The Key to Progress: Mini Goals

The Key to Progress: Mini Goals

by: Emily Thomas

Hi, friend! We're so glad you’ve landed here at the Break It Down Week Series! Here’s Part 1, Part 2Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5

You want to make progress on your goals.
And you want to do it without feeling overwhelmed.

But, how?

There's so much to do.
You're not sure what steps to take.
It feels impossible.

Here's the solution you've been looking for. Today, you're going to break your goals down into mini goals!

Get ready to

No, not the dancing kind of break it down, although this might make you want to bust a move, too! :)

Break your big goals down. Then break them down some more. Then break them down some more, until your steps are so small and simple that you can't help but take action!

If you need a reminder that you don't have to make perfect progress to achieve a goal, you will LOVE today's podcast episode! Listen in to "There's Nothing Magical About January 1" for a big dose of relief and clarity. 

In the episode, you'll learn about the magic of mini goals. Here's why they're so magical:

  • Mini goals keep you motivated because they're easy to do (and our brains like succeeding at small things!).
  • They're measurable, so you'll know when you've made progress.
  • And they'll lead to more progress, per Newton's first law of motion: an object in motion tends to stay in motion (or a gal checking off one mini goal tends to check off another!).

Consider the alternative. If you don't break your goals down? That big picture goal that matters deeply to you will just sit therepristine, untouched, and making you feel guilty. You'll feel overwhelmed by these big goals that you feel like you can't tackle. At the end of the year, you'll be no further along than you are right now. You don't want that to happen, so let's get to breaking it down! 

Mini goals have two simple guidelines. They are:

  1. Small (they might be something you can accomplish in a shorter period of time than a year—perhaps something you can do in a month or in three months)
  2. Simple (they're concrete, so it's easy to know when you've completed them!)

Let's look at a few examples:

Big picture goal: Take care of my body

Mini goals (with starting/action steps):

  • Run a 5k (find a local running shop, get fitted for running shoes, download the Couch to 5k app, pick a date for my first run)
  • Cook more meals at home (ask a friend for her favorite easy meals, make a meal plan for one week, cook dinner at home three nights in one week)
  • Get a baseline read on my health (ask for primary care doc recommendations on Facebook, call and make an appointment, ask about what vitamins to take)

Big picture goal: Grow my faith

Mini goals (with starting/action steps): 

  • Get in the Word more (put my Bible on my bedside table, set an alarm at night to remind me to head to the bedroom and start reading, download a YouVersion reading plan)
  • Deepen my prayer life (choose points throughout the day to anchor in prayer, order a book about prayer, get on my knees every morning)
  • Join a church family (ask for a recommendation from someone I trust, explore potential church websites, look up the times of Sunday services)

Big picture goal: Love my children well

Mini goals (with starting/action steps): 

  • Set boundaries around my phone use (move my charger to the kitchen counter, turn off notifications, put my phone away from 5-8 every night)
  • Spend the hour before dinner together (spend some time thinking about their love languages, move a read-aloud book to our coffee table so it's easier to pick up and read)
  • Get to know their friends (reach out to one friend's mama for a park date, ask each child what they love about their best friend, set aside time to sit outside in the afternoon/evening while they play with the neighbors)

So helpful, right!? Breaking big goals down into bite-sized pieces makes them do-able. Making progress on your mini goals will feel so good because, little by little, you'll inch towards that big picture goal—no perfection required! Little by little steps really do add up. You don't have to (and you can't!) do everything at once! That's what we'll be chatting about tomorrow. :)

Today's action step: Choose one of your goals and brainstorm 3 mini goals for it. Bonus: brainstorm 3 starting/action steps for each mini goal!

More for you:
—Coming tomorrow for you here on the blog: 4 fool-proof tips to make progress on your goals!
—Watch today's webinar with Lara: How to Achieve Your Goals.
—Listen to today's brand-new Cultivate Your Life podcast episode! It's SO GOOD!
—Get our best tips for writing a PowerSheets® Tending List.
—See how Lara uses mini goals in her January Tending List.
—Get your PowerSheets®. Use code BREAKITDOWN for 25% off your order of One-Year PowerSheets and get started on your best goals now!

Want help breaking down one of your goals? We're standing by to do some goal coaching in the comments! Leave a comment with your goal and we'll give you some mini goal ideas! :)

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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