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S2E3 - Working on Micro Goals

Episode Description:

Year after to year, my New Year’s resolution is the same. However, year after year, I don’t ever achieve that goal: weight loss. This year, though, I’m trying to change my mindset and approach it from a different angle and that is through micro goals. It’s an extremely simplistic approach, but one that can be easily overlooked, because of its simplicity. In this episode, I’ll go over what that is and what I hope to achieve this year. Will I lose weight in 2021? I guess we’ll find out.


Some parts of the transcript may be edited for better readability, but the content remains the same. Mostly removed duplicate words, vocal filler words, and added/removed some words for clarification.


Hey, everyone! This is Meliza, and I'm The Talkative Introvert.


If you're new to the podcast, every once in a while, I'll change it up and talk about something that isn't necessarily introvert related. So, today's episode is going to be about micro goals. So, every year for the past... I don't know, maybe like, eight years or something like that, my New Year's resolution has always been the same, which is to lose weight. However, I have failed probably... no, I have failed every single year. In every single year, I feel discouraged. And I feel like a complete failure. Because then I start up the new year, and try again. And my biggest culprit, honestly, is food. Food is such a major thing in our family and in my culture. And every event has abundance of food. We never run out of food during an event. Like, that's just not a thing. And food is just such a big thing. And if you're a Filipino like I am, I'm sure the first thing your mom always asked you is, "Did you eat already?" That's like the most popular thing that Filipinos say. And I'm sure it's with other cultures, too. I'm not saying only Filipinos say that. But in my experience, and because I'm Filipino, that's just the first thing you say. That's the first thing I literally tell or ask my husband when he gets home is did you eat already? Or it's just like a... I don't know. At this point, it's like a greeting. Every time you see someone it's like, "Did you eat already?" And every time I hang out with my friends, it's a given that we're going to eat or go out to eat, or, you know, do takeout or something. Food has just always been there. And it's always been like that constant in my life. And I mean, food is good. It's just so good. So, that's definitely my biggest struggle, for sure. And then when the holidays come around, it's so much harder to keep up with my goal. Because there's Thanksgiving, and then there's Christmas, and there's new year's and then all the birthdays in between those holidays. And it's just all... just food in your face the whole time. So, I go into the cycle where basically like January is kind of like my 'do over' I guess for the year. So, I'll have the same New Year's resolution every year. And at the start of January, I give myself a break because it's my birthday. And we have a bunch of birthdays in January. Not like that matters because there's a bunch of birthdays and every month. But that's like... where I'm like, okay, after my birthday, it's all, you know, all about losing weight. It's all about eating healthy and getting active and bla bla bla bla. The year goes by, I'm not seeing results, and then the holidays hit you. And then it's just like food after food after food and events. And then then I basically just give up, and then I'm like, okay, well enough. I'll try get into her. And then we go on the cycle again and again. And so, this last year... So, in December I was talking to my manager, just about random stuff. And we got to talking about how we always set up goals for ourselves, but hardly achieve them. Especially when it comes to our well-being and our physical health. And so, she mentioned how she's going to focus on micro goals. I forgot how she came across it. But I think she was either reading something or heard about it from someone or maybe found it on, I don't know, YouTube or whatever, it doesn't matter. She just heard about it somehow. And that's what she was going to focus on. When she said that, I was thinking about such a simple concept. Like why have I not thought about that already? Like, sometimes ideas are just so simplistic that it's easy to overlook them or dismiss them. So in this episode, I'm going to talk about what I learned researching about micro goals and how I plan to incorporate that into my life this year. So, what are micro goals? The name is pretty self-explanatory. They're essentially tiny goals. However, they serve to fulfill a much larger goal, which is your macro goal, if you will. If you're in the IT industry, specifically on an agile project. You can kind of think of it as like the overall goal is like the feature the epic, and then the micro goals or like the user stories. And so, you are approaching it in increments.


