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Microgoals: Getting started

It’s THAT time, the time for starting fresh with our new year’s resolutions, going strong…and then petering out.  Maybe we’ve just put too much pressure on ourselves or demanded too much.  Maybe we realized there’s just not enough hours in the day to do all that we planned.  Or maybe now, two weeks into the new year, we are just looking at our list of goals on the fridge and saying “Definitely getting started…tomorrow.”

Big goals and resolutions are daunting.  It’s just a fact. Partly because the desired outcome may be a ways down the road.  While absolutely doable, big goals take a lot of planning, calculation, effort and a mindset that you are in it for the long game.  But if that’s the only game in town, discouragement can come easily and quickly.

Enter microgoals.  Exactly what they sound like, these little puppies are the key to not only staying on track for your larger ambitions, but also giving you a better sense of well-being on a day to day basis.  The secret?  Success is addictive, and once you get a daily dose of accomplishment under your belt, you will be craving bigger and better achievements in the future.

How to use microgoals

Though it may seem like child’s play, microgoals are based in simplicity.  They should be easy to achieve, realistic tasks done on a regular basis, preferably daily. They're about doing something NOW, something specific that needs to get done today. Microgoals are great for setting a sense of routine for yourself, which is generally the foundation for achieving any kind of long-term goal.  They can be subsets or stepping stones towards a larger goal, like losing weight or eating healthier, or they can be completely independent unique activities that make you smile or give you a sense of well-being.  No microgoal is too small.  The most important thing is setting one for yourself and sticking to it, day after day, week after week.  That action in and of itself is the real gold metal material.

Here are some examples of microgoals that can work for anyone’s resolutions:

  1. Make your bed every morning.
  2. Set a timer to drink an 8oz glass of water every 2 hours.
  3. At least once a day take the stairs instead of the escalator.
  4. Go for a 15 minute walk every day.
  5. Read for an hour instead of watching TV.
  6. Hold the door open for someone.
  7. Pick up a piece of litter once a day.
  8. Meditate for 10 minutes every day.
  9. Pick one day a week to eat vegan.
  10. Journal 3 pages, stream of consciousness, every morning.

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