“So what kind of day did you have?” I asked a friend today.
“It wasn’t a day of big things; it was a day of little things”, he said.
The conversation I had with my friend spawned the idea to write this article. While setting goals is great, it is very easy to forget that little steps ultimately lead to the bigger leaps that we try to take. Goal setting is absolutely necessary and many of us recognize the need to set goals because it gives us motivation to attain something.
Dr. Edwin Locke, pioneer of goal setting research not only highlighted the importance of setting goals that were difficult, but also emphasized the importance of setting specific goals. For a long time now, I have been preoccupied-like most of us-with the fact that it would be great to lose weight and have set and reset my weight loss goals multiple times. It is only when I implemented Locke’s theory, by specifying the steps necessary, with time frames, accompanied with realistic health and exercise plan, did I begin to see the results. And No! I am not going to show you my before and after pictures,kind of show, but I did lose a modest 15 pounds. A feat I had never before been able to accomplish.
You see it is not the big step – as important as that is-that I needed to take, it was the little and specific steps I needed to take in order to accomplish the big ones. Locke goes on to state that the more difficult your goal is, the harder you work (dah!) and therefore the better you perform. So what happens if you set difficult goals that you cannot achieve? That is why being realistic is important.
Know your strengths and your weaknesses, and then set goals that match what you can do.
The little steps are as important as the big ones you take.
I have been trying to implement this theory in my life since I got let go in my job. I realized that I needed to be working on putting out a newer, smarter, improved version of myself by the time I got my next job. I outlined the big goal which was to be a writer, and start my own business as well. I then outlined my little steps that would get me there. These consisted of educating myself on the ins and outs of my business idea and getting to know my niche market, honing my writing skills, listening and participating in discussions that would help me grow and finally, taking an active interest and giving my best performance in the little things that would ultimately lead to the big ones.
So while you are thinking of all the things you want to accomplish. Think of the little things you will need to accomplish to realize the big ones. Come up with challenging and realistic goals then specify what you will need to do in order to realize your big goal. Have enthusiasm for the little steps and constantly review your steps to see if they are accomplished satisfactorily to fit the bigger picture you have in mind.
- Seven Principles for Goal Setting (stevenaitchison.co.uk)
- Goal Setting Simplified (theminimalistpath.com)
- 8 Reasons You Won’t Reach Your Goals (timemanagementninja.com)
- T NATION | Samurai Strategies for Strength (t-nation.com)
- Power of Goals, Focus and Action ” Shankaranand’s Blog (anandls.weblog.com)