So, the point really around micro goals is to help you, or help encourage you by celebrating these small achievements along the way to your much larger macro goal. Because an achievement, small or large is still an achievement, right? It's still worth recognizing the fact that you accomplished something. Because the problem I think, that I have in many others I'm sure is that people tend to make these big, giant goals, and then they end up feeling like discouraged when they don't achieve that goal right away. And then they end up getting burnt out and just quitting altogether. So instead, you're creating these smaller habits, and incorporating them into your daily life, which leads you to ultimately accomplishing your macro goal. So, I will get into that a little more. But before we get to the thing, it's important to talk about how to create goals, right? So first of all, small or large, all goals should be SMART, S-M-A-R-T. If you don't know what that means, then I'm sorry, because your high school teacher must have failed you. Just kidding. But I didn't learn this in high school. So, if you don't know, SMART is an acronym. So S is for specific. It's important to clearly define your goal. So try to make it not vague, basically. Instead of saying I want to be more active, maybe say something more like I want to start running. Like make a specific goal a specific like activity, if you want to do like, I don't know, weightlifting or walking or blah, blah, blah. You know, just make it specific. Then M is for measurable. So, making a goal measurable allows you to track your progress. So, if we use the example of, I want to start running, for example. You could say I want to be able to run a full mile without stopping. So, it's a little more specific. And you can also track that progress, right? So, A is for attainable. It has to be something within your own means. So obviously, for example, if you're a newly graduated student, your goal after college shouldn't be to apply for a senior management position. So, you got to really think is this goal realistic for me? And then R is for relevant. That's pretty obvious. If your goal is not relevant to you, and doesn't benefit you in any way, then you'll most likely abandon it. So, why even make that goal? It has to be something definitely worth your time. And you got to ask yourself, why did you set this goal for yourself? What purpose does it serve? And if you want to take this running example, you could say that I want to be able to run a full mile to improve my physical well-being. And then the last one is T for time based. And basically, what you're doing is adding an end date to your goal. So, not only is this for you to stay motivated and celebrate your achievements, but it also allows you to re-evaluate why you didn't make that end date. It allows you to take a pause and really assess and figure out what do you need to adjust to make sure you meet that goal, such as creating micro goals.


So using our example, a SMART goal would sound something like, 'To improve my physical well-being, I will run a full mile by the end of six months'. I don't know if that's a great example. But you can definitely Google SMART goals and there's all kinds of stuff you can read about and figure out what a SMART goal is. Okay, now that I've talked about that, hopefully that wasn't too boring. Let's get into the actual micro goals. So like I said earlier, micro goals are smaller goals that serve a larger purpose. So, if we want to continue using the mile example, so your overall goal would be, you know, running the mile, right? If you live a sedentary lifestyle and don't work out, you probably can't just go out and expect to be able to run a mile. I definitely can't run a mile right now, which is kind of something I want to work on, too. So, that's where micro goals come in. So, micro goals can honestly be as miniscule as you see fit. For example, you can give yourself something as small as literally researching for the best type of running/walking shoes, and then going out and buying them. And that seems very small, sure. But it still requires time and effort. You still have to put in the time to research what's best for you and fits best for you. For example, like I have wide feet but a high arch. So, I need that kind of a bigger shoe, but also has really great arch support. Obviously, if that's too microscopic for you, a little too small, a little too micro, you can elaborate and expand. So, another good example would be going for a walk at least three times a week for the next two weeks. Then after you accomplish that goal, then you can go up, right? So, you can walk three times a week, but run the last five minutes of your walk. So, you can see that these micro goals kind of have this snowball effect. So you start small, then you add onto it. So as you're progressing towards that macro goal, you're celebrating these small achievements along the way. At the same time, you're creating habits that become a part of your regular routine. As I was researching about macro goals... oh sorry, micro goals, I read this article on Talkspace about how creating and focusing on micro goals can actually increase happiness. I'll provide that link in the description. But if you're not much of a reader, I'll try to paraphrase it. It's really similar to what I said earlier. How people get discouraged easily, because they're too focused on the larger goal. And so celebrating the achievements you've made as you work towards that goal. So, the simple act of accomplishment increases your dopamine levels, which makes you happy. If you're only looking at the bigger picture, then you're going to constantly feel discouraged, and maybe even overwhelmed and burnt out. And so that's why these micro goals and being able to accomplish these micro goals throughout the process makes you happier, it makes you stay motivated to keep going and keep trying to achieve that larger goal. So, back to my New Year's resolution that I talked about earlier. I always set this up for myself every year that I want to lose weight. Big surprise, right? Cuz that's like everybody's New Year's resolution. Such a basic goal. But if you listen to my 'Body Dysmorphia & Me' episode in season one, I talk about my struggles with my self-image, and feeling confident and happy in my own skin. I feel that losing weight would probably help me in that department. I also have a family history of diabetes and heart problems and thyroid problems, and high blood pressure and so on. So, not only do I want to feel good in my own skin, but I also have a responsibility to myself to live a healthier life so I can live a longer and more fulfilling life.


