If you haven’t read my previous post on Goal Planning For A New Year you may want to check that one out, as I will be referencing it a bit throughout this post. In that post I went through the process I used for making my goals for this year, and why I think that process will make you more successful at attaining your goals. When I was writing that post, I decide to separate goal making and goal tracking, since they are two separate methods. However I really believe one isn’t complete without the other and we must track our goals if we want to succeed.
It is fairly easy to think of things in our lives we would like to change or improve, but sitting down and fully thinking out your goals, deciding what they are, what you need to continue/change to attain your goals, and also how you are going to keep yourself motivated and accountable to your goals can be a process. Goal tracking works differently for every individual. It is about figuring out what works best for you.
First I want to share some of my tips for goal tracking, and then show you two methods I have used, and resources you may want to use to help you stay on track.
Tip #1– Whatever goal tracking method you decide on, make sure it isn’t complicated. Sometimes you don’t know how complicated it is until you have tried the method out, but once you recognize it is too complicated, pick a new way. Don’t keep trying to make a system work for you, if it doesn’t. This happened to me last year with trying to reach my goal of getting better sleep. I made a chart in my planner that was really cute, but ended up requiring too much time to fill in. I had to sit down each day and do too many calculations and recording and in the end it wasn’t getting me any closer to my goal. At first I was doing it daily, then I was sitting down weekly and writing the days in, and then I just stopped altogether. I should have recognized what wasn’t working for me and tried a new method. I also made the mistake of tracking the results and not making it about the goal.
Tip #2- Make sure you are tracking the steps towards your goal and not just the overall goal. As I just mentioned my goal last year of getting better sleep, I was tracking the sleep I was getting, but wasn’t tracking what would give me better sleep. I knew staying off my phone before bed and reading would give me better sleep, but instead of making it about keeping myself on track with those two tasks, I made it all about the end goal and didn’t succeed.
Tip #3- Don’t be afraid to try out different methods.To find your best method, it may take some trial and error. It takes time to find out what works for you. Don’t be afraid to fail at one method, it may lead you to the one that will work for you.
Tip #4- Don’t worry about making it all fancy and Instagram ‘worthy’. Your goals are YOUR goals. It is easy to get caught up on IG looking at all the beautiful goal planners and trackers, but if you are spending more time making your goal planner look pretty for your feed, that could be taking away from achieving your goals. With that being said, if you really enjoy making pretty goal spreads, and you find it useful in your tracking, definitely keep doing it.
Tip #5- You may fall in love with the way someone else tracks their goals, however if it doesn’t work for you, don’t force it just because it works for them.
Tip #6- One Size Doesn’t Fit All- Different goals required different goal tracking methods. How you track your health goals may be a different method then how you track your family or work goals.
When I was developing the methods I wanted to use to track my goals, I first had to look at each of my goals individually. Like I said in my tips section, one type of goal tracking doesn’t work for all goals. For me my goals usually fit into two categories: the first– goals I can track by themselves more often than not – on a daily basis. The second– goals that have more steps and need more of a process to be able to track and achieve them.
So one of the goals I want to achieve this year that works well with daily tracking is–to spend time each day reading a daily devotional. This is a task that can be tracked on its own and it doesn’t need a whole process for me to achieve it. I also want to drink more water each day, so that again was another goal I could track everyday. I was inspired by bullet journal methods of goal tracking. So I ended up using a the system below, where I drew squares for each day of the month, and I shade in the day of the month that I accomplish each goal. There are many different tracking methods, similar to this one; you could for example just write the goal you want to achieve and write a check mark under it for each day you achieve that goal. Again remember the less complicated the method, the more likely you will keep it up. What is nice about this visual tracker-it is easy to look back at and see how often that month you achieved your goal. Also if you are working off a reward system, it is easy to see if you reached the point where you get a reward. For me, it has been very satisfying to shade in a box each day when I do achieve my goal.
An example of a goal I have that doesn’t work with this daily tracking method and falls into that second category of goal tracking is : creating new content and posting weekly on my blog. Now if I was trying to use the method above, I would just shade in a box each week that I accomplish this goal. However that doesn’t help me reach the goal. It is just showing that I did it. In order for me to track my progress with this goal, I need to track the steps. This goal takes more work then just having an extra glass or two of water a day, like my water goal does.
When it comes to goals that have more steps involved, I find if I break down the tasks that need to be accomplished, and track those, I am more likely to achieve it. So going back to my goal of weekly content creating, I came up with a weekly planning system to help me achieve this goal. In a weekly planning sheet (like this one from Recollections) I am writing in what I need to achieve each day in order to reach the weekly goal. Again in reference to my last goal planning post I could then decide on a reward if I achieve this goal for a month, three months, etc. My tip for tracking goals that have more than one step, is to break it down into what needs to be done monthly, then weekly, then daily and track those instead of the overall goal. By doing this you will reach that main goal. Again, this process is uncomplicated and easy to do. I write in each day what needs to be done and made a check box next to it, where I can check when it is done. (I want to stick to a consistent day, Thursday, so that is why it looks like the planning of two different blogs on this page.)
Obviously the two goals I have shared above are not the only goals I have for this year, but I still us the same process when I look at each of my goals. I decide what method is best to track them, then I create the tracker. However I know not everyone wants to create their own trackers. I want to show you some options you have when it comes to pre-designed planners and planner inserts that may help you achieve your goals.
Mambi for example makes budget planner inserts to help you stay on track with your financial goals. I have not used this budget planner, but it does have great pages to help you stay on track. They also make inserts for household planning which include meal planning, house cleaning, and budgeting. I am in the process of trying to find/create a house cleaning goal tracker but I don’t meal plan, so I haven’t chosen to pick the Mambi one up. They also make a mini fitness planner (I am using one this year) to track your fitness goals. I wrote a first impression on this planner, but I am going to be writing a post after my first month using the mambi fitness planner detailing my experience and if/how it is helping me achieve my fitness goals. I have linked below the Mambi site for each of the two inserts.
The new(ish) Recollections Planners at Michaels have a planner that is strictly goal planning. It is super pretty. I haven’t looked at it in person yet, mainly because I am new at this goal planning thing and so far I have been liking to track my goals in my Recollections Mini Planner but Caitlyn (@mintfoxmeadows) did a flip through of this planner on her youtube channel and if you are looking for a planner that helps you create your goals and has many pages to help you stay motivated, you should definitely check it out. What is nice about this planner, is that it keeps your goals all in one place. –> Recollections Goal Planner Flip Through. Caitlyn’s channel also has great content and flip throughs of other planners. She even flips through the two Mambi extension packs I mentioned above.
There too many planners and inserts for goal planning to mention, just typing into google ‘goal planners’ brings up many results, mostly made by large companies. However there are many great goal planner inserts made by small business owners through Etsy. If you use a ring or disc bound planner system, you can download and print inserts that you could use to help you stay on track. If you can’t come up with your own system, look through Etsy and I am sure you will find something there that will work for at least one of your goals.
This post was for all the paper planner girls out there, but I will have an upcoming post for those who prefer to use their mobile device to plan their days & goals. If you have any questions or want suggestions on goal planning methods that would work for you, please contact me, I would love to give your suggestions and help you out.