Why Micro Goals Are Better Than Macro Goals

By: Jennifer Harshman, guest blogger

Micro goals are better than macro goals (regular or “big” goals). Why? Because they are far easier to accomplish than large goals are, and completing individual steps is how we make progress. Crafting the steps so that they are small makes it easy to take them.

What is a micro goal?

A micro goal is a bite-sized, usually single-step action that a person can take toward something positive. A micro goal can be part of a larger goal—and most sources will tell you it is—but it doesn’t have to be. A micro goal can also stand alone. When a micro goal is used to develop a habit by performing that action repeatedly, it may be called a micro habit. But don’t let the micro size fool you. Micro goals and micro habits can change everything.

How do you turn a goal into a micro goal?

You chop the goal into the smallest actionable parts that you can. For this example, I’ll use one of my goals from the past: triple the size of my business by a particular date. When I set any goal, I break it into sub goals and micro goals. That gives me milestones to celebrate and small steps I can do quickly and easily, preferably all in one “sitting.” So when I decided that it was time to grow my business, I set a SMART goal and then broke it into subgoals and micro goals. For the subgoals, I broke the goal into areas, such as income, team members, editing, and coaching/consulting. Then I set micro goals in each area. For the subgoal “Triple the number of people on the Harshman Services team,” I set the micro goal of “Create an editing test.” I wrote a 150-word essay and filled it with all sorts of errors that I’ve seen in the course of editing books and blog posts, and then I wrote directions to the test-takers at the top of the page. In one sitting, I had created a tool that would help me:

  • Weed out the people who have the wrong attitude and are not a good fit for my company.
  • Determine who has sufficient skills and who would need training, and what kind and to what extent.
  • Identify the strengths of each applicant so I could put together a well-rounded team.

Each of those was also a micro goal. So was “Notify each applicant of their results and welcome them to the team or welcome them to try again in the future.”

Micro goals help you more

How does a micro goal help you more? It puts success right in front of you, instead of at the end of the marathon. We know that success begets success. One conquest leads to another. Setting and achieving micro goals builds momentum and it stands to reason that accomplishing the right things (explored in a future post) with micro goals helps you to be more successful both in the short and long term.

So go ahead and set a big goal, a macro goal. Then break it up into subgoals, smaller portions, whether by milestone or by aspect. After that, break those subgoals up into micro goals. Make sure each micro goal is something you can do easily. Want to double your net worth in the next five years? Break that goal down until you have the smallest bite you can imagine. Maybe it’s “Find a discount grocery store where I can save ten dollars this week, and invest that.” Maybe it’s “Call three investment brokers today,” or “Run an ad to sell the boat/car/bike/snowmobile we are making payments on and don’t need.” Keep breaking it down until you’ve found the Goal SPA Units (smallest possible actionable units), and then treat yourself to some success by completing a Goal SPA Unit.

Micro goals for business

If you want to increase the size of your business, here are some examples of micro goals that might help you do that:

  • Call one person you’ve served in the past and ask for repeat business and a referral.
  • Email the people in your network with the news that you’re expanding.
  • Serve someone without expectation of compensation.
  • Identify one thing you could do for a dream client from their social-media posts.
  • Then do that thing for that big-name person.
  • Ask your audience what their number-one frustration is.
  • Create a product or an article with that frustration in mind.
  • Read one chapter of a book in your field. Repeat as needed.
  • Write an article or blog post on one of the topics in your field.
  • Contact one podcaster and find out about being a guest. Repeat as needed.
  • Determine one way you could fill in a gap in the services your competitors offer.
  • Contact them, and offer to fill in that gap.
  • Determine whether your prices are too low, too high, or just right.
  • Look across industries Blue Ocean Strategy style and see what you can apply to your business. Grocery delivery is available in most areas now, but at one time, delivery “belonged” to other industries.

Find the Goal SPA Units for each microgoal you set. Break your goals down into the smallest possible actionable units. Pick one. Do it. Repeat this often, and you’ll develop the habit of using microgoals. Here’s to your success!

Jennifer Harshman is a writing-and-publishing expert serving several publishers and numerous independent authors. Jennifer began editing professionally in 1992, and specializes in serving entrepreneurs and communicators. You can find her at HarshmanServices.com or on her Facebook page.