One of the most common reasons that people don’t get to accomplish their goals is that we tend to get distracted, and we lose track of important things that need to be done consistently in order to move forward towards our goals. Maybe you have set a perfectly achievable goal and planned every detailed step, but without effectively tracking your goal and knowing your progress, most certainly you will get discouraged when the first obstacle gets in the way and end up giving up on your goal eventually.
To really achieve any goal worthwhile, we need to discipline ourselves to keep it on track until it’s accomplished. There are several ways to effectively track your goals.
1. Review your goals regularly, preferably daily
Keep yourself constantly reminded of your goals by reviewing them at a specific time each day. It can be in the morning, first thing after you get out of the bed. It can be at night just before you go to sleep. Write down all your goals in a notebook, or store them in a computer software. When you review them, envision how accomplishing that goal will make you feel. Check your current progress, understand what you did to move it forward, find out what else you still need to do. By doing this regularly, you train your mind to become alert to things that are related to your goals, and gradually your mind will automatically guide you to do whatever needed to achieve them.
2. Break down a goal into actionable steps
Many people tend to easily get overwhelmed by all the things they need to do to accomplish a goal. The trick is to break down a bigger goal into smaller actionable steps. For example, say your goal is to start your own business. There are many things you will need to do. But before spending too much time on thinking about how difficult or time consuming they will be, first break things down a bit. For instance, obviously first few steps towards your goal could be: decide an overall direction or business model, find a right product/service to sell, list requirements to make this product/service work, etc. If any of these steps still looks big, break it down further. Once you break it down to doable steps, all you need to focus on is just one small step. As long as you keep doing these small steps, the completion of the goal will take care of itself.
3. Break down a goal into quantifiable results
For some goals, it may not be easy to know what exactly the steps are to get started. How are you still able to keep track of your progress? One method is to find a measurable aspect of your goal, and write it down as a number. For example, your goal could be to lose weight, then the number is your body weight. If you want to finish reading or studying a book, the number is the number of pages to read. If your goal is to save money for a dream vocation, the number is the amount of money you put in a bank account. As long as you know what this number is, you will always know your progress. All that’s left is just to keep doing things that help you move that number closer to your goal’s end result, and stop doing what doesn’t change the number.
4. Track a goal by the amount of time you spend on it
There are certain kind of goals that can’t be easily broken down to definitive steps. It is often difficult to find any obvious measurable aspects for their end result. They can be goals, such as, stay in shape, have a peaceful mind, become more fluent in a foreign language, etc. For this type of goals, you can try tracking the amount of time you spend on doing things required by them. For instance, to stay in shape, track how many hours you work out per week. For having a peaceful mind, track how much time you spend meditating, or doing yoga per day. For becoming fluent in a foreign language, track how much time you spend practicing speaking the language per day. So on and so forth.
No matter what type of goals you set, you should always find something to track its progress. The benefit of doing this is that you will always know whether you are making progress or not. If you are, you will feel encouraged and become confident that your goal is reachable. If you aren’t, you will know immediately that what you are doing isn’t working for you, and it isn’t moving you any closer to your goal. Then you adjust your plan and find something else to try, until you have found the right way to do things that will eventually achieve your goal.
Setting and achieving your goal shouldn’t be that hard once you have learnt how to effectively track your progress. All you need to remember is to review your goals regularly, break things down into manageable steps, make it measurable and finally track your time working on your goals. Once you have mastered to do these things, you can accomplish anything you want.