Small Goals = Big Results
We are just over a month away from THE day where everyone sets new big shiny goals, and most of them last about 3 weeks. I’ve never been one to jump on the New Year’s resolution train, or even the one word craze for the simple reason that I don’t believe those approaches would work for me. I don’t need to wait for January 1st every year to start something new, to set new goals, or to create new habits. I am actually a horribly impatient person when it comes to that — when I want something, and make up my mind, good luck making me wait. I am constantly making new goals, trying new things, forming new habits, and letting things go to make room for what I deem important, all in the hopes of moving forward. For me, one small step at a time has led to big results.
Often, people ask me how I do it… How on earth do I find the time to blog once a week? How has this full-time-working-mama-of-four been able to blog every single week for the last six months? Well, I’ll tell you what I didn’t do… I didn’t make a goal of blogging every week for 6 months, or a year, or longer. That would’ve been way too daunting and too grand of a goal, for me. But 6 months ago, after George Couros gave me a gentle nudge, I simply committed to publishing a post every single Monday (although I did change my day to Tuesday recently). Here is quite literally how the conversation between us went:
A: *sends a blog link on a Monday
G: You need to write more consistently
A: *thinks (maybe said, I don’t remember) I have way too much on my plate already, it’s not that simple, I have four kids to take care of, activities galore, a full time (and then some) job as a teacher… I can’t blog every single week.
G: Monday is your day now. Publish every Monday.
That’s about it. And ever since that day, on June 3rd, where I sent George my blog link to I Am Not Perfect, I haven’t missed a week. Some weeks were harder than others, but I did it, and am still doing it. I set a small goal, and with baby steps every week, it has become a habit and part of my well-being routine.
Last week in George’s newsletter, he shared,
“What I have focused on a lot as I have grown older is the importance of developing habits over simply setting goals. Every year I would set goals for the new year that I never seemed to stick with for more than a month. But when I started focusing on habits, goals seemed easier to achieve. ”
“Life is a constant balance between giving into the ease of distraction or overcoming the pain of discipline. It is not an exaggeration to say that our lives and our identities are defined in this delicate balance. What is life, if not the sum of a hundred thousand daily battles and tiny decisions to either gut it out or give it up?
This moment when you don’t feel like doing the work? This is not a moment to be thrown away. This is not a dress rehearsal. This moment is your life as much as any other moment. Spend it in a way that will make you proud.”
I’ve also recently seen a handful of posts that talk about blogging more regularly, which is a great example of habits leading to goals. Jennifer Casa-Todd shared many incredible tidbits in her post Commitment, blogging, and getting older and stated that it was her 7th week streak of blogging every Sunday. I also really appreciated Dave Burgess‘ post Why Am I Writing to You Today? where he shared that he was writing for the simple fact that he had said he would. I nodded my head in agreement when he said,
“I committed to it and once that decision was done, there wasn’t really any choice.”
It’s true, often making the decision to do something is more than half the battle. Once you’ve committed, and I mean really committed, there’s no turning back. I also find great inspiration in being connected with other educators who have made the commitment to themselves to write consistently. I know to expect a blog post from my dear friends Elisabeth Bostwick every Thursday and Katie Martin every Sunday. Having people who keep me accountable has been very helpful for me, too, and although I know that George probably wouldn’t noticed if I forgot to text him my blog link every week, the fact that I know, is enough. Finally, every so often, I get sweet messages from people saying that my blog post has inspired them in some way. That is truly icing on the cake and one simple message can keep me going on those hard days when I feel I have nothing worthy of sharing.
Having said all of that though, this post isn’t about making you more of a consistent blogger, unless that is a goal that interests you. This post is all about making small manageable goals. Goals that you will be able to maintain and turn into habits. Goals that, although seem very small, will end up making a huge different over time.
Another one of my small manageable goals? Run… no only for my physical health, but mostly for my mental health. I don’t want to run a marathon. I don’t even want to run a 5k, although I know I could. Small. Manageable. Goals. And for me, with all that is on my plate, it’s simply to run for only 10 minutes and to not miss two days in a row. I’ve broken that goal more times than I can count… but… guess what? I’ve been running for 15 months straight now, which is much longer than I ever have before.
Whatever you want to do, start small. Trust me, you don’t need to make these huge gigantic goals to move forward (but hey, if that works for you, awesome… it just doesn’t for me). Make a goal, find people who will inspire you to keep you going even on those hard days, make sure you have accountability partners (don’t be afraid to voice that goal!!), and don’t let yourself break the promises you made to yourself.
Why wait until January 1st, 2020? What small goal can you make for yourself today? Get after it!