Small Steps, Big Impacts: Goal Setting, Micro Habits, and Personal Development
Nowadays, it isn’t difficult to search any social media outlet and find others splaying hashtags and markers for personal development. It isn’t limited to resolutions that populate many timelines around the start of the year, but rather throughout. We want progress, and we want to note it in all the areas that we value: relationships, health, and careers.
It becomes easy to lose ourselves in an addictive stupor, scrolling other people’s pages and profiles. Subconsciously, we compare ourselves with a perceived ideal God never intended for us to idolize, but rather encounter inspiration for attaining our own goals.
Emotion can become overwhelming as we scan our own lives and sometimes feel that we’ve come up short. We may not be concerned with outpacing our neighbors’ particular goals, but rather, champion and celebrate their achievements. Yet, when we seem to be stalled with progress toward our aims, the unspoken comparison may trigger undeniable pain.
Even if we don’t share the aspirations of those in our social circles, we sometimes encounter frustration from comparing ourselves where we are now with where we had imagined our own lives to be at this point and our personal development.
The big result isn’t always seen in the major move. Biblically, the narrative of small unveils the miraculous in both testaments. Small beginnings brim with possibility, as God Himself commits to oversee the good that He’s begun in us (Zechariah 4:10; Philippians 1:6).
The Spirit of God multiplies our minimal resources, adding up to more than we could produce on our own. We encounter the result in more than our senses or perception would have imagined (1 Corinthians 2:9).
What is impossible comes to fruition, and it originates through the miracle of small. A handful of flour and oil sustained the widow of Zarephath until drought and famine passed over (1 Kings 17:14-16). Mustard seed faith uproots and displaces mountains (Matthew 17:20-21).
A couple of fish and a handful of bread catered lunch for thousands on a hillside (Mark 6:41-44). So, it follows in our lives; The Holy Spirit involves us in miracles that manifest before our eyes and often through the little that becomes much in the Master’s Hands.
When we develop SMART goals, we do so around the following: garner the specifics of what we intend to accomplish, narrow our attention on clear objectives; measure our progress; and assess and ensure that they are attainable within a certain amount of time. Ideally, the goals we establish are relevant, aligning with our longer-term goals, and are reasonable for the time frame we have identified.
We must individualize and find a system that works personally. SMART goals are intended to support us in attaining what can feel unmanageable.
Our lives are unique; hence, our goal-setting will be personally relevant to the Father’s times and purposes for each of us. God created us as individual masterpieces, predetermined to be fulfilled in Christ (Ephesians 2:10). We won’t look identical, regardless of how much we have in common or overlap in compatible and complementary gifts and abilities.
We are on a distinct path with the Lord and cannot try to emulate someone else’s process. Embracing inspiration is valuable, but we only need to aspire to our Savior’s standard when setting goals that align with the vision for our personal development.
While the process of working toward a goal can present inherent frustrations, we must remind ourselves that God will grant grace and glory, promising to withhold nothing good (Psalm 84:11). Our timeline may not mirror that of others, nor should it.
We can recalibrate our hopes, and even anchor our failures in the Lord, recognizing that He repurposes our missteps and mistakes to draw our hearts to repent or turn to Him. The Holy Spirit is at work, developing spiritual fruit and illuminating our path with the abundance of essential wisdom and revelation. We can take courage, aligning our plans with Scriptural principles to lead into the divine destiny God has orchestrated.
Goal-setting is a familiar topic within the realm of personal development, but micro habits present a fresh way to think about this timeless concept. Micro habits deconstruct massive endeavors into smaller, more digestible parts.
In goal setting, we zoom wide to view a broad angle of what we seek to accomplish. To achieve it, we fill in segments of our big picture with zoomed-in, small-picture steps. In short, micro-habits embrace the practice of doing a little of a particular action at a time, yet sustained over time to reach a larger goal.
Forming a micro habit relies on simple daily actions that are relatively easy to implement into an established routine and may require, at most, a few minutes of time. We contribute to our larger goal, yet with concentrated and consistent investment.
Success with micro habits is anchored in how we perceive our worth and willingness to show up for ourselves with rhythm and regularity that transforms our efforts into an offering that God blesses in the work of our hands. Our consistency invokes the questions for our consideration. Do we value what God has placed in us? And will we partner with Him to see it to fruition?
Micro habits toggle our attention between the vision for what we are building and its actual layout and placement in the structure of our daily lives. They allow us to draw a blueprint, designing a life enriched with the peace of God and joy of the Lord and the action that follows our faith.
We cannot control everything, including inevitable setbacks bound to populate our journey. However, micro habits teach us to navigate failures that are an unavoidable part of any success. Micro habits allow us to recover with curiosity and resolve, yet without shame so we can resume progress with relative ease. They encourage resilience, reminding us that even when we’ve fallen, we can embrace both human and Holy Spirit help to get up and go forward.
Embracing micro habits affords us the joy that accompanies small wins, thus replenishing necessary strength in our personal development journey. We will meet challenges, but the outcomes we desire generally result from consistency versus large-scale, though sporadic actions.
Consistency, even in small steps, shapes both our character and view of our goal. Even when we’ve failed, God moves mightily and decisively through minuscule actions to shift what He desires into being. When all looks dark, our joint investments with the Holy Spirit, produce unfathomable results (Ephesians 3:20).
While belief gives rise to behavior, our actions redefine what we have believed about ourselves. Enacting micro habits outweighs the large, though inconsistent moves that make a grand appearance when we’re inspired. Inspiration is an exhilarating companion for the journey, but we can’t rely on it exclusively to navigate our course. Unfortunately, inspiration gets clouded by discouragement and obstacles.
We can, however, gather inspiration from practicing the micro-habits that are not only shifting our world in the behavioral realm but also having an impact on the internal world of our thoughts and emotions. When we recognize that our beliefs and behavior positively reinforce one another, we can mobilize this to generate changes and form goals in other areas that impact our personal development.
Next steps for personal development.
Although the process of setting and achieving a goal is met with challenges and rewards, you can embrace both strategy and system to support you with this important facet of personal development. Micro habits prove themselves, not only in yielding the desired goal but also in fueling the endurance and affirming confidence to sustain your personal development journey.
Wherever you may find yourself in the process, embrace the opportunity to seek and select a counselor on this site. Make your appointment today. Embrace the empathy and tools you need to make small steps that yield a big impact.
“Start”, Courtesy of Geralt, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Set Goals”, Courtesy of Geralt, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Never Give Up”, Courtesy of Geralt, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Goals”, Courtesy of Ronnie Overgoor, Unsplash.com, CC0 License