The problem is that I try to do too much all at once. So every January, I go, okay I'm going to wake up early every single day, I'm going to work out every single day, I'm going to completely stop eating bla bla bla, I'm going to cut out sweets and rice and whatever else. And it's really just not realistic. I try to deprive myself of everything I'm used to having on a regular basis. And it's like being a drug addict and quitting cold turkey. If you know anything about drugs or alcohol, for example, an alcoholic who stops cold turkey can potentially die. Obviously, that's a little exaggerated for my situation. But I'm basically just saying it doesn't necessarily always work to just completely deprive yourself and cut yourself off of everything and try to do a full 180 and change your whole, entire lifestyle. And I do that every January. And I don't know why I keep doing that. Because I know it doesn't work. But I still do that. I don't know why. So this year, I'm going to try something new. I'm going to go in with a different mindset and try out these micro goals. So, if you don't know me personally, one of the things I love to do is plan. I love planning. So, did I create a spreadsheet outlining my micro goals? Of course, I did. I won't bore you with every single micro goal I have. But I'll give you some examples I'm starting with. This might sound a little silly. But one of my goals is to put my phone away and put it on the charger in the bathroom every night during the week for at least one week. And I actually really like putting my phone away so much so that I actually started doing this on the weekend too. Because originally, I was just doing it during the week. I used to keep my phone under my pillow every night because I also use it as an alarm. But the problem with having my phone so close to me is that I would go on it and I would spend hours on my phone. And then by the time I stopped looking at my phone, it's like two o'clock in the morning and I should have already been asleep. Then I end up waking up super tired and super groggy when it's time to login for work. Last year, a lot of times I would just get up at exactly like 07:55, so I can log into work at eight o'clock. So, this micro goal really is a predecessor to a slew of habits that I want to adopt for this year. I want to eventually start going to bed at a decent time, which would lead to waking up at a decent time, which will then lead to reserving time in the morning to just prep for the day. Because I don't do that. I don't. I mean, I'm trying to do that now. But I don't do that usually. And like I said, I would get up like five minutes before I have to log into work. But I want to be able to create a habit where I'm up early enough, so that I can set myself up for the rest of the day. Or as we always say at work, set ourselves up for success. Meaning like, enough time to fill up my water bottle, brew some tea, eat breakfast, change out of my pajamas, and so on and so forth. You know, just get ready for the day, which I didn't do before. And so, I'm trying to work on that this year. And then that eventually will lead to like incorporating physical activity into my daily routine. So, I want to not only just get up and get ready in the morning, but I do want to incorporate yoga. So, in previous episodes, I mentioned that I started doing yoga during this pandemic. And I actually really love it. And there's this 30 day challenge on Amazon that you could do with I think her name's.. What's her name? Julia Marie or something like that. I'll try to find the link. It's there, I put a link in like my 'Body Dysmorphia & me' episode, I think. But I'll try to find it and add it to this episode too, if you're, you know, interested in that. But I also wanted to do that in the mornings and make that a regular thing. And then it'll eventually lead to more physical activities. Like, I want to spend my lunch walking Link. Link is my dog, in case you don't know. So, I want to incorporate that into my lunch because I do get an hour lunch. So at least like you know, the first half hour, I can walk link and then the other half, I can eat my lunch or do whatever. And then maybe try to incorporate something active after work. Since I do... sit at a desk all day, I'm basically just sitting for eight hours.


