Why Small Goals are More Ambitious Than Big Goals

When we set goals there’s a tendency to adopt a “Go big or go home” mindset. Goals should be difficult, lofty, ambitious.

Setting goals like this can certainly help us to achieve great things, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to be successful. Here, Stephen Guise argues that big goals can be counterproductive to reaching our full potential.

Because of the psychology of smaller goals, you are more likely to adopt a limitless mindset. Not only are you accustomed to overachieving your initial aim (the fundamental idea behind limitlessness), but you lack that upper limit goal that tells you when to stop.

Large goals are an end. Small goals are a beginning.

With my 50 words a day mini habit, I’ve written more than 5,000 words in a single day. (If you knew how lazy I am, you’d find that more impressive.) But I would never had done that much with a larger goal of say, 2,000 words a day. Once I hit that magic number, I would feel immense satisfaction and stop for the day.

I’ve always found that small “hyper-achievable” goals work better for me than larger, more demanding ones. When the goal is so easy that I have no excuse not to do it, I’ll do it, and then I’ll do more. There’s never a time when I’m tempted to make an excuse because the effort required not to fail is so low that’s easy to get started. Then, once I’ve started, it’s easier to keep going.

Success is often about overcoming that initial inertia and small goals are super effective at doing that. String enough of them together, and the sky tis truly the limit.