Looking for small ways to create big change? These initial steps to intentional living will make big changes in your life.
Better Life,  Focus,  Goals,  Habits,  Intentional Living,  Personal Development,  Productivity,  Self Improvement,  Self-Discipline

Small Goals for a Big Life: Initial Steps to Intentional Living

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Goal setting can seem intimidating.

Choose a goal. Commit to it. Carry it out.


Or fail.

What a stressful way to do life!

Instead, I think it’s important to see certain goals as wonderful things to work toward continuously and imperfectly.

Did you drink 6 cups of water instead of 8? That’s okay! Try again tomorrow!

Maybe you overspent a few bucks in the budget. Be flexible and see if you can get creative to solve the issue so it doesn’t happen again (or at least, not often).

Happy people are able to give themselves a little grace when it comes to life’s goals. They know when to let things go. They’re able to forgive themselves. But I also think happy people tend to look for ways to improve their lives and relationships.

Eat the elephant… or maybe just the trunk?

Humans like to make BIG goals and plans, but when it comes to really sticking to our guns and getting it done, we tend to fall short big time.

Why is that?

Why can’t we seem to achieve those massive, beautiful goals?

I think it comes down to the fact that when we dream big, we fail to break things down into smaller, actionable steps.

We look at the whole elephant and say, “That’s too big… I can’t do it. I can’t eat the whole elephant.”

We’re told, “You can eat the whole elephant! Just eat it one bite at a time!”

And while that’s true, I still look at it and think, “Yeah, but that’s a LOT of bites…”

But what if you only focus on the trunk? What if you set a shorter timeline for a smaller goal?

What if you give yourself one month to build or break a habit, and then build upon that foundation?

When we set our focus on day to day activities that get us closer to our goals, we quickly see ourselves flying through to our next set of goals, and the next.

Why even bother with setting goals?

Goals keep us moving forward in life. They help us progress, improve, expand, and grow.

Even if the goal is to break a habit.

Every time you succeed, you build up your confidence and your ability to take on another challenge.

The more you celebrate the tiny steps, the more you’ll see that you can very feasibly achieve the bigger picture.

When you identify a goal or a desired result, you gain a sense of purpose, and give yourself something positive to work toward and focus on daily.

See how setting small goals can make big changes in your life.

How to get started

First, consider what the desired end result will be. Do you want to create a habit? Break a habit? Lose weight? Get healthier? Start a side hustle? Focus on self-care? Decide on a goal. Be specific.

Next, create a master list of tasks. If your goal is measurable (Losing 50 pounds; getting 10,000 pageviews on your blog; saving $1000 for your emergency fund), figure out the steps needed to achieve that goal. What actions will take you from your starting point to your desired goal?

Break down your master list into smaller chunks. Put your tasks on the calendar for the week, and even break them up into daily “appointments” that you know you’ll be able to check off every day. These are appointments that you make with yourself. Don’t be wishy-washy and flake on yourself. 

If your goal doesn’t have a specific end goal (read daily; practice self-care; meditate daily), figure out what will qualify for achieving that goal each day (read 10 pages; meditate 10 mins, etc.), and make the appointment.

Decide what time of day you want to tackle your small, daily tasks. Incorporate them into your routine and make them a part of your daily life.

Check in with your progress daily. Keep your goals visible and in front of you every single day.

Pick a day each week to proactively look at your goals for the following week. Finally, consider moving unfinished tasks to the following week and prioritize them.

Methods of tracking

There are so many different ways track your goals, but regardless of the method you choose, you need to track! What gets tracked gets done. If you don’t write down your goal and track it in some way, you’re letting yourself off the hook and ensuring that it won’t get done. Here are a few options for tracking:

  • My favorite way to track my goals is by using a bullet journal. I personally use a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook and Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens
  • A simple to-do list can be just the thing you need if you’re not into decorating and putting a lot of time into your weekly lists
  • Using a calendar can be a great way to visually track your goals throughout the month
  • If you do better with tracking things on your phone, check out this post for some of the best tracking apps to help you meet your goals

Sample goals

I’m sure you already have some goals in mind, but in case you don’t, here’s a list of some areas you may want to consider cultivating. Some of these don’t take too much effort to add into your daily routine, but can make a huge impact on your perspective.


Mamas… this one is for you. So often women are caught in a whirlwind of caring for others, whether it be our kids, spouse, or even our parents. We have so many things on our plates regarding our homes, our careers, and our finances.

We carry such a heavy load.

