Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both.
-- John Andrew Holmes

 

 

Wednesday, May 29, 1996

Micro-Goals

One of the best ways to experience success is to... experience success. By that, I mean that success in reaching your goals is largely a product of momentum.

If you can keep the momentum going long enough, you can reach any goal you set out to achieve. To build and maintain that momentum often requires a gradual process of setting and reaching higher and higher goals.

This is where the concept of micro-goals can help. Micro-goals take the concept of “one day at a time” and break it down even further. Micro-goals will get you in the habit of setting goals, and in the habit of reaching them as well. This, in turn, will provide you with the experience of success on a regular and continuing basis.

What is a micro-goal? It is a small, easily achieved portion or fraction of a goal. Suppose your ultimate goal is to write a book. That is a daunting task, and one that cannot be easily achieved in an afternoon, a week, or even a month. So you break it into micro-goals. A micro-goal might be to write a paragraph in the next 5 minutes. Now that is something you can do immediately. Your success in reaching this micro-goal will come quickly, and the experience of that success will inspire you to set another goal. Perhaps a chapter by tomorrow afternoon. Or perhaps another 4 paragraphs in the next twenty minutes. These fractional goals are all helping you reach your ultimate goal. However, since they are quickly achieved, they prevent you from being overwhelmed, while at the same time providing you with very positive feedback.

The key to reaching your ultimate goal is to attach these micro-goals end to end in an upward spiral. Use micro-goals to get yourself in the habit of setting and reaching goals, and to move steadily in the direction you have chosen.

— Ralph Marston

 

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