People easily visualize long-term goals but fail to see the small strides that must be taken to reach their goal. “That’s it. I am going to save $10,000 this year.” (ten seconds later) “Wow, those shoes are cool!”We are human and things happen! We are surrounded by temptations and maintain the motivation to work towards goals can be difficult.
Zig Ziglar stated it perfectly:
Small victories make a huge impact in motivating and steering you in the direction of achieving your overall goals. Just make sure your short term goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
I am an occupational therapist in the school setting and spend my time writing plenty of long term goals. This year, I wrote a long term goal for a student to increase his independence in a self care task. We have a lot of things to accomplish to be 100% independent in self-care, but baby steps are key. Otherwise, the goal would be too overwhelming for him and me as a therapist. I had to visualize the big picture and realize what would be possible to achieve this year for this student.
The first step is the hardest
I chose hand washing as the first self-care task to tackle. In the beginning of the year my student needed assistance in all 6 steps. I started providing him rewards to motivate him for each step he achieved with independence. It seemed to make the most sense. If you are trying to change a behavior in your life to achieve a goal, what makes the most sense as the first step? Try to do that first step really well!
Success is a rolling stone
Once my student had the motivation and he started to achieve success, no matter how small, the momentum grew and grew. Before long he was completing all 3 steps independently! Woo-hoo! If you make a small goal for yourself and you are doing it on a consistent basis, congratulations! It feels great and you should be able to keep that momentum going.
It’s all about the journey
Remember, it is the small steps on the journey that count, not just the finish line. My student was empowered by the small steps that he achieved. As a result, he was able to appreciate the progress that has been made! These small victories sets us up for success to reach our end result. We not only visualized the end result, but we lived it! If you don’t accomplish your goals immediately, that’s okay! Think about how far you have come and all you have changed in your life by achieving the small steps!
The end result for this student is to have the ability to independently care for himself. Now that is a victory in itself.