How to Set Simple Goals to Achieve Big Results

It seems like everywhere I look lately people are talking about big goals. Maybe it’s because a whole new decade has started but everyone is dreaming big and aiming high.

Sometimes working towards big goals can feel very overwhelming. But don’t worry, there is a way to reach those big goals without getting overwhelmed.

Today I’d like to show you how setting small, simple goals can help you achieve big results.

Sometimes simple goals are the most effective way to get results.

Sometimes we need to ignore the bigger picture and focus on small, simple goals to acheive big results.

You don’t have to have huge, defined goals, to be able to reach your dreams. I know that many of the goal setting experts won’t agree with that statement but I do.

I think that it’s easy to set big, lofty goals that we want so desperately want to achieve, only to not be able to reach them. That’s why today I’m sharing how I use simple goals to help me get the results I want.

How to Set Simple Goals and Still Reach Your Dreams

If you’re used to setting large goals and working backwards to create steps to reach them, then you’re already familiar with most of the steps I’ll be sharing today. You need to know where you want to end up so you know where you’re going and what you’re working towards.

But that’s where the similarities end. Over the years I’ve found that some goals, no matter how carefully planned, are still overwhelming. When we feel overwhelmed it’s easier to give up. We may not want to, but it feels so insurmountable and before we know it the holiday season is upon us and we’re no closer to reaching that big goal.

That’s where setting simple goals can become really effective. Being easier to reach, they help to create a snowball effect. We complete one and move on to another and then another and then another.

When the holiday season rolls around again, we might not have reached our big goal but we are so much closer to it.

If you want to try setting some simple goals this year, here are the steps I use.

Dream Big

Before we can set our simple goals we need to know what we’re working towards. We need to define our finish line.

What is your dream?

What is something you want to achieve but feel overwhelmed by?

Is there a goal you’ve tried to reach before but couldn’t for whatever reason?

Write it down.

Break it Down

You’ve got your big dream or goal, now it’s time to break it down. Creating milestones or smaller goal posts you want to reach helps to give your dream even more direction. Just because we’re making simple goals doesn’t mean we don’t need to know where we’re going.

What are some smaller goals or categories for this big dream?

Are there certain things or marks you need/want to reach along the way?

Write them down.

Pick One and Break It Down More

Take one of those smaller goals or categories and break it down even more. Just one!

What are the steps or categories for this one?

Are there milestones and goal posts you need to reach along the way to reaching this goal?

Write Them Down.

Repeat and Repeat and Repeat Again

Take one of those steps and break it down again. Keep repeating this process until you’re left with a goal that is the first step.

Set Your Simple Goal

You’ve broken it down as far as you can. Pick one of those steps and set a simple goal. What does achieving that goal look like? How will you get there?

Once you have that figured out, write it down. Twice!

Write it down where you did all your brainstorming and then copy it out on to another page or into your planner. Put it somewhere you can see it often.

Keep your brainstorming but put it somewhere for now. Whether you type it up and save it on your computer or tuck it into the back of your planner. Make sure you hang on to it.

How I set Simple Goals

I know that sometimes it is easier to see a process in action than read about it. So I’ll share how I set simple goals and how I use the work leading up to them.

I’m going to use a health goal as an example.

  • Big Dream – lose 30lbs
  • Break Down 1
    • exercise regularly with a mix of cardio, strength training, and yoga
    • eat healthy foods
    • drink plenty of water
  • Pick One – exercise regularly
  • Break That Down
    • follow a plan of at least three cardio workouts a week
    • go to the gym for strength training at least once a week
    • do a short yoga routine every morning and go to classes three times a week.
  • Once more – At least three good cardio workouts a week
    • build up my stamina so I can start running
    • try going for a 30-minute walk 5 days a week to get started
    • find a gym, fitness class, or online workout videos
    • buy a treadmill
  • My Simple Goal – Go for a minimum 30-minute walk at least 5 days a week.
  • How will I do this
    • take the dog for his walk in the morning or evening
    • go for a walk before going to work
    • find an indoor walking track to use during really cold winter days

I don’t forget about that big goal, but for the next month or so, I will focus solely on getting in that walk. I’m still working towards that big goal, but I’m not overwhelming myself with all the steps or trying to take on too much.

Once I reach my simple goal I’ll pull out my brainstorming notes. I don’t have to brainstorm everything again, just pick the next smallest step. Maybe my next simple goal will be to sign up for a fitness class of some kind.

How to Achieve Those Big Results

If you read through my example above you’ll notice that my really big goal is to lose 30lbs. But the only place I mention that goal is in my brainstorming notes. I know where I want to end up, but if I think about it too much I’ll start to stress about it. Stressing about it will lead to feeling overwhelmed which in turn will lead me to avoid it.

Focusing on simple goals allows us to focus on getting results. We take away the pressure of reaching the big goal and that allows us room to breathe. A small, simple goal is so much more doable.

Once you reach that first major milestone (in my example it was completing at least three good cardio workouts a week) you go back and pick the next one you want to work towards.

Repeat the process. And keep repeating it until you have no more milestones left to reach. That’s the power of simple goals. Oh, they take time and work to achieve. After all, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. But once you start knocking them out, you build up momentum. Just like a small snowball picks up more snow as it rolls down a hill.

That’s how you use these simple goals to achieve big results. You tackle one at a time, over and over, until you’ve reached that big dream.

And this year, when the holiday season comes round, you’re not looking back wondering why you didn’t reach your goal. You’re looking back, seeing all these other goals you reached that are leading you towards making those dreams come true.

Goal Setting Printables You Might Find Helpful

While a notebook, piece of paper, or computer document is really all you need to brainstorm your dreams I know that some prefer to have a little more structure.

Over the years I’ve made a few goal setting printables that you might find helpful for setting your simple goals.

These simple goal setting pages are great for keeping track of that one simple goal you’re currently working on.

Goals don't have to be complicated! This year, try a more simple approach!.

If you’d like something a little more structured for brainstorming I also have two sets of long and short term goal setting printables. Click the images below to check out the posts with those printables in them.

These goal setting printables are a great way to plan your goals and track your progress. Whether you're planning long term or short term, these free printables are sure to help.
Use these free printable goal setting worksheets to make the most of the goals you set by taking some time to write them down and plan them out.

Whether you use printables or notepaper, I hope the tips in this post help you start working towards those big dreams and goals. We don’t need to make leaps and bounds to reach our goals. Small steps will still get us there and we might just find it easier to stick to the path.

Now it’s Your Turn

Do you have a big goal that you want to accomplish but find too overwhelming? Can you try breaking it down to one small, simple, step that you can start right now?

If you’d like to share, drop a line in the comment below or come join us in the Facebook group and lets keep this conversation going.

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