Studies have shown that goal-setting is an extremely helpful process that increases your chances of success by close to 50% (Morrisey, 2016). According to Anderson (2013), a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews showed that people who wrote down goals, tracked those goals consistently, and shared those goals with friends and family had a 76% success rate! Compared to the 8-10% success rate of New Year’s resolutions, writing down your goals, tracking your goals, and sharing your goals increases your chances of success by almost nine times. Nine times! I like it when the odds are in my favor and writing down your goals will increase your odds of goal achievement.
The simple act of writing down or typing out your goals will dramatically increase your chances for goal achievement. An exercise that can take about 10 minutes could dramatically increase your chances of reaching your goals! It is the first step to living your best life. Once you write down or type out your goals, they now become a physical artifact you created. Writing down your goals makes them real and gives you a target to shoot for. But in order to achieve your goals you need to take action! Create some Small Wins – that you can consistently achieve – to get you moving toward your target. Once those Small Wins become automatic add more to them and repeat the process!
One of the best examples of Small Wins = Big Gains is Justin Willoughby and his weight loss story. Justin Willoughby lost 600 pounds over a 7-year period without drugs or surgery! His focus was on taking one step at a time. He even has a following called “One Step Nation.” His story is incredible and he used small wins to create big gains – or losses in this case! The best part about his story is he didn’t take any drugs or use surgeries for shortcuts. He kept his focus on taking small steps and over time those small steps – compounded with consistency – created the body weight that once seemed impossible. That is the essence of Small Wins = Big Gains! If you can create easy, daily actions and be consistent with those actions, you will be able to achieve anything you want to achieve!
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The small wins Willoughby created started to build momentum. He went from standing up from his chair and sitting back down, to going on walks, to eventually working out 90 minutes a day. He created a habit of exercising daily and then expanded on that habit. Once the habit was created and he was able to complete the habit consistently, he began adding more to it. For example, he started the habit of taking one step a day. Then, once he got comfortable with that routine, he added to that habit and began taking two steps per day. He continued to repeat that process over and over.
He started with something very small – something he could easily accomplish. Then he moved on to a higher level after accomplishing a small goal and building momentum. You can do the exact same thing on a different scale or different area of your life. You just need to break down your goals into easy, actionable steps and use a system to stay disciplined with those actions. Consistent actions create habits, habits create automatic rituals, and those rituals over time will bring your dreams to reality.
Did Justin’s story make you think of an area of your life you want to change? Maybe you’re not in a literal life-and-death situation like Willoughby, but we all have vices that we want to fix or improve. To make significant changes, we need to create small wins each day, or week that change our old habits. It’s like the saying, “How do you eat an entire elephant? One bite at a time!” Figure out what it is you are trying to achieve and create some Small Wins that get you closer to your goal! Even if it’s only one step, create the habit and then add to it once the habit becomes automatic. Repeat the process, and over time you will achieve your Big Goals!
Anderson, N.L. (2013). 5 ways to make your new year’s resolutions stick. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2013/01/03/5-ways-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick/#1279dd4f1ebd
Morrisey, M. (2016). The power of writing down your goals and dreams. Retrieved from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-power-of-writing-down_b_12002348