Our Fitness Blog
Micro Goals, Mega Results
#Goals. This is possibly one of THE most overused words in America, especially by women. We seriously have way too many goals. I’ve written numerous articles on goal setting (and goal reaching) and always encourage my readers to be honest with themselves when setting goals and make them attainable. However, I usually avoid dry statements like: set SMART goals. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time sensitive. Why? Because I just feel like that’s so ‘been there, done that’ and no one is truly listening.
Say hello to micro-goals.
What are micro-fitness goals, why have they become so popular and what makes them so effective?
People want advice they can apply, and apply now, without needing to buy a new gadget or download a new app.
For starters though, we need to get real and quit setting goals like:
- Lose all the weight!
- Save all the children!
- Free all the dolphins!
As a society, we generally set goals that are huge. Overwhelming. We excite ourselves for a few fleeting moments, without much thought to, “Is this doable?” and then within a few more strokes of the pen, we realize that we have no earthly idea how to start, much less achieve, these goals.
Micro-goaling (yes, now conveniently a verb) is just taking a big goal and breaking it into smaller ones that can be eaten one bite at a time. You wouldn’t expect yourself to eat an entire Caprese salad in ONE bite, nor should you think any goal can be accomplished in ONE step. You set yourself up for success when you take a goal and break it down.
What are the criteria to keep in mind when setting a micro-goal?
I think you just ask yourself one question:
What goals have I set that I have NOT achieved?
That’s how you know a goal was too big. Then, break that time period down by at least half, if not more.
If a month of eating healthy has never worked for you before, go for one week at a time.
If a week of eating healthy has never worked for you before, go for one day at a time.
Can’t commit to a whole day? That’s right…one meal at a time.
Remember, every massive goal achieved is only the result of lots and lots of little micro-wins achieved over and over and over.
People who run marathons run one mile at a time.
Knowing this, you realize that micro goals are actually your true nature, because it’s living one day at a time. There really isn’t a limit as to how micro you can go, (channeling Ludacris’ How Low song) just do what works and celebrate every win!!
How do you set a micro-goal you'll actually follow-through on?
One of my favorite things to do is list out the actions needed for the success of any goal and put a check mark beside each one as they are done. Check marks are scientifically proven to give us a hit of dopamine, similar to seeing a ‘like’ on one of our social media posts. Those little check marks make us happy. So, if you have eight glasses of water as a goal per day, how much fun would it be to have a little chart with eight check marks on it at the end of the day? It feels like eight little wins and what’s so effective about this method is that it creates momentum to achieve more little wins.
You could have a chart with a week’s worth of micro-goals on it and end up with a check mark beside just loads of things by the end of the week and feel like a total rock star. (Eight glasses of water a day times seven is already 56 happy little checks!) It builds confidence in yourself, your abilities, and your accomplishments. Confidence is the best thing a woman can have, so I love this approach.
Another thing to do to set yourself up for success is to only have one or two micro goals per week. More than that and you likely won’t do anything. The issue here is, people like to set 10 goals a week. It takes self-control to know that that isn’t wise. Pick two goals and implement them 100% and watch what happens.
What are specific examples of old-school macro-goals that don't work (and why they don't work), and specific examples of new micro-goals you should swap them out with (and why they will work)?
The Old You (using macro-goals)
Goal: Finally Lose the College 15
Why it DOESN’T work: Your mind hears, “I will now say no to fun food for the rest of my life or it means I am failing at my goal.”
The New You (using micro-goals)
Goal: Eat clean for the next week and notice how I feel, how my clothes fit, and how my skin looks.
Why it DOES work: Your mind can handle one week. It’s long enough to see a little bit of results (i.e. feel a little bit peppier and less bloated, etc.) Basically, it’s long enough to get some kind of result that motivates you to keep it up. It’s not so long however, that you mentally quit as soon as you start.
If you wish you could do 10 toe push-ups in a row, chest to floor, give that goal a micro-makeover. Just ONE toe push-up a day, for a week. Then move up to two or three a day for a week. Before a month is up, I’ll bet you’ll be cranking out 10 perfect push-ups in a row, no problem. If you’d started with a goal of 10 a day, you would have quit after three days, discouraged. But now, you can walk in slow motion while things explode in a ball of fire behind you, because you eat push-ups for breakfast. Go you!