Micro-Goals for Micro-Progress

About a month ago, I discovered an article in the New York Times about accomplishing goals.

I like reading the “smarter living” articles that newspapers usually publish, but they aren’t always new information for me. This article, however, was super insightful!

In short, it is about achieving goals & motivation. It introduces the topic of “micro-progress” and how you’re more likely to achieve x, y, and z when you break it down into tinier goals that you can easily check off the to-do list.

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What is the idea here?

“For any task you have to complete, break it down into the smallest possible units of progress and attack them one at a time.”

These tinier tasks are supposed to be much easier to finish. When you finish them, you are getting a rush of dopamine and confidence. And this directly translates into motivation to complete more tasks!

Even if you are only completing a few tiny tasks a day, you are left feeling a lot more confident than if reaching the end of the day and saying, “I feel like I didn’t get anything done” or “I barely made a dent in ____.”

That being said, you feel a lot more accomplished, at the least, but the article actually argues you actually are more productive the you are doing this because of the psychology behind it.

Also, the author suggest that even writing a title of a project can be an easy goal to accomplish. This reminds me of my post about starting a mathematical proof.

“That means that once you start that PowerPoint you’re dreading, even if all you’ve done is give it a name, that micro-progress can continue to build on itself until you’ve finally finished that last slide.”

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Curious what this means for me?

I’ve got a big week of packing this week. I also want to focus on my physical and mental health. Last night, I told myself “You need to sell stuff this week” and “You need to get back on track with exercising.”

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Yes, these things are do-able. But I don’t even know where to start. Here’s a list of my min goals for the micro-progress in each category.

Sell Stuff:

  1. write a list of the items you want to sell this week
  2. price each item on that list
  3. circle the items you think you can actually sell
  4. take a picture of an item you want to sell
  5. post it on buy / sell online group
  6. make a calendar to fill in the meet-up times for selling

I already finished the 1st step yesterday, so today I am going to price everything – which seems super do-able and is something I can get done in just a few minutes!

Health:

  1. figure out which workout I want to do today (run? fitness blender? walk? bike ride? yoga?)
  2. put on my workout clothes (this always helps me get started)
  3. charge up my phone and pick a playlist
  4. do the workout

Step 1 seems like something I can incorporate into my morning ritual and it won’t take very much time or effort. I love that!

Tell me:

What is a big goal you have for yourself this week? Can you break it down into tinier goals? Do you think small goals are easier to work with? How do you handle the overwhelming stress of giant goals?

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February Footprint Wrap Up | Month of Trash

Before you read: You are entitled to your own opinion, but please do not throw in harsh judgments or rude remarks about my journey through trying to reduce my waste & plastic use. Know that this post, above anything else, is a personal assessment of my learning process and it is cultivating and evolving. I am my own person and I don’t learn by criticism -peace.

A few years ago, I worked at a local co-op / health food store. I worked in the kitchen and, of course, we had TONS of waste. One thing I really admired about working there was the emphasis the whole store had on composting and recycling. Prior to this, I had never worked in a food business that cared about the environment so much that they took waste / eco precautions (other than separating cardboard boxes from other trash).

In the kitchen, we had 3 waste bins – compost, recycle, and other waste. Behind the store, there was a massive container (the size of a truck bed), a big dumpster, and a small dumpster. The large container was for compost, the big dumpster for recycling, and the small for all other waste.

This really took me by surprise – is it really possible that we can potentially send that little waste out to landfills?

Why are dumpsters and trash bins filled to the brim in so many households by the end of the week?

It’s so easy to not let this happen.

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It made me reevaluate my waste at home. I was always consciously thinking about what waste would go in which container – and how easy it would be if I just composted myself.

Flash-forward to February this year – I wanted to do something different. I wanted to finally see how much I could do to reduce my waste. You can read about my intentions for this month here.

First thing I did? I assessed where I was. I looked at what I was wasting – what I had and didn’t use – and what I had that could be reused before I tossed it.

Here’s a rundown of the things I did differently this month:

  • I got a compost bin!
    • As you probably know already, I cook – so much. And it’s mostly raw vegetables and fruits, too. I started putting all of my scraps in my compost bin instead of tossing them in the trash bin. My friend helped dig a hole in my garden to throw the scraps in for now (because it’s still frozen outside and I can’t make a pile outdoors).
  • I started reusing bags from food products.
    • A surprising amount of the food we get comes in plastic bags WITH A ZIPPER. That means I can reuse it. My goal was to get at least one extra use out of it before tossing it. I used it for saving leftovers, packing lunches, etc.
  • I donated a lot of unused items / clothes.
    • Although the primary reason for doing this was because I am moving, it was a great way to avoid tossing household items and clothes and having them up-cycled and given to a new home.
  • I reduced food waste by…
    • Looking at my fridge and product and figuring out what was going to go bad first. I tried cooking those things and preserving the fresher foods so that I avoided letting anything go bad before it was used.
  • I timed a lot of my showers
    • I didn’t always do this, but when I remembered to, I made sure I put on a few songs and limited the number of songs I heard while in the shower to just a few – less than 5-8 minutes in.
  • I stopped washing my clothes…
    • After wearing them only once. I used to be really bad at this with pants, shirts, and sweaters

