4 Reasons You Need Mini Goals and How to Create Them

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Several years ago, when the hubby and I were deep in credit card debt, we got to the point that we knew something had to give. We were paying so much every month on just credit cards that it could’ve paid for me a housekeeper once a week, an extravagant date night at least once a month, and way nicer clothes than I was buying. Since I’ve always paid the bills, I was solely the person who held the stress and anxiety of these bills being paid every month. (I can’t tell you how many times this sent me into nervous breakdown mode and caused a giant fight between the two of us.)


Then one day, the husband came across Dave Ramsey on the radio, and was utterly entranced. He shared with me all the things this ‘Mr. Ramsey’ shared about how to get out of debt and make a financial plan to cover your ass should anything happen. I listened to him drone on about it for so long I finally gave in–I mean, I would like to buy clothes somewhere other than Target someday, right? So we decided to get serious about a budget and paying off those credit cards.


The method Dave Ramsey recommends is his ‘debt snowball method’. So we decided–Hey, we can spare X amount every month to apply extra on our smallest amount owed. (If you’ve heard of the method, you know how it works.) So there we went, budgeting…me being the evil financial sentinel that had to put my foot down multiple times a week on going out to eat, buying extra clothes, going out of town on trips to just sight-see, etc. I hated it. He hated me. We hated the whole situation. But we thought we were sacrificing for the greater good, and accomplishing something.


But what really happened was that we got a little paid off, then had some emergency and put off paying the extra toward debt. And it would happen over and over so that we weren’t making headway. Finally we got so frustrated that we tried to figure out if it was even worth it for me to go back to work–factoring in daycare for 2 kids. {For those of you saying that’s a stupid question, I should add in that my husband’s job has ALWAYS included travel an average of 3 nights a week, and extensive travel other days where he may not get back until 8pm. So if anything happens with the kids, I am the SOLE person leaving work, or coming in late, or taking the whole day off. It’s SO hard to find something that incredibly flexible that we finally just gave up. Well, until I found blogging. 🙂 }


After some time, I became seriously depressed at our situation, and felt like there was no hope. I honestly wondered if we should file for bankruptcy at one point. My whole point of this story is that even though we set a goal to pay off credit card debt, we never detailed out our goal. We never had a real plan. (Or a backup plan for that matter…)


We never created mini-goals. 

goal setting, mini goals, writing goals

So you’ve written down your list of goals, imagined yourself achieving these goals, and set a deadline for them. Now what? Just live your life as usual and wait for the magic to happen?? Yeah, I wish, too. In real life, the next step would be breaking each goal down into ‘mini goals’. A mini goal is a stepping stone needed to ultimately reach your goal. So what’s the friggin’ point of mini goals when I’ve already listed my shiny golden goals? Well, my friend, there are several.


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1. First is the simple fact that you’re breaking your goal down into steps. Some people don’t think they need little steps detailed out, but unless you have a photographic memory and laser-focus, it’s so easy to wander off the pathway to your goal, you probably won’t even realize you wandered until you’re nearly lost! Little steps are so easy to break up and do one at a time, with a deadline, that it makes it easy to have a little checklist to make it clear what needs to be done one thing at a time.


2. Mini goals let you feel progress being made. Seriously, do you feel like you’re making progress if you ‘think/feel’ like you’re doing well on your journey, or if you can SEE the checklist being mowed down like the boss you are?? If you know for a fact you’re halfway to your goal, rather than ‘think’ you’re there–that’s half the battle. Seeing progress is serious motivation! 


3. Mini goals let you track the progress. Ok, try to follow me here… If you have a list, you know what’s to come, and what you’ve already knocked out. So what happens if something comes up that pushes everything to the wayside for a few days/weeks/months?? If you’ve broken your goal down, there’s no need to worry. You just look at your list and pick up where you left off. And–if there happens to be any step that was time-sensitive, you can easily see which one that was and reassess your list if things need to be reordered or dates need to be pushed back. 

4. Mini goals and your checklist allow you to reassess and re-evaluate easily and effectively. For example, if you’re taking a week longer to achieve each mini-goal than expected, and it’s stressing you to the max just to do that, maybe you can see at this point that you need to extend each mini-goal deadline by a week to keep things moving at a more comfortable pace that doesn’t make you want to drive off a cliff every day just to achieve each mini goal. 


I’ll be honest, the thought of breaking down our debt issue into bite-sized steps seemed a little overwhelming at first. But once we did it, and posted our goals, mini-goals, and deadlines in a place where we could both see them, we both had to be on the same page–I mean, they were staring us both in the face all the time! Plus, every time we achieved one of those mini-goals, we would cross it off. It’s so exciting to see actual progress being made!! 


Have you broken down your goals into mini-goals yet? If you’d like to try using the S.M.A.R.T. Goal setting method to break them down and make a plan, click HERE.


Let me know how your goal process is going, I’d love to hear from you!!


*By the way, we DID get all our credit card debt paid off, plus we both own our vehicles outright, and have the savings accounts built up that that crazy-smart ‘Mr. Ramsey’ recommends. So I’d say we finally got our goal-setting down and figured out. 😉


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