Celebrating Small Wins Toward Big Goals

I often find it exhausting when I consider some of the personal goals I’ve set for myself. Even though I use the SMART Goal creation model, sometimes achieving those goals feels far away. That feeling of, “I’m almost there…not yet, but close” helps me to apply pressure to myself and motivates me to keep going, but it still can seem daunting as I feel the weight of that big goal.

This was put into perspective after I read a chapter recently from The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Achor includes an activity in the book about creating a Zorro Circle, which looks much like a dart board with a bullseye in the middle. With a Zorro Circle, we’re told to think of the bullseye as our ultimate goal and the rings around it as small steps and “wins” along the way. Instead of constantly focusing efforts and energy on that small red bullseye, we should focus on the outer rings, which I now call my baby steps. When I take these steps, they are at my pace and it makes me feel good along the way to reaching my ultimate goal. They help make my greater intention reality.

I actually already do this with some of my personal goals, and I didn’t even realize it until some were used as examples in the book:

  • Big Goal: Run regularly, four times a week by the end of 2015 
    • Baby Step: To ensure I go for a run in the morning, I sleep in my running clothes (the comfortable ones)
  • Big Goal: Lose 14 total inches from my body by November 2015
    • Baby Step: To feel a sense of urgency to go to kickboxing, I put my kickboxing gloves on as soon as I log off my computer at 6 pm
  • Big Goal: Live a cleaner food lifestyle
    • Baby Step: At night I place a large water bottle in my office on my desk—now I have no excuses; I’m drinking water the next day
  • Big Goal: Go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier to enjoy the sunrise, and start and end every day for myself (beginning and end of day are not work-related)
    • Baby Step: To make sure I read first thing in the morning, the book is next to me in bed
    • Baby Step: Start watching series on Netflix instead of live seasons so I feel like I can watch anytime and not deal with the catch-up factor; this will reduce the amount of time I watch TV 

Some of these may seem extreme, but they work for me. If you were to create a Zorro Circle, what would be your bullseye and your baby steps along the way?


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