Go Small or Go Home: Why Small Goals Are Better Than Big Ones

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

The secret to accomplishing big goals is to set and achieve small goals.

Did you decide that this is the year to make a big change? Maybe get a new job, change careers or start a business?

If so, you’re not alone.

Have you made significant progress on that change?

If not, you’re not alone!

The Myth of Bigger is Better

One of the biggest hurdles to accomplishing goals is the myth that you have “aim high” or “think big” which leads to people believing they also have to act big to accomplish their goals.

It’s not surprising since many of the famous self-help gurus preach about the extremes.

And no one working in the business world has escaped the concept of “stretch goals.” The idea that by shooting for larger than life goals, or those that you are unlikely to achieve, you will work harder and achieve more.

Believing that the one big gulp will get you to your goal may be what’s holding you back.

Instead, science has shown that setting small goals is actually more likely to get you to your big goal.

Small Wins Make Winners

Have you heard of the idea of small wins? It means setting yourself up for smaller, more frequent successes, rather than taking massive action that requires a much longer period of time before you achieve a goal.

This works because of the way your brain works.

Your brain rewards closure, or completing something. When you tell your brain you want something and you take (even itty-bitty) small steps to accomplish it, and each of those little steps is a small goal in itself, you release feel-good chemicals in your brain. These chemicals cause you to feel good about yourself and encouraged about your accomplishments.

So, when you take your big goal and break it into tiny pieces, those small wins cause a constant dose of pleasure chemicals.

And it becomes an infinite loop of accomplishment.

You want to feel the way you felt when you accomplished that small win again.

So, you keep moving, bit by bit, inexorably, toward that big goal.

Good Things Come in Small Packages

There are plenty of studies that show breaking a big goal down into smaller, more achievable goals leads to a much higher success rate.

Rather than waiting for months or years or five years to be successful, you are rewarded with encouraging daily or weekly success milestones.

Also, when you are rewarded more frequently, there is a much greater likelihood you will stay on the path to achieving your bigger goal.

Want to make massive change in your life? Make it one small goal at a time.