Here are some things I wish I had done differently & I aim to do in the future:

  • Spend even less time in the shower
  • Buy more food products that did not come in plastic
  • Compost more waste – research what I can / cannot compost
  • Drive less / bike + walk more
  • Donate more clothes & unwanted items
  • Spent more time outdoors
  • Reused plastic that I obtained more often

As a wrap up, I’m glad I challenged myself this month, but I know there is still (always) more that I can do.

Let Me Know:

Have you tried anything lately to reduce your waste? Let me know! I need some more ideas and I want to try more things out!

Write What you Want – Travel Goals

I’ve been thinking about my future a lot, lately.

Specifically, I’ve been wondering where I’ll travel next and what types of experiences I want to have in the future.

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Just to give you some background, I’m the type of person who is always changing their plans.

One week I have a grand idea to move to a big city and the next I’m thinking about going off the grid and living in a van. That being said, I want to experience as much as I can and I want to try everything!

 

 

At this point in my life, doing the same thing everyday seems impossible. I substitute teach – which means my job is different every day. I make up new foods to eat. I change up my exercise routine. I shift furniture around in my house. And I try to get out of town and take a break from reality as much as possible. Right now, doing new things & changing my routine is fun & exciting for me!

 

 

A recurring wish of mine, however, is to TRAVEL. I want to get out there and see more, do more, and feel more. I want to get lost and feel like I’m on another planet – surrounded by everything I know nothing about.


Here’s a list of places & things I have been craving to experience lately:

Spain – I want to see Gaudi architecture and try new foods. I want to feel immersed in a foreign language and culture, stay in hostels, and meet people completely different than me. I want to visit world renowned landmarks and take pictures of everything.

Costa Rica – actually – the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. Its a resort where you can hang out with sloths. If you know me well, you know why. If not, you should know that I have a lifelong obsession with them. They’re cute little smiles melt my heart. I also really want to be in South & Central America and learn about the cultures there.

Seattle – A huge, busy, city surrounded by water + mountainy landscape. Its a dream come true!

Mexico – My desire to visit here is pretty recent. For some reason, Mexico has a bad reputation for Californians. I really want to go there now because I want to experience the culture and get more familiar with the language. Also I’ve heard it’s a vegan friendly country, too!

Redwoods – California – being surrounded by a gigantic army of majestic trees is right up my alley. I need this. I want to see the sunlight bursting through the forest and camp and take deep breaths and hike forever.

Paris – Yes, everyone tours and travels Paris, but it seems too good to NOT experience. I want the food, the BREAD!!, the art, and music.

Norway – When we were in Sweden & Denmark, we wanting to go up to Norway, too, but didn’t have enough time. I liked experiencing Scandinavian culture, so it’s necessary I visit here, too.

Sweden – we went there last year, but we only went to Malmo. I want to see Stockholm!

Yosemite – I don’t actually know if I’ve been here – maybe when I was a baby? I can’t believe I used to live only a few hours away and never went. I know multiple people that claim its their favorite place in the world – so why haven’t I experienced it, yet?!?! I’ve gotta go!

Portland – I actually just want to live here tbh, but it seems so fun! So much to do and see and it seems so beautiful and green!

Austin – I keep hearing about it – it seems like a great up & coming city with a lot going on

Netherlands – my friend went here last summer and her pictures were so amazing. It looks so fun.

Thailand – the food – obviously – but I’m craving being immersed in their culture. It seems other-wordly!

Hawaii – a tropical destination that everyone wants a vacation to, right? Plus the hiking there looks AMAZING! And the climate seems great, too.

Morocco – THE COLORS – I have some family that lives here and I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I heard about it. It seems so colorful and fun and the food seems amazing too! It’s also right across the water from Spain – so maybe I could do a 2 in 1!

South Africa
New Zealand
Germany
Peru
India
San Diego


Wouldn’t it be so awesome if I could look back on this list years from now and say “I did it! I went to all of those places and did all of those things!”

I like writing things like this down because it makes it feel more likely to happen. Putting it out there and being intentional about my goals for traveling forces me to let them float in the back of my mind. I feel like a few of these places are already in my future this year, which is really exciting!


Here’s a challenge for you:

  • Make your own list for travel goals!
  • Where do you want to go?
  • And why?
  • What’s in store for you there?

Comment here and share with me! We’d love to see what you want and hear about more amazing places to travel.