Small Victories

How focusing on the little things can keep you on track.
Published January 1, 2018

Before we know it another year will be upon us, and a new year means New Year’s resolutions, which, for many of us, typically means a struggle.

A struggle to set realistic resolutions in the first place, and then a struggle to actually achieve them – how many of us make new year’s resolutions with the best of intentions and then ultimately give up on them before the year is even half over? But it doesn’t have to be this way – seriously!

As 2018 rolls our way, let’s work on setting ourselves up for success with every single goal we make – we’ve got a strategy that’ll do the trick.

It may sound counterintuitive at first, but the key to winning at goal-setting and -achieving is focusing on small accomplishments.

“Breaking your goal down into smaller chunks makes it more achievable by allowing for small wins along the way,” says Krisha Young, a lifestyle strategist, registered holistic nutritionist and certified life coach.

“Most people go big or go home, and that ultimately sets them up for failure.”

The key, Young explains, is to take your biggest goal and break it down into the smaller steps you need to get there.

The most important step, according to nutrition coach and personal trainer Esther Avant, is to take one of those smaller goals and, instead of focusing on just the outcome, assess what actions are required to increase the likelihood of the goal being achieved.

“For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, first break that into 10 five-pound chunks,” she says. “Then figure out what you actually have to do to lose weight. …The other key is to set your goals so small that it's impossible to fail.”

For example, Avant says, “Instead of jumping right in to working out for 90 minutes per day, try a 15-minute daily walk. You might balk at how insignificant it seems, but in the long run, you'll be much more successful walking daily for months than by working out long and hard for a week.”

Of course, this strategy can be applied to any type of goal, not just weight-loss goals. Whether it’s reading more books each month, meal prepping every Sunday, taking time to express your creativity, or paying off a debt, the trick to achieve any goal is to make it manageable.

“Focus on small actions that you can do consistently and once your first goal becomes engrained enough that you hardly have to think about it, stack on another small goal,” Avant says.