How Do You Track Your Goals?

This is the third of four articles that share what I learned from my informal poll on tasks, goals and balance (first articlesecond article, fourth article). The exact form of the questions changed slightly as calls were made, but in general it was three questions and some follow up questions after each.

How do you track your goals?

This was my only consistent follow up question. I asked it when someone said they do set goals. And I had two common answers:

  1. Well, I don’t really look at them again after I set them (and a couple, ohhh, yeah, I should probably do that).
  2. Yes, and here’s how…

One thing I noticed is that people who work for direct selling companies (think Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, etc.) are much more likely to have specific goals and track them. Granted, in most cases these goals are set for them – a certain number of sales or recruits or some combination needed to stay at their current level in the business.  And generally, there will be a personal website that they log into to see their progress.

However, the main point is: they track their goals. Why do their companies make it so easy for them to track their goals? Because they know that it will help them be more successful.

Why should you track your goals? Well, the best analogy I can come up with is losing weight. If you decide to lose 4 pounds in one month what do you do? I’m guessing that you come up with a diet or exercise plan (or some combination) and weigh yourself so you have good starting point.

Then you periodically weigh yourself throughout the month to see how you’re doing. At the end of week 1 you expect to lose 1 pound. If you don’t – you know you need to review what you’re doing and make a change or two. Tracking your progress allows you to make tweaks to your plan so you have a better chance of success.

Tracking other goals works the same way. If you have an income goal over the next two months, track it in a place you look at every day. It will do two things:

  1. You know exactly how you’re doing on your goal
  2. You’ll have a visual reminder of what your goal is (and that can be pretty motivational)

There are lots of different ways to track your goals. Here are a few ideas:

  1. You can use a simple piece of paper with each day of the month (or months) written down the side. At the end of each day you record your income for the day and the total so far. This way you’re looking at your goal every day.
  2. Create an empty thermometer that you fill in as you go along.
  3. Create an excel spreadsheet. A quick note here, if you aren’t comfortable with excel or you are very comfortable with it and will spend a lot of time playing with it – you might want to choose a different method.
  4. Find an online program to use.

Face it, if you know how close or far you are away from your goal – it will allow you to change your plan if and when necessary.

How do you (or will you) track your goals?