Every once in a while you need to take a step back and be a little selfish. (Although I think it’s silly to call caring for yourself “selfish.”)

  • Take the extra long shower
  • Grab a coffee on your way home and take the scenic route
  • Read a book
  • Hang out with some girlfriends

Figure out what recharges your battery and make it a goal to fit it in weekly.


What are your goals financially?

What are your long-term goals, short-term goals, and obligations?

How are you going to achieve those goals?

  • Save enough to add $100 to your savings account this month
  • Pay off your credit card bill
  • Figure out how to meal plan on a budget in order to reduce your grocery bill

Break it down into smaller, more actionable steps. Get creative. Do something this month to move you closer to that goal.


Ideally, what would your home look like on a day-to-day basis?

What’s keeping you from achieving that? Toys? Lack of time? Or simply feeling too overwhelmed to start?

Here’s a great post on How to Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed

Figure out what’s holding you back, and start putting into place small systems to work toward your goal.

  • Make Your Bed every day
  • Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink
  • Pick days for certain chores (Dust on Monday, Vacuum on Tuesday, Bathrooms on Wednesday, etc.)
  • Make a deal with your family to keep the “clutter counter” clear
  • Deal with the mail as soon as you touch it

Before you know it, your house will start evolving into the home you dream about.

Consistency is key. 

Discover how to set small goals to create a bigger life for yourself and start living intentionally today.


Are you happy with your job? If not, what can you do to start implementing a change? Is a career change a possibility? What would that take?

Are you working on a promotion? How can you make yourself more qualified for the position?

Do you want to start a side hustle? Direct sales? A blog?

  • Identify the steps that will alleviate stress or increase contentment
  • Schedule in time for your new side hustle

Find ways to pursue progress in your career.


I’m looking at you stay-at-home-mamas! 

Staying home all day with little ones can make your brain feel like it’s turning to mush.

Try to schedule some time in each day to learn something and exercise that beautiful brain of yours.

  • Learn a new language
  • Practice a skill you already have and would like to improve
  • Learn a new skill
  • Learn new information
  • Read a nonfiction book

Do something that stretches your mind a bit and lets you be a kid-free adult… even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes.


This area includes relationships with your spouse, kids, and friends.

Are you and your spouse connecting daily?

Are you giving each of your kids some one-on-one attention as often as they need it?

Keeping in touch with friends can be so tough, but can you find time to connect with them each month?

  • Commit to having a real conversation with your spouse each day (Aka – no kid talk, no work talk)
  • Schedule a date night weekly or monthly
  • Try to have some one-on-one time with each of your kids daily
  • Play with your kids
  • Read with your kids
  • Text or call a friend
  • Have a “girl’s night” without kids – see a movie, get coffee, go shopping

Life is hard when you’re on your own. 

Put your phone down and connect with your people. 

It makes life just so much better. 

Check out this post for a great list of at home date ideas.


This is probably the most important area of your life you need to cultivate daily.

You ought to spend time each day nourishing your soul and tending to the things that bring you joy and make you tick.

  • Read your Bible
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Express Gratitude
  • Journal
  • Get some fresh air

Reconnect with yourself sans social media or other people. Plug back into who you are every day. 


What do you want most for your body?

Lose a few pounds? Gain some muscle? Bulk up? Slim down?

What about just… becoming “more able”?

What if you worked toward simply being able to keep up with your toddler?

Challenge your body a bit each day.


This goal is tied pretty closely to your fitness goals, but is focused more on what happens in the kitchen.

Do you need to cut back on your cookie intake? (I’m so guilty of this one!)

Maybe you need to drink more water?

  • Eat a serving of veggies with every meal
  • Eat fruit and nuts instead of desserts or snacks
  • Drink enough water
  • Eat regularly throughout the day
  • Track your food intake

Think about what it’ll take to get a bit healthier and commit to it for a day, then a week, then a month, until it becomes your new lifestyle.


Life without fun is so unhealthy!

What brings you joy, adventure, and excitement?

  • Fit in time for your favorite hobby as often as possible
  • Take fun weekend trips
  • Have a “Staycation”
  • Join a local sports team or musical performance group
  • Join a “mom” group

Spice it up a bit, mama! You deserve it! 

Start setting small goals to achieve a big life.

Pick a couple things to track, and take it a day at a time

Alright, it’s time to think about your goals! What’s important to you? What needs to be a priority?

Choose some BIG goals, break them down, and get to work!

Choose some smaller goals and watch your life incrementally improve.

You’ve got this.

I’d love to hear from you! What are you going to track this month?

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