So, I wanted to try to do something active in the morning, in the afternoon, and then a little after work. Because that way after work, I'm not just making dinner and then watching TV afterwards. Like I want to move my body around and be active, since I've sat for like four hours straight. Yeah, so the physical activities and then obviously also incorporating some healthy eating habits. Eating more fruit and veggies, including more veggies to dinner. That stuff's kind of easy, because we do that anyways. I always have veggies for dinner. I actually like veggies. So, it's not like a big deal. But I guess incorporating more of it and eating less of all the bad stuff. So, once I start incorporating these habits into my daily routine, and it becomes like a normal thing and a regular thing that I do every single day, all of this will eventually lead to me living a healthier life, which will inevitably lead to me losing weight. You know, I almost did an entire podcast because I actually have a hard time talking. So in my head, I speak very eloquently. And it's beautiful. And in my head, the voice in my head is super, I don't know, sophisticated. But then every time I try to talk, it doesn't come out right. And it comes out like trash. And I stutter. And anyways. A little tangent, but I still like doing the podcasts. I'm still gonna do it, even though I don't speak very well. But I promise you in my head I'm like a master speaker. Anyways, back to my goals. So, yeah. So, my micro goals really are focused around creating and implementing new healthy habits into my lifestyle. And so for this year, I essentially designated January for planning. January, is kind of a big month of birthdays. So my birthday, my brother's birthday and my mom's birthday are all in January. And so, it's kind of hard to start up on those healthy habits. I know that's like just making an excuse. But again, like I said, food is a big thing in our culture and in our family. And so, every year we always want to go all out and eat something that we don't normally eat. Like... What did we do for my mom's birthday? Oh, my mom, she requested for fried chicken wings. So, I don't know fire wings is only like in California or... I'm not sure, but she requested specifically for Fire Wings. So we literally got like a bunch of just fried wings, like different flavors. And that was her request. And then for her sides, she wanted French fries and garlic noodles. And so you know, obviously, none of that was healthy. Oh, and she wanted zucchini sticks but they're deep fried. So, I don't think that counts as a veggie. Because it's basically just oil and breading. But yeah. And then for my birthday, or my brother's birthday, I guess... What did we do for my brother's birthday? Oh, he wanted Buckhorn Grill. So, we got two TriTips, and we got fried chicken sandwiches and we got sausages and burgers. Again, a lot of food, an abundance of food. And for my mom and my brother, it's not so bad because my brother, I don't know. I think he just has a really fast metabolism, I guess. I don't know. But he can eat a lot, but not really gain that much weight. And then my mom doesn't really eat that much. Because she's really little. She's only like 4'8" I think. So, she'll just take bites of everything. And then that's it and she's full. And then she just like keeps everything as leftovers and eats them for the rest of the week or whatever. So January, I kind of designated that as my planning month just because we do have our birthdays. And my family does like to eat on our birthdays. And like, I think for my birthday, we're celebrating mine a little late. But my mom wants to get dim sum. And so... That's just like a bunch of dumplings. And there's a bunch of fried stuff involved in there and pork belly and whatever. So that's why January I just decided I'm just gonna plan this month. But I did still do some stuff to prep for the rest of the year.


