From Micro to Intermediate Goals: Building Your Map
How are those micro goals treating you? Have you found that bite-sized achievements work for you? While they absolutely are an awesome way to build up momentum and motivation with ultra-small wins, once you go pro at this, you may want to make the shift to intermediate goals.
Intermediate goals are bigger and further away than short-term micro goals. But they’re still part of a reality that you can touch and feel because the goals aren’t too far away — like those lofty long-term goals. This makes them a great next step on the goal-setting and -reaching journey.
Intermediate goals are like a platform you can land on when you take the giant leap toward your long-term goal. Not only are they a sort of safety net, but they also give you a better and closer pad from which to launch from, making achieving that long-term goal all the more feasible.
Here’s how to set them. First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for getting so dang good at your micro goals that you need to up the ante. When you’re done celebrating, go grab some paper and a pen and let’s draw a goal map. The visualization will help you in both the setting and achieving of your new intermediate goals.
In the top center of the page, draw a big circle. Halfway down the page, draw two slightly smaller circles, with lines connecting up to the larger circle. And now, toward the bottom of the page, draw a row of four even smaller circles, with lines connecting up to the two middle circles. It should look like this:
Got it? Great. The top circle represents your long-term goal. Go ahead and write your biggest goal in the center of the circle. The four smallest circles are your micro goals. Fill them in accordingly with bite-sized goals you’ve set and achieved in the pursuit of this long-term goal. The two middle circles represent your new intermediate goals and it’s up to you to decide what those should be.
What is a logical middle step or progression from your micro goals? Let’s say your reach-for-the-sky long-term goal is to become a New York Times bestselling author. And your four micro goals are to read at least three books on the best practices for writing fiction, write 1,000 words a day, create a list of publishers accepting manuscripts, and send an email to an old college acquaintance who is now a big literary agent.
An intermediate goal might be something like complete a rough draft of my manuscript by December 1st. See what I mean? It’s a midway checkpoint that keeps you on track for realizing your bigger dream. It’s right in that sweet spot of being a super big deal that will feel like an incredible accomplishment in and of itself, but also specific and tangible and just doable enough that it’s an ideal dangling carrot.
Make sense? Perfect. Once you figure out where you want to set your intermediate goals, you can fill in your map. Download this sheet, fill it out, and put it somewhere where you will see it regularly. And adjust it accordingly. If you feel like you need a nearer checkpoint, add in goals in between the micros and the intermediates. There is no set rule here. This is a map to a set destination, but how detailed you want to make the map is entirely up to you.
Remember to keep moving forward. Upward. Onward. And you will achieve amazing things.