Goals with a small "g."

“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going” - Earl Nightingale. It’s true, if you don’t know where you want to end up you can’t possibly get there. You need to know your goal if you want to be successful.


Conventional wisdom on goals says that you should set what I call Goals with a big “G.” A goal with a big “G” is very specific. It says exactly what you want to achieve by when and exactly how you are going to achieve it. For example a Goal with a big “G” would say “I am going to lose 20 pounds in weight by March 31st. I will do this by losing 3 pounds the first week, 2 pounds the next week and 1 pound a week every week after that.” Then you come up with a specific plan to achieve your Goal with a big “g” - for example I will reduce my calorific intake by 10% the first week and then I will do 30 minutes of cardio exercise every other day.


For some people Goals with a big “g” are exactly what they need to be successful. Some people need to know exactly what they have to do in advance and that’s OK. For other people Goals with a big “g” are too overwhelming and they simply won’t be successful this way - and that’s OK too.


The alternative to Goals with a big “G” is, wait for it - goals with a small “g.” A goal with a small “g” is much simpler, it just says what your goal is and nothing more. For example a goal with a small “g” would be “I will lose 20 pounds.” That’s it, no deadline and no Plan with a big “P.”


You need to have some idea of how you are going to achieve your goal with a small ”g” but you don’t need to know every single step. A Plan with a big “P” would be saying at the start you are going to reduce your calorific intake by 10% the first week and you are going to do 30 minutes of cardio every other day. A plan with a small “p” is much less defined. A plan with a small “p” is simply I will decide the day before what I am going to do to work on my goal with a small “g” the day before. You set up some time every day to work on your goal with a small “g” but you don’t plan with a small “p” what you are going to do in that time until the day before.


For example, if your goal with a small “g” is to lose 20 pounds then you would set half an hour at say 6.30am every day to work on this goal. On Monday at 6.30am you would decide “I am going to do a 30 minute workout DVD tomorrow.” On Tuesday would do the 30 minute workout DVD and then decide “I am going to go for a 30 minute jog tomorrow.” Then on Wednesday you would go for the 30 minute jog and decide “I am going to make a salad for lunch for go for a brisk walk.”


Neither way is better. Goals with a big “G” work for some people and goals with a small “g” work for other people. It is important you have a goal and that you make make continual progress towards it. However your goal can be very specifically stated and rigorously planned out or it can be simply stated and simply planned. Both approaches can work. I encourage you to pick the one that seems to fit best with your personality.


If you are interested in setting a goal with a small “g” you can try this method using sticky notes that I have written about before.


STEP 1: Write your goal with a small g” on 2 sticky notes.

Make your goal as simple as possible.

Write your goal with a small “g” on 2 sticky notes.

Place 1 sticky note by your bed and read it each morning when you wake up and night before you go to sleep.

Place the other sticky note whether you are going to work on your goal with a small “g” every day.

Pick a consistent time to work on your goal with a small “g” every day and set a reminder to do so.


STEP 2: Write your next action on a sticky note.

At your goal with a small “g” time each day write down a next action for you to do the following day.


STEP 3: Do your next action.

The following day do your next action as written on the sticky note.


STEP 4: Write a new next action on a sticky note.

After having done the written down next action Decide what your next action for the following day is going to be.


STEP 5: Keep repeating steps 3 and 4.



If you have wanted to do something for a while, try setting a goal with a small “g” and see if it works better for you.


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