Instead of massive resolutions to change or revolutionise your life, dedicate this year to making small changes… and feel the positivity build.
In our article about self-care, we explored how hard it can be on our bodies if we opt for extreme or punishing health regimes in January, and looked at the benefits of being a bit more gentle with ourselves.
This article has a similar mindset, but I’m going to focus on the benefits of micro-goals as an approach to changing your life – and your mental health – for the better.
Firstly, what are micro-goals?
Micro-goals are exactly what they sound like. Bite-sized, specific, measurable goals designed to help achieve a larger, long-term goal. Call them stepping-stones, if you will.
The beauty of micro-goals is that they’re usually shorter-term and easier to accomplish than larger goals. Because it’s easier to complete the task, they can provide a sense of progress and accomplishment along the way. There’s nothing like the feeling of ticking something off your to-do list – so make the list items more achievable. Break them down a bit.
Examples of micro-goals could include a huge range of options. It could be something like committing to reading one chapter of a book each day, or to exercise for 15 minutes a day.
But they can also be employed in other areas, such as personal development, career development, and education, and can help to provide structure and direction for achieving larger goals.
Some of the benefits of micro-goals
Increased self-confidence: Accomplishing small goals can help to build self-confidence and a sense of self-efficacy, which can lead to improved performance and greater success in the long-term.
Better time management: Breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable goals can help to make the task more manageable and improve time management.
Better goal-setting: Micro-goals can be used as stepping stones to achieve larger, long-term goals.
Personal Development: Setting a goal to meditate for 5 minutes a day, or to journal for 10 minutes each day can make a huge difference to your sense of personal growth.
How about these for some ideas?
Set a goal to network with one new professional contact per week, or to read one industry-related article per day. Build your network, and your knowledge.
Are you learning but finding it hard to finish projects or assignments? Set a goal to study for 30 minutes each day, or write 250 words. Before you know it, you’ll have chipped away at the bigger mountain and it will feel far more manageable.
Are you the type of person to start exercising and go crazy, then fall off the wagon two weeks later? Or perhaps the idea of even starting is just too much. It doesn’t have to be like that, honestly! Set micro-goals, like walking for 15 minutes every day, or to do 10 push-ups each morning. It all adds up, and as you build new habits, it will be easier to add a bit more as time passes.
Having your finances in order is important, and Pension Buddy is full of useful information which might help. But if you’re struggling to keep up with the admin or the planning, try and break things down into smaller chunks. Set up direct debits for savings, regular payments, and pensions, so you don’t have to think about those. Work through tasks a bit at a time. Nobody organised their financial set-up in a single day! Take it step by step.
House and home
If you’re one of those people whose house is spotless, with clutter-free surfaces and everything in order – firstly, we are extremely envious! But not everyone is like that, and it can feel daunting thinking about all the household chores. Newsflash – you don’t have to do it all in one day! Set a goal to clean one room per week or to cook one new recipe per week. Look at ways to make micro-goals around the home.
Creative and artistic
Spending time doing something you love is really important – but even that can start to feel like a chore if you’re not careful. The jumper you need to finish knitting. The easel standing out for months with the unfinished painting on it. The piano gathering dust. Nobody is going to fire you if you don’t finish these things, and they’re supposed to be enjoyable. When it comes to achieving creative goals, setting aside time to do it with a clear head is the goal you need to start with. Once you’re in that space, the rest is more likely to come naturally. Micro-goal lesson here? Make time for yourself!
Remember that micro-goals should be small and achievable, so that they are not too overwhelming. And where possible, be specific, measurable, and time-bound. Otherwise they can drift on, and become yet more things you ‘haven’t done’.
So set out your stepping-stones carefully, and make sure you can jump them. And feel the power of ticking things off that list!