We often stand emotionally drained and tired from failing to change. Making a New Year’s resolution to be more active, and failing to keep it every year, gets us frustrated. As a result, we begin to think that lasting change is impossible, and question whether we are failures, but we are not. Close upon, when we ask ourselves the question, “have I been trying to achieve a realistic first step or goal, or Am I totally focused on a far-off big dream?” we prime ourselves for the ideas behind how to think small to reach bigger goals. To continue with, how to think small to reach bigger goals, starts us focusing on the day-to-day processes or little tasks to check off on the way to a goal. This approach is important since focusing entirely on achieving a big long-term dream often discourages us and makes us quit.
Furthermore, it helps us to plan the right incremental steps, goals, and dreams, to avoid stagnation and continue growing. Our goals are the quantifiable intermediate plans we make for accomplishing our dreams. Dreams are what we have not accomplished before. Saddling on, dreaming won’t get us through the day-to-day trials that life puts in our way. Instead, focusing on the next right small step, makes us less likely to quit.1, 2, 3
How To Think Small To Reach Bigger Goals Spotlights
1. Differentiate Between Dreams, Goals, And Steps
Dreams are plans you haven’t ever achieved previously, that typically take more than three months to achieve, like an app developer aspiring to cross the coveted one million download mark for the first time. Different from, goals are the intermediate plans we make for achieving our dreams. They are more quantifiable than dreams. Illustrating with, the dream of becoming a rock star is infinitely less quantifiable than the goal of selling 1,000 copies of a song. Along with, steps feature as the little tasks to rule off on the way towards a goal.
Expounding further, a teacher’s dream can headline as a desire to change the world by teaching students to become successful leaders. Next, her goal can spotlight as getting a struggling student in math by the end of the week. In line with, her initial steps might unfold as finding a student who is struggling at math, inviting the student to meet with her, and having them both block off times to get together. What is more, it is constructive to plan goals that take about one week to accomplish and steps that take fewer than two days.4
2. Focus On Your Short-term Goals And Attendant Small Steps
What we focus on often becomes an anchor or reference point that affects our responses.5 Implications to note with, focusing on our long-term dreams frequently starts us planning fairly big steps that can cause us to get frustrated and quit before we achieve our goals. Instead of focusing on dreams of getting rich, choose to focus on specific short-term goals, like not losing money this week. Complementary to, it pays to kick this question out of your mind, “when will I hobnob with the rich?” Dreams drive our motivation, but focusing entirely on them starts us reaching out for more than we can handle. In consequence, we open our doors to frustration.
3. Plan The Right Incremental Steps, Goals, And Dreams
This push keeps us away from rut and ensures that we continue to grow in the various dimensions of our lives. The idea in plain, if you plan to increase to 10,000 the number of steps you walk in a week, do a realistic self-assessment, first. For this dream, it remains productive not focus on and start straining to accomplish it immediately. For starters, find out how much you typically walk in a week. Then increase it slightly for the upcoming week. Continue this process of setting slightly higher weekly walking goals until you reach your desired dream. With this approach, you stand a better chance of succeeding. This optimism is backed by science. We feel good based on what we expect to accomplish, not on what we actually accomplish. In plain, we feel good when we achieve our expectations.6 So, it pays to set realistic weekly goals. Achieving them lifts our energy and galvanizes us forward.
To continue with, we can harness the ideas of how to think small to reach bigger goals, in our entrepreneurial pursuits. For instance, a technology application builder can get users to gradually give information. Not overwhelming them with too many buttons the first time they use the product, makes them comfortable. As a result, your chances of increasing user engagement and retention, soars.
4. Reflect On A Completed Behaviour, Step, Or Goal
Reflection spotlights as looking back on a successfully completed behaviour or action and having a small celebration. This celebration does not require us to invite a crowd of family and friends. Instead, it calls us to quietly celebrate internally for a few seconds. The aim is to make us realise that we did well and achieved our goal. Reflection helps us to keep up constructive personal and business behaviours. For instance, we can celebrate our trip to the gym today by eating a favourite food or spending a minute to congratulate ourselves. More to this, reflection helps us to consolidate effective strategies, and cultivate within the idea that change is attainable. The process helps us to realise that we were able to complete the last step, and the step before. So, we should be able to complete the next step or the next higher goal.
How to think small to reach bigger goals, draws in ideas that stimulate us to stick to our goals and dreams. As this notion calls upon us to break our long-term dreams into short-term weekly goals and daily small steps, we keep ourselves on the path that leads to our dreams.
1. Shelley E. Taylor, Lien B. Pham, Inna D. Rivkin, and David A. Armor, “Harnessing the Imagination: Mental Simulation, Self-Regulation, and Coping,” American Psychologist 53, no. 4 (1998): 429–439.doi:10.1037/0003–066X.53.4.429.
2. Lien B. Pham and Shelley E. Taylor, “From Thought to Action: Effects of Process-Versus Outcome-Based Mental Simulations on Performance,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25, no. 2 (1999): 250–260.
3. Gabriele Oettingen, “Postive Fantasy and Motivation,” The Psychology of Action: Linking Cognition and Motivation to Behavior, ed. P. M. Gollwitzer and J. A. Bargh, (New York: Guilford, 1996) 236–259.
4. Sean Young, Ph.D, “Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process For Changing Your Life For Good,” (New York: HarperCollins, 2017 ) 29.
5. Karen E. Jacowitz and Daniel Kahneman, “Measures of Anchoring in Estimation Tasks,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21 (1995): 1161–1166.
6. Philippe N. Tobler, Christopher D. Fiorillo, and Wolfram Schultz, “Adaptive Coding of Reward Value by Dopamine Neurons,” Science (New York, N.Y.) 307, no. 5715 (2005): 1642–45, doi:10.1126/science.1105370.