A life without goals is like a ship lost on the ocean without a map. Goals are integral for success as they give us something to aim for, they provide accountability, they provide focus, and they help steer us down a path to success.
Why is it then that some people find it very easy to set goals and stick to them, whereas other people don’t? Well, whilst we can’t speak for everybody, one of the main reasons why people fail to stick to their goals is simply due to the fact that they aren’t tracking their progress.
Setting goals is important, but if you aren’t tracking progress, how well do you know you’re doing, and how can you tell whether or not there’s room for improvement?
Say, for example, you want to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year, would you simply weigh yourself one morning, get to work on losing the weight, and then weigh yourself again in exactly 12 months’ time? No, of course you wouldn’t, you’d weigh yourself fairly regularly in a bid to determine how much weight you are losing, if any, and to check whether what you’re doing is working.
Tracking progress towards your goals is vital, which is what we’re going to be looking at today. Here are several tips to help you track your progress towards your goals.
1. Break down your goal into smaller objectives
In terms of tracking progress, one of the easiest and most effective ways of tracking progress towards your goals is to break down the primary goal into smaller objectives.
Say, for example, you have set yourself a goal of getting promoted at work, a great way to track your progress is to set several smaller goals and objectives at work and complete each of those. These could be things like, obtaining a perfect attendance record, never missing a deadline, picking up overtime when needed, or anything else which would help you nail that promotion you’ve been after for so long.
By breaking down the main goal into smaller goals, you can set out a clear action plan and go from there.
Once you achieve each small goal, you can cross it off your list and use it for tracking progress towards your primary objective.
2. Make tracking progress a habit
As we keep mentioning, if you’re looking for ways of reaching your goals much quicker, it’s vital that you start tracking your progress to measure just how well you’re doing.
In terms of tracking progress, one of the best things you can do to ensure that you actually start tracking and make it a habit.
If for example, you’re looking to lose weight, a great way to track your progress would be to weigh yourself regularly to see if you’re losing weight, gaining weight, or simply staying the same. A lot of people will therefore have a weekly weigh-in and will weigh themselves at the same time and the same day each week, as a way of tracking their progress.
Whatever your goals are, if you want to track your progress, make it a habit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using specialist software, you’re weighing yourself, you’re taking progress pics, or anything else, make the progress tracking a habit, and you’ll be amazed by how much easier it is and by just how much it makes a change.
3. Monitor your progress daily
We spoke previously about the importance of making tracking progress a habit and for a good reason.
If you’re looking for another way of making tracking progress a habit, a great tip is to find ways of monitoring your progress daily.
Remember, small accomplishments, no matter how small they may be, will add up to make large accomplishments and this will not only help to get you to your goal quicker, it will also give you a psychological boost as well.
If your goal is financially driven and you’re aiming to earn a certain amount of money each month, see how much money you’re making each day as this is a great way of tracking progress to see whether or not you’re on course to meet your goals and objectives.
4. Tweak your goals when needed
In terms of tracking progress, if you are struggling to track your progress towards reaching your goals, it could be that your goals are simply unobtainable or are perhaps a little too difficult as they currently stand?
If this is indeed the case, a great tip here is to simply go ahead and tweak your goals and objectives when needed.
If for example, you’re looking to lose weight and have set yourself a goal of 100 pounds to lose in a year, yet months down the line you’ve barely lost 20, start tracking progress, work out roughly how much weight you’re losing on average each week/month and use this to reset and tweak your weight loss goal.
Instead of 100 pounds off by the end of the year, why not aim for 50 pounds instead? That way, you will still have the goal to aim for, you can easily track how much weight you’ve lost, and if you hit your goal, you’ll be 50 pounds lighter, which is no small feat.
By tweaking your goals, you will be in a better position to reach them, plus tracking your progress will also become much easier if the goals are more obtainable.
5. Plan and organize your day better
When working towards a goal, no matter what that goal may be, if you’re looking for ways of tracking progress and seeing just how far you’ve come, organization is a key fundamental.
Once you are certain you have a goal in mind, now comes the hard work because not only do you need to work towards your goal, but you need to find ways of tracking progress and measuring your progress to see whether or not what you’re doing is currently working.
Each day, set aside a set amount of time and dedicate it to achieving your goals. You can use a calendar, a journal, a spreadsheet, your phone, computer, tablet, or anything else that allows you to monitor your progress and see how well you’re doing.
Create to-do lists, make notes, and plan and organize your day so that you can dedicate a set duration of time each day towards achieving your goals.
6. Hold and make yourself accountable
Accountability is not only important for reaching goals and objectives; it is also important when it comes to tracking progress too.
If you are committed to reaching your targets, it’s important to hold yourself accountable.
A great way to ensure that you track your progress and work towards your goals is to hold yourself accountable and make yourself accountable with others.
If for example, one of your goals is to lose weight, a weekly weigh-in is a great way of tracking progress. However, if you decide you don’t want to weigh yourself one week because you cheated on the diet, or are thinking of cheating, accountability could be the solution.
If you tell other people that you weigh yourself every Friday, if you do start talking about cheating on the diet on a Thursday, or if you start talking about skipping weigh day, those who you held yourself accountable with can talk you round.
