I recently asked a few people to set some goals for themselves. And they did!

Big, general, enthusiastic stretch goals! Lots of goals! All the goals!

Does that sound like you?

I don’t do that. I don’t like big goals. They overwhelm me. Depress me. Make me feel like not starting at all, let alone trying to finish.

I like little goals. Teeny tiny goals! And then I put my goals on a list, and get through as many of them by the end of the day as possible. My goal is not to finish the list. It’s to get lots of things checked off!

Here is an example with the laundry. My list looks like this:

turn dirty clothes inside out
wash clothes
dry clothes
put clothes away.

I do that because each one of those is a discrete task for me. I don’t need to do them all at once, and indeed, it would be hard to do that, since it takes time for clothes to wash and dry.

Now when evening comes and I see that I have accomplished two out of four steps, I feel pretty good about things. No failure at all! Tomorrow I will meet the final two goals.

If, on the other hand, my list for the day simply had “laundry” on it then I don’t get to check it off. That’s not much fun at all.

On those occasions when I set very specific goals for my dogs, I break them down into smaller pieces. I do that because I want to meet as many of my goals as I can, and I like checking things off the list.

I’m not really saying you should do that. People respond to lists and goals differently, and eventually, you know what is best for yourself. But if you find yourself setting huge lumps of goals, and then you get depressed when you do not succeed, try setting realistic goals. Small goals!

Success breeds success. That’s just the way it works, both for dogs and for people.

Stretch goals are fine…set them for your long-term plan if you find that helpful, but when it comes to daily or weekly goals? See what happens if you break your goals down into lots of tiny pieces, and then check them off as you reach them. You might be amazed at the difference in your attitude when you start routinely succeeding. Indeed, you might discover that success becomes your new habit.

Nowhere in the definition of goal does it say it has to be hard to attain. So why not get in the habit of setting goals that you can meet, and on occasion, quite possibly exceed?

A worthy goal.