And I did little things. One of the first things I did was clean up my phone. So, if you haven't heard my social media cleanse episode, I do this on a regular cadence anyways. But I wanted to clean up my phone even more to make it less distracting for me. Because my phone is very distracting. And I'm on it a lot. And I'm trying not to be on it so much. So, I deleted the Reddit app. Because I do go on Reddit a lot. And at first it was just for podcast stuff. But then, I followed the gardening subreddit and the crafting one and the calligraphy one and the Animal Crossing one. So, I decided to just delete the app. And then if I really, actually want to use Reddit, I would force me to go on my computer and log in and actually do it. And I'm such a lazy person that I personally have not gone on Reddit since I deleted the app just because I'm too lazy to go on my computer to open that up. Unless I'm doing something for the podcast and I'm trying to think of new ideas or something. But that extra step kind of makes me not want to go on. And then I also deleted DoorDash. If you don't know what DoorDash is, it's just like that delivery service for food. So it's kind of like... like there's Grubhub and Postmates and UberEats and like all those... they're all the same. They're just like some rando picking up food for you and chopping off at your door. So, I deleted that app. And then I turned on focus mode on my phone. So, I think most, if not all smartphones can do this. But basically, you set a timeframe on when it should be turned on. And so, I set mine to turn on during work hours. So that when I'm working, I am not using my phone. And then you can also take a break. So there's a... you can go on the app and just say like 'Taking a break for like 15 minutes or 30 minutes'. So, on my lunch I'll take a break just to see like if I got any notifications and stuff like that. Because I do get snapchats and Instagram post or whatever. And so for that I pause Snapchat, Instagram, Nextdoor and Gmail, and it's set from eight to five Monday through Friday. So, like I said during work hours, I don't want to get distracted by my phone during work hours because I do reach for it a lot. And then in the app, it actually tells you how many times you unlock your phone. And even though I have it turned off, like it's on focus during work, I don't know why but I still grab for my phone and turn it on. Even though I know I'm not going to get any notifications, because I have focus mode on. But I still just grab for it anyways. So, I'm trying to stop doing that. And one day, I did look at it and it was just like in the afternoon. And I turned on my phone 42 times, even though I know I'm not getting notifications, because they're paused. But yet I still grab for it and check my phone 42 times. So, I don't know why I do that. So, I'm trying not to do that. But yeah. So, I did this so I could spend less time on my phone and use that time for something more meaningful. It didn't completely remove phone time, obviously. Because like I said, during my break, I take a break from focus mode so I could like, you know, check social media and whatnot. And then it turns off at five. Although I do kind of think... Well, no. I think it's fine. Because then that really gives me only the hour for lunch, which I'm trying to incorporate walking Link. So, I won't be on it anyways for like half an hour. So really, it's like a half an hour lunch, maybe I'm on my phone. And then now that I'm putting my phone away before bed, I'm trying to put my phone away by 09:30. So really, I only have my phone from 05:00 to 09:30. Which honestly is not a lot of time. That's like four and a half hours. But like if you think about it, like I cook dinner, for example. And I eat dinner, and I also shower and get ready for bed. So really, I'm maybe spending a total of three hours on my phone. Maybe. I'm not sure. I've never liked time to myself. But that's pretty good, in my opinion. Before I used to be on my phone in the morning, in the afternoons, during work, and before I go to bed. So, I think that's pretty good. And I've actually been able to go to bed at a decent time, and actually wake up not super tired. The only times I do wake up super, super tired, it's only if I had a stressful day at work or something the day before.


