Big Goals, Little Steps: With Guests Shannon Miller & Hal Hershfield

August 16, 2021
Breaking down a goal into smaller steps could help you achieve your goals.

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Can breaking down your financial goals into smaller steps help you achieve results?

Can breaking down your financial goals into smaller steps help you achieve results?

Most people wouldn’t attempt a marathon or a climb up Mount Everest without first working through some less audacious objectives. And yet there are countless examples of ambitious goals—new businesses, academic degrees, career changes, athletic feats—that were abandoned because they appeared too daunting in scope.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a simple strategy that can make your biggest goals more manageable.

Shannon Miller is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of gymnastics. She is a seven-time Olympic medalist, and two-time inductee into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. While her ambitions as a young gymnast included competing at national and international events, she learned early on that achieving those lofty goals would require many small steps along the way. You’ll hear how Shannon Miller’s approach to goals led her to the pinnacle of her sport—and also helped her through a devastating illness.

You can read more about Shannon Miller’s challenges and triumphs in her memoir It’s Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life.

Next, Hal Hershfield joins Katy to explore how breaking your savings goals into smaller amounts and shorter intervals can help you overcome certain psychological hurdles. He also discusses scenarios where smaller monetary increments may not actually be in your best interest.

Hal Hershfield is an associate professor of marketing, behavioral decision-making, and psychology at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Read his paper “Temporal Reframing and Participation in a Savings Program: A Field Experiment” for details on his research with Stephen Shu and Shlomo Benartzi.

Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab.

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