The same goes for jobs in the workplace, jobs around the home, financial goals, or anything else for that matter.
If you are accountable, you will have people available for support, plus you’ll be less likely to fold for fear of being judged, or having to admit that you folded and failed on that particular week. For some, this is simply too shameful or too daunting, and people will therefore stick to their goals instead.
7. Look at the bigger picture
Okay, tracking progress is very important, but sometimes, in order to stay on track and to continue to progress, we need to ensure that we look at the bigger picture.
If you want to accomplish your goals, you must ensure that you look at the big picture. By this, we mean you need to truly visualize your end goals and you need to remind yourself why you’ve set these specific goals in the first place.
Maybe, for example, your goal is to start your own business in a year’s time? In order to measure your progress and meet your objectives, you need to consider all of the basic fundamentals that go with running a business, and you need to remind yourself why you want to do it in the first place.
Tell yourself how awesome it will be when you are your own boss and when you do own your own business, but also, you must ensure that you consider all of the other aspects of running a business, I.E paper work, taxes, insurance, employee management, and so on.
The more you understand about your goals, the easier tracking progress will become.
8. Make use of dedicated software
Another awesome tip for anybody looking for ways of tracking progress and meeting their objectives is to use dedicated software to their advantage.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we live in an age where apps and pieces of software are readily available on a whole variety of different platforms.
Apps for example, can be used to measure and track progress in numerous ways. If your goal is to lose weight, there are apps and fitness trackers which you can use to log your meals, monitor your calories, measure your exercise levels, and log your weight. In terms of tracking progress, these apps are ideal.
If your goals are more orientated towards work, you can utilize time tracking apps and software which can be used to literally track your time at work and track how much time you have spent dedicated to specific tasks and jobs.
Technology has advanced hugely over the years, but it is not to be feared, but rather, to be embraced, especially when it comes to tracking progress.
9. Set up a rewards system
When it comes to tracking progress, another very simple yet effective strategy you can implement to help ensure that you stay on track is to set up a rewards system.
Once you’ve set yourself a series of smaller and achievable goals, you can then look for ways of ensuring that you stay on track and actually achieve them, which is where setting rewards can be so, well, rewarding.
Set yourself various goals, and then allow yourself a reward for each of these goals that you achieve. The goals and rewards that you set will depend entirely upon you. For example, though, if you are looking to lose weight, if you set a weekly weight loss target of 2 pounds, you could reward yourself with a weekly treat meal if you reach your target.
Again, not only will a rewards system help to ensure that you stay on track, it will also help keep you motivated and will help to give you something to look forward to.
10. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing
When you set goals, they likely won’t be easy, otherwise you wouldn’t need to work towards them, you’d simply just go ahead and do them.
As far as tracking progress goes, though, if you are struggling to track your progress and stay motivated, you might want to remind yourself why you’re doing the things that you’re doing.
Whatever your goals are, unless you are very fortunate, you will encounter roadblocks and obstacles along the way, and you will find yourself wondering whether you should even bother anymore or simply throw in the towel. When you feel like this, stop and take a few moments to re-evaluate your goals and remind yourself why you set them.
This is where tracking progress is so useful because you can see what you’ve achieved and you can compare where you are now to where you were right back at the start of your journey.
If you do feel like quitting, look at the progress you’ve made and remind yourself why you set those specific goals in the first place.
11. Write down your progress in a journal
Okay, apps and pieces of software are all well and good, but sometimes it’s best to go back to basics when tracking progress, which is where it pays to write down your progress in a journal.
If you have set goals for working out, perhaps to simply get in shape, a lot of people will keep fitness journals whereby they’ll log their workouts by writing down the exercises they performed, sets, reps, and times. For tracking progress, these journals are ideal because you can go back and read the journal and see what kind of progress you’ve made a few months down the line.
If you write down your progress, it will always be there in black and white. If for example, you ran 5K in 45-minutes six weeks ago, the next time you attempt 5K, you know what time you have to beat. Assuming you do indeed beat that time, you can then write it down in your journal and can compare the times and see how much progress has been made.
12. Stop putting pressure on yourself
Finally, when it comes to tracking progress and achieving your goals, one of the simplest but most effective ways of measuring progress and getting to where you need to be is to stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
Far too many of us set difficult goals and put huge amounts of pressure upon ourselves, which often has a negative effect upon our physical and mental health.
If you set weight loss goals, don’t put yourself under heaps of pressure to meet your targets every single week because there will likely be times where you don’t lose weight, no matter how hard you tried.
When tracking progress, don’t look at progress in the past and assume that just because last week you lost 4 pounds, and the week before you lost 3 pounds, that this upcoming week you should automatically lose a similar amount of weight because it doesn’t always work like that.
If we place ourselves under a lot of pressure, we’re likely to buckle, and even if we don’t, and we remain strong, this is still no good for morale, motivation, or mental health.
Accept the fact that you are only human and that you will likely make mistakes at some point, and if you do, don’t beat yourself up over it and don’t set unrealistic goals and put pressure on yourself to achieve them.
So, there you have just a few effective tried and tested tips for tracking progress and reaching your goals and objectives.
No matter what your goals may be, it’s important to remember that it is a marathon and not a sprint.
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