What if I told you the following statistics from Dream Maker 2022 on goal setting stated that:
“83% of the world’s population do not have goals.
14% have a plan in their head, but goals are not written down.
3% have written goals.
92% of people who set New Year’s resolutions never achieve them.”
Similarly, my coaching clients often report feeling defeated by the enormity of defining and articulating their personal and career aspirations. The journey towards achieving long-term goals can be overwhelming leading to a loss of motivation and a sense of “stuckness.” In other words, goal setting can feel daunting.
Without judgment, where do you land? Are you in the 3, 14, or 83 percentiles?
I used to be among the 14 and 83% groups until I started coaching more than 10 years ago. As I began venturing out as a new business owner and emerging entrepreneur, I had a compelling drive to be more strategic and identify my targets and focus areas if I wanted to be successful. Since that time, I have become hooked, rather “geeked out” and excited about the entire process.
As a seasoned career coach, I have witnessed the transformative impact of setting and achieving micro-goals both personally and with my clients on our levels of motivation and overall progress toward larger objectives.
Micro-goals are small, manageable tasks or objectives that contribute to the accomplishment of more significant, long-term goals. They serve as the building blocks, breaking down larger aspirations into actionable steps that are easier to tackle. Micro goals are those small bite-sized steps that we can put into action and execute right now.
For example, two years ago I established a goal of wanting to be more present and grounded. I began a mindfulness practice to build my mental fitness muscles. I started by injecting 2-3 minutes of mindfulness exercises, such as my breathing, throughout my day. Right before a coaching session, I would set my timer for 3 minutes, close my eyes, center my body, and engage in my exercise. I would do this repeatedly 3-6 times throughout the day.
My end goal was to achieve a longer amount of practice and I knew I needed to break it down into bite-sized and doable chunks to start. The result at the end of each day would be the achievement of 9-18 minutes of daily mindfulness reps. The cumulative amount over a week was 63 – 126 minutes, or about 252 minutes a month. Wow! All that with injecting 2-3 minutes several times over the day.
Today, my practice has expanded to doing over an hour of mindfulness exercises throughout the day totaling over 1800 minutes a month. This has resulted in outcomes that have enhanced my sense of well-being, my ability to manage challenges more effectively, and being more “in the moment “with my clients and in my life.
One of the key benefits of incorporating micro-goals into your growth development strategies is the motivational ripple effect they create. When you experience success in smaller tasks, it triggers a positive feedback loop that fuels motivation for the next challenge. This incremental approach prevents the overwhelming feeling associated with large goals and cultivates a sense of achievement, boosting your overall morale.
In terms of your job search strategy and frankly your ongoing professional development, networking is a key ingredient.
In my article, I discuss how networking is about creating and sustaining relationships. It involves establishing relationships with people who you can help and can help you advance your career and business. With that being said, having a networking goal for career and professional success is critical.
One micro-goal for networking could be to identify 2 to 3 former colleagues and/or supervisors to schedule a time with to connect and chat. The second micro-goal could be to craft a template email, text, or LinkedIn message to send them. Step by step and brick by brick the foundation starts to get built. You keep moving the dial closer to where you want to be.
It is important to remember that goal-setting is a process and that even small steps can lead to significant results no matter how discouraging the goal-setting statistics may be.
According to recent research in goal setting and achievement, there are a few key things to keep in mind to overcome this:
1. Write down your goals. This helps to solidify your intentions.
a. Those who write down their goals are 20% more likely to achieve them than those who do not.
2. Form a support network. This is essential for success. You need people who can encourage you and help keep you on track.
a. Encouraging peers tend to do 40% better than those who did not.
3. Commitment to action steps and support from your network allows you the best chance of attaining your goals. Identify micro goals and use the chunking method to break them down into tiny, small, and doable tasks. Set yourself up for success.
4. Track your progress. By breaking down larger objectives into smaller, measurable components, you can track their advancement with clarity. This tracking system not only helps in staying focused but also provides you an opportunity for timely adjustments and recalibrations if necessary.
When you activate your micro-goals, it instills a sense of accomplishment and progress that reinforces the belief that your larger goals are indeed achievable.
I have the honor of witnessing the motivational boosts and tangible progress that come with achieving my own and my clients’ smaller objectives. This contributes significantly to my own and your overall success in reaching larger personal and professional er goals. By embracing the power of micro-goals, you can navigate your career paths with resilience, motivation, and a clear sense of accomplishment.
Homework: What is one micro action step that you are willing and committed to taking in the next 24-48 hours that will move you closer to your larger target?
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”