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How Little Habits Can Help You Reach Big Goals

Think little habits can’t help you reach your goals?  Think again.

If you have a goal to lose weight, what does that look like?  Do you set HUGE goals, like I’m going to lose 100 lbs this year?  Do you make sure your goals are specific, measurable and actionable?  Maybe you want to make sure these goals are massive, outrageous and wild improbable.  

I used to have the mindset that if my goals aren’t big enough, they’re not motivating me.  And if you’re not motivated, then your goals are not big enough.

I have found that most of the conventional goal setting advice really doesn’t work well for most people when it comes to cultivating healthy habits.  

For me, the solution has been the exact opposite-cultivating little wins.  

Why Little > Big in the Long Run

We’re obsessed with setting huge goals – but what if the small goals actually work better?

I’m a perfectionist.  So for most of my live I’ve been an overachiever– rather than me setting the goal of losing 50 lbs in a year, I would set the goal to lose it six months. And every time I wouldn’t achieve that goal, I started to doubt if I could really achieve my goals. This happened in every area of my life.  I’d set these huge, massive goals and then feel like a total failure if I didn’t achieve them.  

In the psychological research, this is usually called “self-efficacy” and is the belief that you are capable of reaching your goals.

That’s when I realized that the way I was approaching goal setting might’ve been completely wrong – if huge goals inspired me for ten minutes, but destroyed my self-confidence and self-esteem later, maybe I should set small goals instead.

The big advantage of setting little goals isn’t because they’re easy- it’s because the essence of achieving goals is self-esteem.

If you’re not self-confident, if you don’t believe you’re going to reach your goal, if you don’t think it’s possible, then you’re not going to try.

The key is to figure out how to be confident every single day in the process of going after the goal, so you’ll know that you are going to get there. You’re going to keep on persisting no matter how many roadblocks or walls pop up.

The little wins philosophy is huge in that, if you do something small, you’re going to feel like you achieved and accomplished something, so you’re going to keep doing it.

And if you feel like you achieved something, you’ll probably keep doing it in a positive state of mine.

Don’t Build Habits – Build Confidence

This is goal achievement from a confidence perspective. Once you do the habit once and it’s easy, you’re pretty confident that you can do it again, and you will do it again. If you enjoyed it, you will most likely do it again in the future too.

If you’ve set some huge goal and you don’t like doing it (like working out for two hours), you’re not going to do it.

By building on these tiny, small wins you can easily work your way up to massive habits.  That’s how you take on the the big goals of losing 50 lbs., completing your first triathlon, becoming a great cook, or even saving money for your dream vacation.  

Remember – it’s not about executing on your massive goal in the next 30 days. It’s about building the self-confidence and enjoyment that comes from that feeling of doing a habit that’s a piece of cake.

Keep It Simple Strategy

Today, what if you tried just going smaller – rather than going bigger?

What if you tried working on that one habit at a level that left you feeling like it was easy and enjoyable?

What if the path to conquering the world with your goals is actually to start with something so tiny that no one can even see it?

Using these types of techniques to establish habits can be the difference between success and failure. As you look to establish even more healthy habits, check out my Facebook group, Sisterhood of Healthy Living, where I share more healthy food and activity habits for weight loss and lifelong maintenance.

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