Thursday, January 3, 2013

Creating & Tracking Goals

I love making New Year's Goals. (Have I lost you already?)

I spend time between Christmas and New Year's thinking about what I want to accomplish during the upcoming year.  I have to chuckle when someone says they don't make New Year's goals, but they want to work on....  Whether you take a sit-down-and-plan approach or you think about what could be improved upon in the big-picture-kind-of-way, I encourage you to have something for which to aim.

People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more
in a shorter period of time 
than people without them could ever imagine.

Successful people are simply those with successful habits.   
- both quotes by Brian Tracy

When creating goals it's important to be:

S - specific, significant, stretching

M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T - time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

For further reading about SMART goals, go here.

I use the following chart (created in Word) to keep track of monthly goals. I love marking off each day as I accomplish my goal. (click chart to view larger)

My monthly goals might include finishing some quilting projects, organizing something, spending time in meaningful ways with people. The monthly goals are more project-oriented.

In 2011 I kept a monthly record most of the year, which was a big step for me, but last year I had a few areas that needed prolonged accountability - areas that I worked on the whole year, not just one month at a time.  I decided to create a yearly goals chart for those.
These goals were daily devotions, P365 (a picture a day), exercise, healthy eating, sleep routines, making a daily plan, keeping a gratitude journal and a few others.  I was hoping that seeing a whole year at a time would give me the extra motivation needed to stick with it and I can honestly say it did.
I've never done so well on goals before!

What was the biggest surprise while tracking goals on the yearly sheet?  Sometimes real life gets in the way! When we had guests stay for a month, the power go out for a week, graduations/parties to plan and attend, sicknesses and emergencies goals fell by the wayside.

Prior to using this chart I would just see the failure of not keeping up with my goals instead of seeing how life impacts the goals I've made.  In 2012 I could look at the white spaces on the chart and know that life had happened and I just needed to get back on track or that I was truly struggling and needed to determine why.  I gave myself much more grace and it paid off because it was easier to get back on track!

The charts also helped me evaluate what goals were truly beneficial. I dropped "keeping a gratitude journal" around week 36 because it wasn't helping me become more grateful. It had just become a chore I did right before turning out the light at bedtime.  I found I felt grateful without the needed tool of a journal.  On the other hand, I realized that the goals of "getting up between 6-7am" and "going to bed between 9-10pm" were critical to the success of my days.  Sleep is a foundational goal for me again this year and I hope to make progress in it's consistency.

Where do I keep these charts?

The yearly charts I printed on cardstock and put in a 3-ring binder labeled Goals. I have a few other tabs that I use sporadically and I might share that folder with you at a later time. The most important thing is to print the charts on cardstock so they keep their integrity the entire year.

I used to have a day planner, but I didn't utilize much more than the calendar. So now I keep a pocket folder for all my daily/weekly organizing papers: a running to-do list, a running to-buy list, calendar, food/exercise log, a list of our library check-outs, and anything that I might need for the week at hand. I don't have to conform to a manufactured planner, it is just a one-stop place for me to keep the papers that I will use often. It's my working folder and it works for me!

If you are interested in copies of the charts above, just send me an email at: I'd be happy to send them to you.

Have you set 2013 goals? Let me know what keeps you motivated!

Happy New Year!


Conny said...

I've wavered about this whole goal-making thing ... I've tried in the past and FAILED so I am a little gun-shy ... BUT I like how you make things easy to follow and track. Something right there in front of you all the time. Might work for me ... I'll have to mull this over!! :) Thanks for sharing.

rita said...

Wow! I'm impressed. I want to try some aspects of your system.