January 20, 2021

Mini & Rewarding

Last week I shared with you about the A in my version of S.M.A.R.T Goals. If you missed that blog post, you can read it here. The big takeaway from last week is knowing your WHY. When you know the why behind your goal you are far more likely to achieve your goal. 

This week I will be sharing with you about M (mini) and R (rewarding). I am going to continue with the goal I shared last week about being healthier. As a quick refresher, the why behind my goal was to live a long healthy life connecting with the people that matter to me. 

The M - Mini lets you break the big aspiring goal into milestones, mini-steps, and even micro-steps. 

The R - Rewarding keeps you motivated. A micro-step reward would be patting yourself on the back and saying "good job". A mini-step reward might be a Zoom call with your grandkids. A milestone reward might be meeting them in a special place. There will almost always be multiple steps in an aspiring goal. If it is truly an aspiring goal it will not be doable in one day. It will take some time to accomplish. 

Milestones, think about them as chunks or how you would break up the aspiring goal into smaller pieces. Usually, milestones don’t have to be in order. They are separate enough to be done almost like an individual task. You could even have different people do them. Sometimes milestones are even too big to achieve immediately, that is where a  mini step comes in. Within a milestone, there will be many mini-steps. Mini steps are usually done in order. Then Micro-steps  are:

  • very small
  • very doable
  • very concrete
  • very easy to get started on

This would be a good place to talk about JND, just noticeable differences. When you are trying to reach an aspiring goal, or any goal really, starting with a JND could be exactly what you need. JND is another way of describing a micro-goal only it helps us stay focused on getting to the next step on the journey. 

Here is an example of a JND regarding my aspiring health goal. I want to be more active so instead of signing up for a marathon, I decide that I am going to walk to the end of my street 2 days a week. Once I have done that for a week or two then I decide to do it 4 times a week.  After that, then I decide to walk a little bit farther each time. After that, I walk the same distance only 1 minute faster than prior times. Each time you accomplish part of a JND you add something that makes it just noticeably different to kick it up a notch and help you reach your main/aspiring goal.

You want to make sure to make it doable and just a little bit more than the last goal -- you don’t want to add so much that resistance will discourage you. Here is another example: I want to be healthier. My why is because I want to play with my grandkids. I want to leave a legacy of activity. Milestone - need to get off meds Mini - get more active Mini - want to be more flexible Mini - want to be at a healthier, easy-to-maintain, weight. For that Mini goal of a healthier weight: Micro - had to choose the program Micro - sign up for the program Micro - then do what the program suggested Micro - track weight. 

Once you are on the path of reaching your aspiring goal it is important to reward yourself along the way. When we know we are going to get some type of reward most of us perform better. This has been ingrained in us since we were youngsters. Remember the star chart in grade school? We would do just about anything to get the gold star to put on the chart showing everyone that we accomplished the task at hand. When you’re looking at rewards, they have to be the same “size” as the step you’ve completed.

Here are a few simple suggestions about how you can reward yourself: Micro-step - a micro goal might be kudos to yourself: “Good job Dale, you did that push-up today” (this is an actual micro-goal that I used in the past). Mini-step - every day for a week…..jump up and down and say “Yay! I did it”….. Or a song or something else that gives you energy and you will enjoy. Milestone - buy a new shirt (for example, doing 25 push-ups 5 times a week for 2 weeks), watch a movie, or do something for myself -- massage, pedicure, or other self-care. Reaching the Aspiring Goal - this is when you bring in the “big” rewards, like a vacation, a new piece of furniture, or a new computer. This week I would challenge you (and myself) to really evaluate our aspiring goals again and dig a little deeper into the why and then create some milestones along the way including some of the smaller mini-goals as well. 

Coach Dale 


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