It’s that time of year when we all collectively vow to be better versions of ourselves. Better people, better musicians, better performers, (all while staying hydrated and getting more sleep). And the truth is that although these goals are often well-intentioned and we start out the year with all the gusto we think we need to carry through and succeed, for most of us, we’ll soon end up burning out and struggling to keep up with the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
We are human after all. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, most of the time when we’re not following through on the goals we’ve set for ourselves (New Years or not) it comes down to just a few key things:
- The goals are too lofty
- There are too many goals
- There’s no plan for how to achieve those goals
All of these things can be solved through one thing: creating micro-goals. If you’ve ever struggled to stick to a New Year’s Resolution or you’re just looking for a refresh (or reading this mid-year) this article is for you.
So, what exactly are micro-goals and how can you implement them?
What’s a micro-goal?
A micro-goal is exactly what it sounds like. It’s just a bite-sized version of whatever your loftier goal is. Say for instance you want to gain 10k followers on social media as a way to increase fan engagement and lead to more and better opportunities online and off.
That goal by itself sounds incredibly lofty. But, a micro version of that goal might be to gain 100 new followers this month.
How can a micro-goal help me achieve more?
Here’s the cool thing about micro-goals. Because they’re smaller versions of your big goal, they’re actually achievable in a much shorter amount of time, and they help you move faster.
They do this by:
-Giving you the confidence to keep moving forward
-Helping you learn and pivot quickly. It’s a lot easier to find out if something isn’t working and change it when you have small, easily measurable goals
If you set a goal like “gain 20k followers” that feels pretty exciting but also pretty exhausting and difficult to measure in the day-to-day or week-to-week. And no matter how much success you see in the beginning, you’re not going to feel like you’re moving close enough to your goal (since reaching it will take more than a week or a month) and you’re going to end up burning out.
As human beings, it is imperative we see some kind of success in the short term, in order to have the stamina to keep moving towards the long term.
Think about it. If you have a goal like “gain 20k followers” or “sign to a label” or “get on a major festival” those are things that take time. No matter how passionate, talented, or dedicated you are, those aren’t going to happen overnight and generally, they aren’t going to happen in the course of a few months either. They are the product of months and months of building blocks put into place.
By having a micro goal in place “ie: gain 100 new followers this month” you not only have a goal that’s achievable, but it also quickly teaches you what does and doesn’t work. And once you know what works, you can begin to scale it and take things to the next level.
And from there you can always increase as you and your goals grow. So while this month your micro-goal may be 100 new followers, once you create a formula that works you can begin to scale it to 200 new followers, 500 new followers, and so on.
How can I use micro-goals as building blocks to my larger goals?
Sticking to the above example, and remembering that micro-goals help you learn quickly and grow faster, you can use them to quickly create stepping stones that get you to your larger goal.
So for instance, if your goal is 10k followers, why is that important to you? What’s the real goal there? Is it to get attention from festivals? Is it to get label interest? Once you know that, you begin to create the stepping stones. That might be to first create a formula for gaining followers, then once you have that down you figure out what the next step is in getting closer to your goal and conquer that. And so on, continuing to create stepping stones as you figure out what is working (getting you closer to that big goal) and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t working so that you can eliminate it more quickly.
Here’s the short and sweet of it: we all have good intentions when it comes to creating our goals. And the way we’ve structured it throughout society is to have those be large, clear-cut, easy-to-understand goals that highlight the finish line.
My suggestion is instead of highlighting the finish line and having no plan in sight for how to get there, that you know where we want to go, but instead create micro-goals to get there.
After all, you wouldn’t get in the car knowing only that you wanted to drive cross-country but with no map or direction for how to get there. Sure, you could just start driving and eventually you might end up somewhere close to where you want to be….but it’ll take a lot longer, cause a lot more frustration and burnout, and in the end, you’re still not exactly where you want to be.
Chime in with a comment below—have you tried micro-goals? What are yours for 2022?
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves ice cream, reality TV, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.