Now that you've defined your big goals and broken them down into mini-goals, it's time to track your progress. This lets you see how far you've come, and admittedly, how far you have to go. Both are good things, I promise! Sometimes in the middle of a journey, you forget why you're on the path and what remains to accomplish your objectives. I want you to get to do a happy dance to celebrate your success, so dedicate yourself to this part of the process.
In the last post we talked about breaking down your goals into manageable pieces - things you can accomplish easily. That breakdown becomes really useful when you want to track your progress since we can track target dates to each of those items. A target date is similar to a due date, except less scary!
Daily Habit Tracker
Some goals are best managed daily, and for that I LOVE a daily habit tracker. It's ridiculously satisfying to check off the boxes each day and reward myself with (er, chocolate) when I complete a week or month of goals. My favorite habit tracker can be downloaded from Alicia Michelle XO's site. I love it because I can just write my habits on the left and track them, but you can easily make this yourself with paper, pen and ruler.
Calendar and/or Planner
Digital or a paper version, my calendar and planner keep my life in order. Tracking goals is no exception. There's something about the act of writing things down that cements them in my brain (tactile learner here!). If you're not a paper planner kind of person, digital calendars offer a great way to track all of your objectives. And to be honest, the reminder feature can't be beat. Here are some ways I like to use calendars to track my goals.
- Add reminders on specific days to accomplish steps of your mini-goals
- Jot down your target dates for mini and full size goals so they feel a bit more concrete
- Add post it notes to your paper version to call these items out! Pro tip: if you don't meet your target (or finish early!) you can easily shift the post its around without leaving dreaded eraser marks in your planner.
While I LOVE (with double hearts) a beautiful paper planner, I don't take my planner with me everywhere, so equally love a digital backup of my plan for when I want to reference it on the fly. Now, you don't just need a digital strategy as a backup to your paper goals. There are a ton of great tools out in the world that make goal tracking a breeze. Below are a couple of my favorites (p.s. they're both free to use!)
I use Asana to track all of my posts for this blog (social included), as well as target dates. What I love about Asana is that they have both a list and a board feature, which can be associated to a calendar to provide you with a couple different views. It's easy to track what I've got going on and move things around when I need to adjust. In addition, I think it's pretty and the app works well on my phone. Intense criteria, I know.
Trello has been a long standing favorite in many of my circles for it's easy to use features. The idea behind trello is that you can have a kanban board with columns that are a logical progression of work where cards (i.e. tasks) can be added. An example would be having a to do, doing and done column, where a card moves through each process. This lets you see what's in flight at any stage of the process. In addition, you can add due dates (unfortunately not called target dates, oh well), as well as descriptions and comments in each card.
I hope that you've found some inspiration for tracking your goals, and that this series is helping to identify what you want to focus on this year. I'd love to hear what you're up to in the comments, or reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!