How to Set Micro Goals (Free Worksheets)
Earlier this week I shared a bit about how to define your #fullosophy and what micro goals are (they are basically tiny baby-step goals that lead you toward bigger goals). I base everything around micro goals. I get discouraged too easily if I don’t work from micro goals. I hear a lot of goal setting advice out there that just does not work for me.
I mean advice like…
- Set 30 day goals
- Set goals with qualifiers (like a specific deadline or a target amount of income)
- Think BIG and let ambition drive you
- Get an accountability partner
No. No. NO. I will fail so fast if I set goals like that. That’s just not how my brain works. Why not? Because my brain is very focused on right now.
Y’all, I was a basket case before I started using micro goals. Now I’m not (totally) crazy and I know that micro goals aren’t for everyone. There are people reading this right now that are thinking, “IDK about this…I’m not a micro anything kind of person” and that’s cool. This system may not be for you but it’s definitely for me and it’s a system that’s worked for a lot of other people I know as well.
First, I want to explain a bit about why the goal system I mentioned up above doesn’t work for me (because I want you to know you’re not alone or crazy if it doesn’t work for you either).
Doesn’t Work – Set 30 Day Goals
I’m sorry but in this age of immediate gratification and the now now now mentality, 30 days is a loooooooooong time. If you expect me to wait 30 days to see results then you’re talking to the wrong person. 30 days is 1/12 of my entire year and I just
can’t won’t wait that long to accomplish something. If I don’t meet or exceed my goal then I am left feeling like I failed, or that I didn’t work hard enough, or that was I pursuing the wrong strategy. I find myself obsessing 15 days in to the goal to see if I’m halfway toward where I need to be. Let’s say I wanted to earn $1,000…if I haven’t raised $500 by the time I’m halfway through the 30 day period I start to stress. It’s just not a good system for me. It fuels my anxiety and the last thing I need in my life is more anxiety.
Doesn’t Work – Use Qualifiers (Specific Deadlines or Income)
This kind of goal setting just makes me feel pressure and anxiety. The last thing I need is a firm deadline or a target amount of money which, if I don’t hit it, will make me feel like a giant failure. If I set a goal like “I will earn $5,000 from new clients by the end of the year” and I only earn $3,500 I feel like I let myself down. I get frustrated, feel like I was too ambitious, and start to doubt myself.
Doesn’t Work – Think BIG
Noooooo! This is the WORST type of goal advice for me. Dreaming BIG is great but goal setting BIG is a recipe for disaster. When I think of goals I think of things that are attainable. I think of things that can be readily accomplished. I think of things that move me toward dreams but that are not the dream itself. I break it down like this:
Dream – Buy a house
Goal #1 – Review budget and find areas where I can save more money
Goal #2 – Open a dedicated savings account
Goal #3 – Set up an automatic transfer for savings plans
Goal #4 – Research mortgage rates and home prices
Goal #5 – Talk to mortgage broker about options
Goal #6 – House hunt and make offer
Dream Come True – House Purchased!
See? The dream is buying the house, the goals help me reach my dream. If my goal was to buy a house I’d get discouraged along the way because I wouldn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be.
Doesn’t Work – Get an Accountability Partner
I love my friends as much as the next person but sometimes I get discouraged when I see them achieving things that I want to achieve myself. Jealousy? Envy? Yeah, it is but that’s just being honest. It’s natural for us to feel competition with those that are pursuing the same dreams we are and it’s hard to see them succeed or achieve greater growth than we do. I see it in the blogging world all of the time. I see friends start blogging at the same time thinking they are going to figure out this whole “blogging thing” together only to find that one grows traffic faster, gets more paid sponsorships, and is overall more “successful.” It hurts the friendship and that whole accountability thing is right out the window.
I want my friends to know what I’m working toward but I don’t want them to be holding me accountable for anything. The last thing I need is to feel like I’m letting someone else down.
So, what DOES work?
You see, I have a system that breaks down like this: DREAM -> GOAL -> MICRO GOAL. They build into one another. When it comes to accomplishing things it works backward MICRO GOAL -> GOAL -> DREAM
I get a ton of stuff done. I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I feel positive, charged, excited, and able to take on the world. I’m constantly crossing stuff off my to-do list and I’m seeing progress (no matter how small) and that’s what a mind like mine needs.
Let me take you back to that buying a home dream I mentioned earlier. Remember, I told you breaking it down works like this: DREAM -> GOAL -> MICRO GOAL.
DREAM -> Buy a House
GOAL -> Save more money
MICRO GOAL – Review budget and find areas I can cut expenses
MICRO GOAL – Open a dedicated savings account
MICRO GOAL – Set up an automatic transfer for savings
GOAL -> Learn more about the home buying process
MICRO GOAL – Research mortgage rates and home prices
MICRO GOAL – Talk to a mortgage broker about options
GOAL -> Find our dream house
MICRO GOAL – Identify must-haves and nice-to-haves in a house
MICRO GOAL – Research school districts and neighborhoods
MICRO GOAL – House hunt and make an offer
DREAM CAME TRUE!
See? It’s all about breaking dreams down into goals, then breaking goals down into tiny micro goals. A goal like “save more money” is great. If you’re a specific person then a goal like “save $10,000” is great. Goals are great but a goal like that, about saving money, is too broad for someone like me and while I’m waiting to feel like I’ve accomplished my goal I begin feeling discouraged and frustrated.
That’s why I do micro goals.
The micro goal, “Review budget and find areas I can cut expenses” can be accomplished in a weekend with my husband. It puts us on the same team, working toward the same goal, and gets something crossed off our to-do list.
The micro goal, “Open a dedicated savings account” makes the goal / dream feel real and is something tangible to show us that we are taking steps toward making our dream come true. Also, since it’s a dedicated savings account we can see our savings efforts grow as we put more and more money in to it.
The micro goal, “Set up an automatic transfer for savings” can be completed in 30 minutes by either talking to your HR department or by calling your bank. Simple. Done. Crossed off the list. You left feeling like you’re the King or Queen of the world because you got yet ANOTHER thing done. Cue the happy dance, #amiright?
Now, get to it. Get access to my free resources page so you can download your micro goal setting worksheets and get to making stuff happen!