So, I think even though it's only been a few weeks I've been doing this, I think it's actually been really helpful to not be on my phone so much. And it's good for your eyes, too. So, it's helping me physically and mentally. And then another thing we did in January. So when I say we, I mean me and my husband. We cleaned out our fridge and cupboards. And threw away all our junk food. So, I know I mentioned earlier that I'm working on micro goals, and that you're not supposed to deprive yourself of stuff and blah, blah, blah. But we personally don't ever eat or buy junk food normally. We would not normally have that in our house. However, it was something that we had in our cupboards because of the holidays. And during Christmas and Thanksgiving, we got a bunch of chocolates, and we got popcorn, and we got candy, and like these... all kinds of stuff. Like stuff we wouldn't even eat or buy anyways. So, it's technically not depriving us of stuff. But the reason why we kept it is because that's just kind of how we were raised. We don't throw away food, regardless whether it's bad food or good food. But this time around, we did throw them away. Because it's just all junk food. It's not good for you anyways. It's not something you would normally donate either. Like, it's not canned food that you can just donate. I don't think. I mean, I don't know, I'm sure food banks will still take it, but I don't think you could donate candy, if I remember correctly. But it's not food that gives you sustenance anyways. So, it's not good for you. And we throw it away just so that we wouldn't feel obligated to and feel tempted to eat it. It's just something we don't do normally. And it's just... we're trying to be healthier this year. So, we just had to kind of break that habit of keeping food and making sure we eat it because that's just how we were raised. So, we threw all of those away. Which I don't miss anyways. I'm not a candy person. I don't like candy unless it's chocolate. Like I hate Jolly Ranchers and Lifesavers and all that. Ughhh. Like lollipops, those are... they gross me out. And I don't like the aftertaste and the feeling you have in your mouth when you eat candy. So, I don't like candy anyway. So, that's not a big deal. And then along with creating that spreadsheet that I mentioned. So, I did create a spreadsheet, an Excel spreadsheet of my micro goals. And I color coded it and everything and did it by month and then I had like a brain dump tab where I just brain dumped a bunch of micro goals I want to accomplish this year, but I'm gonna just pick from the list and build onto it every month. So, I would revisit the spreadsheet every month or whatever. But along with that spreadsheet, I also designated a journal for this thing. So, when I graduated college, I did actually lost like... I think, almost 30 pounds. Yeah, I think I lost 30 pounds. And I did really well that year. And I kept a journal. And that journal, I wrote in it every single night. And it really helped me re-evaluate myself for the day. And I think that really helped me in that journey. But like personal stuff happened that year, which made me kind of gained the weight back. So for this year, I got another journal. I designated another journal, specifically to write in on a regular basis. There's just something about pen and paper. I love the feeling of writing on paper. So, I use it as a place to jot down what I achieved for the day? Or why do I want to achieve these goals? Like what does it mean for me to lose weight? It's really like a thought journal, a place for me to just like dump my ideas. It really was a starting point to organizing and creating my micro goals. So, I did the journal first and then kind of just did a brain dump on there first. And then I kind of transferred it over to the spreadsheet. But then I also keep it on a... or I write in it on a regular basis. Like I write on it every night to talk about kind of like how I felt for that day, and like I said, my accomplishments, what did I do, what did I eat, etc. Whatever I want to talk about, I put in that journal. That's like, my well-being journal, I think is what I called it. So, that was my month of January. It was just all planning for these micro goals and planning what I want to do and how to change my mindset for the year so that I can actually accomplish this goal for once.


Because I did turn 29 this year. So, my goal is to get to a healthy weight. Like I don't want to say like be skinny, but be in a healthy weight range for my age and height and gender before I turn 30. So, I want to accomplish these micro goals and accomplish this overall macro goal before my 30th birthday. So now that we're in February, well, I'm recording this in February, this is probably going to go out in February. I chose five goals for my micro goal list to incorporate for February. And so for the five goals, my goal is to do them at least three times a week for the month of February. So for four weeks, I do them at least three times a week. So, the five I picked for this month is to go for a walk, maybe walk Link during my lunch, write in my journal every night or at least, you know, three times a week, get up at least 30 minutes early. So instead of 07:35 like I was saying earlier, get up at 07:30. Put my phone away. Like I said put it in the bathroom like I've been doing. That one actually started in January. And I like that one. That one's an easy one. I probably won't add that to next month's goals. Because that's something I think I'm just gonna keep doing anyways. And then the Yoga challenge. So far, I've been doing pretty well. So, will I lose weight and make my goal this year? Maybe. Am I hopeful that this will work? Sure. For me, I've just failed so many times that I'm just open to any new ideas, any new ways to approach goals. So if something doesn't work, you kind of just have to pause, re-evaluate, and readjust until you find something that does work. I think the most important thing is that you don't stop. For all I know you only get this one life, this one body, so I owe it to myself to try whatever I can to make sure I live a healthy and fulfilling life.


I hope this episode was helpful and insightful. Let me know what your micro goals are. If you have advice, I'm totally open to that as well. What helped you achieve your goals? Please let me know. Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoy what you hear and want to stay up to date on the show, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram. You can also check out my website at All the information will be on there as well as in the description. Please help support the show by sharing it with your friends and family. Thanks so much, and I'll talk to you guys in the next episode.

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