Quick, what’s the difference between a dream and a goal?|
Any goal-setting guru will tell you that goals are dreams that you write down and track. Why? By writing down your goals, you're creating a "to do" list for your life, which is a powerful way to commit to achieving your dreams. Tracking your progress heightens the commitment, helping you see what’s important, identify pitfalls, find trends, and celebrate successes. You wouldn’t take a class or play a sport without measuring success in some way, whether by grades or keeping score, so why not invest similarly in your own life?
Tracking your goals shouldn’t be hard if you’ve defined them clearly and broken them into manageable tasks. If you haven’t done this, you’ll find out pretty quickly when you start to monitor your progress. Give yourself the freedom to pick the tool—or combination of tools—that works for you. Here are some creative ways to track your progress:
Based on the concept that people establish habits after 21 consecutive days, you can design your own chart to help you mark daily progress. Include four brief headings: the habit you want to cultivate, your start date, your goal date, and the date you achieved it. Then include 21 slots, calendar-style, that you can mark off daily as you meet the goal. If you miss one day, start a new trial period. Keep your charts in your date book, on your desk, or as a bookmark.
Buy or Create a Goal Calendar
These can be large enough to hang or small enough to carry with you. Mark the daily progress you make towards your goals, and briefly note problems, challenges, and successes that you experience. You can also chart higher-level goals on a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly basis. Got kids? Get them involved by letting them decorate, post accomplishment stickers, and write encouraging notes. They’ll feel important in your life and love it!
Email Your Own Encouragement
Send yourself a daily email reviewing how you did yesterday and what you plan to do today. You can do this at the end of each day or even at the beginning of your day. Just seeing the current email in your inbox—or even glancing over it once or twice a day—is a powerful reminder that you want to accomplish something worthwhile. Filing or printing your daily email will give you a complete record of how you’ve done, and may point out areas for improvement.