid to specifically say what we want, or how we’re going to get there. But I’ve found if we are specific, and hold ourselves to this, the results are so much greater.

    Continued excellence Monica. 🙂

    Marcus

    • Thanks Marcus! Yes, when I reread what I had already written in the ebook, that word, specific, really kept resonating with me, too. Thanks for that feedback – I really appreciate your comment and continued good wishes! 🙂
      Cheers Marcus,
      Mon

  4. Hi Mon – I am a big believer in setting small goals. Mini goals. You get to realize success early in the game and what could be more encouraging?
    Say your goal is to learn Spanish. A great mini goal would be to set a date at a Mexican restaurant. Learn 6-7 phrases that will allow you to greet the proprietor, order your meal, and ask for the bill – all in Spanish! Easy! And fun.

    It’s just like you said, “From little things, big things grow!!” You are so right. Smaller, daily improvements inspire us. Excellent post. You are clearly experienced in having success with goals. Thank you for sharing!

    ~Theresa

  5. Oh, I forgot to add something! I’m so glad to learn more about your book! And your ebook too! I feel like I got a peek behind the scenes earlier today and now I’ve had a chance to learn even more!

    Keep it up Mon! I can’t wait to see your book published.

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