Veronica Shukla

Random Musings

Tackle Mini Goals in 5 Minutes a Day, Plus Push-up Mini Goal Plan

Do you have mini goals? Mini goals are small goals that build up to the accomplishment of larger goals. Mini goals are great because they help you feel more accomplished. People tend to want results immediately, and when that doesn’t happen, they often get discouraged, sometimes quitting altogether. But when we break larger goals up into smaller chunks, or even identify mini goals distinct from our larger goals, we get that instant gratification which fuels us to keep going. Think of mini goals like little boosts of energy.

What’s a Mini Goal Look Like?

Want to run a marathon? Start training with accomplishable mini goals. Celebrate when you’ve:

  1. Hit each new mile marker,
  2. Set a new pace record, or
  3. Hit a goal of running a certain number of days per week.

Want to start meditating? Start with mini goal of 5 (or even less) minutes a day. This small time commitment is much easier to digest than shaking up your schedule with huge time blocks every day.

Want to get out of debt? Start with accomplishable goals. Resolve to:

  1. Only visit certain stores (ahem, Target) once a month.
  2. Only buy certain items used, like clothes or furniture.
  3. Pay off your lowest balance debt.

Movement Mini Goals

Perhaps you haven’t been able to touch your toes since the 3rd grade. Maybe you’ve always wanted to do a full split. Or maybe you’ve been dreaming of doing just one pullup. These are movement mini goals. Movement mini goals are powerful!

Research shows that sitting for more than 30-60 minutes at a time can have detrimental health effects. If you have a desk job, ask for a standing desk. That may not be possible, but every half hour you can get up and walk around. If you want, you can even work on a mini fitness goal. Five minutes working on that handstand or lowering your squat can get your heart rate up enough to ward off some of the deleterious effects of sitting. You may have to make clothing choices to make this possible at work. If that’s not possible, just get up and move at work. Then when you’re at home indulging in TV or computer time, work on your mini goals.

Write down your mini goals and keep track of your progress. Studies show that writing these things down increases our chance of following through. Use whatever works for you. I use the Lumen Trails app to track everything, including my mini goals.

Push-ups Mini Goal Routine

Push-ups are an essential basic exercise to master. Many people do not yet possess the strength to do full push-ups. Many more are unknowingly doing them wrong, which can be less effective or cause injury depending on the mistake. Check out this article from GMB Fitness to see if you are doing push-ups properly. Here is a great video that can also help. They’ll show you how to do a proper push-up, several progression exercises, and tons of rockstar motivation at the end.

Here is a plan to work on a push-ups mini goal assuming that you cannot do a full push-up properly (you might be able to do many full push-ups, but if you have learned to do them improperly, you may be surprised to find you can’t do a single push-up in proper form).

Look at your calendar and find a time where you can squeeze in 5 minutes of push-up work, preferably during a time that you are sedentary. This probably won’t make you sweat, and you can do it wearing just about anything. It’s only 5 minutes, you can do this!

Day 1

Assess your ability to do a proper push-up – try it out. Do it in front of a mirror if you can. Keep those elbows in and your butt down! If you can’t do one on your feet, move to your knees. If you can’t do one on your knees, elevate the top of your body until you can do one properly. You may be standing up and pushing your body off a wall, countertop, or the back of the couch – that’s fine. Do what you can do. Work on this for 5 minutes. Record what you did and any notes you have on paper, in your journal, or in a tracking app.

Week 1 (days 2-7)

Do 3 sets of as many push-ups as you can do properly in each set. This first week, just concentrate on your form. Don’t worry about how many reps you end up doing, just focus on creating new muscle memory in this new form. Take rest days if you need them, and record what you’ve done each day.

Week 2

Do 3 sets of as many push-ups as you can do properly in each set, but at the beginning of each set, try doing them at one level of increased difficulty before moving back to where you can do them. If you are standing and pushing off a wall, move to push-ups off the back of the couch or something of similar height. If you are on your knees, move to full push-ups. If you can’t do this properly, just go back to the wall or your knees. If you find you can do this new level of difficulty, perform as many as you can, then finish the set at your previous level of difficulty (on the wall or your knees). Do this for each set. Continue to work on creating new muscle memory for the correct form (this will take some time). Take rest days if you need them, and record what you’ve done each day.

Weeks 3 and 4

Keep doing your sets and moving up in difficulty and repetitions. Take breaks when needed and never stop thinking about proper form. By the end of the fourth week, you should be able to do several perfect full push-ups. Keep recording your progress so you can look back to remember where you are at or to celebrate where you’ve come from.

You can work on improving push-ups for as long as you want, but try to set a goal. And when you reach that goal, think about starting a new mini goal plan. For example, your goal might be to be able to do 3 sets of 10 full push-ups in proper form. Once you’ve reached that goal, consider moving on to a new mini goal. Just keep doing those push-ups once a week or so, so you don’t lose all that progress you just made.

Do you have any mini goals? What are some things you’ve really wanted to do but seemed impossible?