Got big dreams? Set micro goals.
The power of tiny actions
Hey there —
Have you ever heard the adage “How do you eat an elephant?” (Answer: one bite at a time.🍴)
While this sounds like a recipe for some major indigestion, the meaning behind this saying offers an important bit of wisdom — if you’re facing an overwhelming task, take it one step at a time.
But when it comes to making goals, even when we do break down large ventures into little steps, we still tend to overestimate our ability to complete those smaller tasks.
Or, to continue our earlier metaphor — we’re really good at biting off more than we can actually chew.
And when we stretch our limits and inevitably miss our target of writing 500 words a day or depositing $50 a week into our savings account, we quickly get discouraged and struggle to find the motivation to keep going.
The solution? Instead of taking big bites, aim for tiiiiny nibbles. Or in other words, if you’ve got big dreams, set micro goals.
Micro goals can be applied to anything, whether you’re looking to get more fit, write a novel, launch a business, or build a new habit.
The key is that when we say micro goals…we mean micro. 🔬
Where long-term (or “macro”) goals are focused on a broader future outcome, and short-term goals should be focused on the near future, a micro goal is focused on what you can do right now.
That means taking your goal, breaking it down into steps, and then shrinking down those steps as far as they can go.
As CEO coach Sabina Nawaz tells her workshop participants, “You will know you’ve truly reached the level of a micro habit, when you say, ‘That’s so ridiculously small, it’s not worth doing.’”
For Nawaz that meant when she started running, her first micro goal was to lay out her gym clothes the night before. Next goal: to simply put those clothes on in the morning. And once she made it to the gym, to walk on the treadmill for just 10 minutes.
Two years later, she ran a 10K — something she’d spent decades unsuccessfully trying to accomplish.
For you, a micro goal or habit might look like writing a title for your next YouTube script, meditating for just 30 seconds, or reading a single paragraph of a book before bed.
From there, you can move on to your next micro goal (or repeat), checking off each one like a to-do list.
Not only can micro goals help you beat procrastination by offering a very achievable next (or first!) step, research has shown that the small hits of dopamine you’ll get from ticking off these tiny tasks “keeps the 'reward engine' engaged and will fuel you to perform longer and better, even if the task is menial.”
And the sense of progress you’ll gain won’t just fuel your motivation, it can also increase your happiness and make you more likely to think to yourself, today was a good day.
With micro goals, you don’t have to shrink your dreams — just the steps you take to get there — in order to realistically move forward.
Aim big, but start small…and eventually all those tiny bites will add up to something much greater. 🐘
To achieve big goals, start with small habits
by Sabina Nawaz
If you’ve been stuck in a self-defeating spiral of setting big goals only to fall short, be sure to check out the rest of Sabina Nawaz’s insights on micro-habits.
She offers more info on why incremental shifts are the key to making major changes, plus five steps to help you succeed with micro-habits — including how to know when it’s time to level up (and by how much). 🤏
A running routine for actual beginners
Interested in becoming a runner, but completely intimidated by “beginner” running workouts? 🥵
In this Instagram post, physical therapist Dr. Casey Guthmiller shares a running routine that encourages you to take it slooow (yes, even micro, run-for-just-15-seconds slow) so you can ease into running safely, effectively, and enjoyably.
This quiz will tell you exactly what type of writer you are
By Shaunta Grimes
Are you a Hesitater, Skipper, Spiller, Teacher, or Artist? ✍️
Author and teacher Shaunta Grimes has created a quiz to help you find out.
Click the link to learn about these five writer archetypes, their strengths and struggles, and how you can lean into your archetype and build support systems that will help you be a happier writer and succeed at your writing goals.
🎧 Identify the small steps to building a great business (whether you're a solo-creator, local restaurant, or large organization) with Turning the Flywheel by Jim Collins. Bonus: it’s only a 2-hour listen on audiobook.
📚 Daisy Jones and The Six is a fictional story loosely based on the rise of Fleetwood Mac, told through the lens of individual interviews many years later. It's a New York Times best seller for a reason — it rocks.
🗞️ Sometimes the only way to survive the weekly news headlines is to laugh your way through them. Thankfully, there’s a panel of comics here to help with that on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! news quiz podcast.
🎬 Congrats to all the recent graduates out there! If you’re looking for a great summer kickoff film, Booksmart — a comedy about two high school seniors attempting to cram 4 years of teenage experiences into one night — is a hilarious celebration of friendship and a reminder to work hard and make time for fun.
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella