Small gains is something I constantly think about whenever I am setting goals. The over arching goal is going to be big and far reaching. This goal will need to be placed further into the future because it is very unlikeable that you will achieve it anytime soon. As an example, your ultimate goal may be to be the vice president of your division. You would need to understand what qualifications you need to get there. You will also need to know the right people to work with to gain their support. If this goal will take you 5 or 10 years, you will need to layout a timeline with key milestones along the way. This timeline will be a tool you frequently refer to in order to make sure you are staying on track.
The small gains portion is the small advances you make along the way to work towards your ultimate goal. A small gain may be meeting a potential supporter of your desire to become a vice president of your division. Each time you meet with this supporter and build your relationship further, I would consider these small gains. You may also get small gains every time your salary increases or you receive more responsibility in your role. You are receiving more trust from others and building your brand. It is important to know it may be much more difficult to receive some small gains than it is to lose large gains. This is similar to trust. It is much easier to lose trust than gain trust.
The milestones you set in your timeline should be obtainable and build out a story. Milestone 1 and 2 should be very close in the timeline. Milestone 1 and 3 should be further apart, as milestone 1 and 4 are even further apart. Each of these milestones allow you to make small gains and allow you to celebrate your successes along the way. We must remember to be positive and forward thinking. Each year that passes, write down your successes and also note your failures. Where did you not meet the mark? Why did you not meet the mark? How can you meet the mark going forward? How can you adjust your milestones, goals, and objectives in the future? Are there certain people that are not supporting you? We need to make sure we are asking all the questions and also receiving all the answers. Be confident. Be sturdy. Be focused. Make your small gains.