Why you need to stop making big goals
Why you should stop setting big goals
Alright, starting Monday you are going to go on a diet, drink only water, go to the gym for two hours a day, and stop being such a slob! You'll do more at work, nail your next review, and get a big raise, but you won't spend any of the money—you'll invest it and live frugally.
While lofty goals are admirable, and especially so if you pull them off, chances are you won't. Less than 10% of people who set these giant goals for New Years will stick to them for longer than a month, the period of time most commonly associated with setting new habits.
If you want to truly make changes in your life, the good news is you can—by ditching the big goals and starting small with micro steps. Here are some tips on breaking up those big goals so you can make them attainable, no matter how far away they are.
Set one habit at a time
Is your end goal to have rippling muscles, toned skin, and a healthy diet? Try making your goal the first step to that. Instead of making a dramatic change across your entire lifestyle, pledge instead to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, or to switch out your snacks for healthy options.
If you set a goal of eating healthier snacks at work for example, you may be more likely to keep that pledge than promising yourself a diet that only allows for foods like kale or salmon.
Keep it positive
You can also help support these goals by phrasing them in a positive light. No one likes to be admonished, and if your goal is phrased as, “Stop being such a lazy slob!” You'll be less likely to try and follow through. Instead, phrase it positively, “Keep the house tidy,” can make a big difference.
Can't figure out how to set a smaller goal? Aim for 1%
Sometimes it's hard to figure out how to scale back a big goal appropriately. How much will make a difference? The answer is any change at all. Adding a single baby carrot to your meal, parking a few slots farther out from the store than usual, or simply making your bed in the morning can all bring you a single step closer to that bigger dream goal.
Why does it matter?
Making your bed in the morning (or even just straightening the covers) isn't going to turn your house into a catalog worthy work of art. One bite of vegetables won't make you healthier if the rest of your food is junk. 10-15 more steps every day isn't going to make a big difference in terms of health and fitness, so---why make these your goals?
That's because these tiny goals offer a gateway to bigger things. One carrot becomes a small snack. Then maybe that snack motivates you to try a healthy recipe for dinner. You decide to enjoy a less healthy dessert, but since your goal was only to eat that one carrot, you can still feel good about your accomplishments for the day.
Those accomplishments carry you forward until a year from that first goal, you look back and notice how much healthier (over all) your diet is.
That's where these small changes make big differences, and before you know it, big goals.