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Did you know that only 8 percent of people manage to achieve a goal they’ve set? Meeting goals can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to make significant, long-term changes to your life. So how do you make it into that coveted 8 percent and avoid all the pitfalls that usually come with pursuing goals?
A goal tracker template can be an excellent tool for helping you to achieve the things you want to. Read on to learn more about the benefits of these trackers and how you can set one up for your goals.
What Is a Goal Tracker?
Before we dive into how you can use a goal tracker in your life, let’s talk about what they are. A goal tracker is a document or app designed to help you keep up with progress toward your goals. Those goals can include anything from taking more steps daily to meeting specific work deadlines.
A goal tracker usually involves a calendar format with various milestones or steps you need to take to achieve your overall goal. For instance, if your goal is to walk more, your goal tracker might include a goal to walk an extra 100 steps each day. Each day, you’ll check off the goals you accomplished.
One of the biggest benefits of using a goal tracker worksheet is that it can help you to visualize success. In many cases, achieving goals takes a lot of effort over a long period. We tend to lose sight of slow progress over time, and it can be easy to get disheartened if you don’t feel like you’re making any progress.
A goal tracker gives you a visual representation of the things you’re accomplishing on the path to your goals. Instead of waiting to see the nebulous final result, you can see progress every day. This can make it easier to stick to your goals since you can take pride in consistently hitting those milestones.
Specify Your Goals
Often, when we set goals for ourselves, they can wind up sounding somewhat vague. Maybe you want to “eat healthier,” “call your friends more often,” or “expand your professional skills.” But what do those goals mean in a practical, feet-on-the-ground kind of way?
When you set up a goal tracker template, you’re forced to sit down and make your goals concrete. You have to figure out the individual steps you need to take to make those goals happen and decide how you’ll know when you meet your goal. This structure can make achieving those goals much easier, especially since you can visualize the finish line.
Make Goals a Part of Your Day
How often have you set a new goal for yourself and then completely forgotten about it before the week is out? New Year’s resolutions are particularly notorious for this. How many of you can tell me in April what your resolution was?
The truth is that it can be hard to work the practicalities of pursuing a goal into the reality of your daily routine.
A goal tracker helps you to make your goals a part of your everyday life, rather than a nebulous “someday.” You have definite steps you want to take every day to work toward your goal. It becomes harder to forget your goal when reminders of that journey are staring you in the face.
As much as we don’t like to admit it, pursuing a goal is not a linear path of upward progress. You may start strong, but eventually, something will happen, and you’ll slip, missing a day or falling off track completely. While this is entirely normal, it can be helpful to identify what made you slip up so you can make a plan to keep it from happening again.
A goal tracker can be helpful as you start trying to figure out what led to you falling off the wagon. You can see exactly what day things began to go off the rails and think back on what was happening around that time. You may also start noticing that you do great with your goals for the first five days, two weeks, or three months and then lose momentum.
Build a Habit
Simply put, meeting a long-term goal requires building a new habit in your life. If you want to maintain these goals in the future, they need to be as natural and easy for you as putting on pants in the morning. But how do you create this new habit that will become integral to your life?
Goal trackers can keep you consistent enough that, eventually, the goals you have to work so hard to keep up with now are second nature. The best way to engrain a behavior is to practice it daily, and these worksheets help you do that. Then, once you’ve built a new habit, you can start tackling some of the others you want to incorporate into your life.
Establish Your Goals
If you want to create a goal tracker template for yourself, you first need to establish your goals. Start by thinking about what you want your life to look like in a month, six months, a year, and five years. Then, think about the things in your life that need to change to get you to that point.
The SMART goal system can be helpful when you’re establishing the things you want to track in your life. These goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. So, rather than saying you want to lose weight, you should say that you want to lose ten pounds in the next three months.
Break Them Down
Once you have your SMART goals written down, you’ll need to start breaking them down into manageable tasks. So let’s say you want to start learning a new language. What will you do each day to work toward that goal, and how will you fit that into your daily schedule?
Keep in mind that while daily goals can be fantastic, they aren’t the only timeframe you should consider. For example, it may be more realistic to aim to practice your new language three times a week rather than every day. Depending on the goal you’re working toward, you can divide your overall objectives down into monthly, weekly, or daily to-do items.
Set Reasonable Deadlines
Now that you have your routine to-dos nailed down, it’s time to start setting up some benchmarks for yourself. These are opportunities to check in on your overall progress and see if your system is working for you. If not, you can go back to the drawing board, figure out what’s not working, and try a new approach to your goal.
When setting these benchmarks, it can be easy to get swept up in the beginner’s optimism and assume you’ll be perfect in meeting your daily goals. But the truth is that perfection is unlikely, if not impossible, and it’s better to plan for a more realistic deadline. Give yourself some wiggle room for days that you miss your goals or life just gets in the way.
Setting benchmarks for yourself can also have a fun side: arranging rewards. If you’re pursuing a long-term goal, you’ll likely lose motivation at several points along the way. Small rewards can help you keep pushing on your goals even when the finish line seems impossible.
At each of your benchmarks, decide on a reward you’ll get once you hit that goal. If your goal is to meditate for half an hour every day, plan to buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting when you hit seven consecutive days of meditating for five minutes. These rewards should be something you’re excited about and support the overall lifestyle you’re working toward.
Create a Schedule
Now that you have a more solid idea of your goals, benchmarks, and rewards, it will be time to start digging into your goal tracker template. You’re going to need a schedule that will act as a visual representation of your pursuits. You may need to set up reminders for yourself at certain times of the day or arrange for those oh-so-satisfying check boxes.
Your schedule can be a page in a bullet journal, a color-coded symbol on a calendar, or an app on your phone. It’s a good idea to pick something you look at several times throughout the day to keep your goals at the front of your mind. Also, ensure you don’t overload yourself with a thousand goals in one day—limiting to three or fewer can improve your chances of success.
Build in Accountability
Accountability is one of the best tools in your arsenal for sticking to your goals. If someone else knows about your goal, you won’t want to deal with the embarrassment of telling them you didn’t hit that goal. Sometimes just the knowledge that someone else will be checking up on you can help you to stay on track.
Find a way to build accountability into your goal-tracking template for maximum success. If it’s a digital calendar, consider sharing it with a trusted friend or loved one so they can check in on your progress. If you’re using a physical calendar, hang it in a central spot in your house where the rest of your family can see what you’ve accomplished.
Review Your Progress
Once you put your goal tracker template into action, it can be easy to get sucked into the work zone and forget to look up. You may be hitting your goals every day and not noticing much of an overall difference, or you may be taking more “cheat days” than you realize. It’s essential to check in every now and then and see how you’re doing.
Set aside time every few months to see how you’re doing with your goal tracking. At the beginning of this process, you may even want to check in every couple of weeks to ensure things are going well. See how often you’re hitting your goals, how far you’re progressed toward your overall goal, and if there’s anything that needs to change.
Adjust as Needed
As we mentioned, progress is not linear, and you will try some tactics during your pursuits that just don’t work. For example, maybe you planned to go for a walk five days a week, and the truth is you can only make it happen three times a week. Instead of getting discouraged and giving the whole thing up, you just need to make a few adjustments.
Look at the patterns in your goal tracker and figure out what’s working for you and what isn’t. If problems routinely show up, try to figure out what causes them and how you can work around that obstacle. Make a new plan, adjust your template accordingly, and carry on toward your goals!
Set Up Your Goal Tracker Template
Achieving goals is a long, challenging process, but with the right tools at your disposal, you can blow those goals out of the water. A goal tracker template can help you visualize success, make goals a part of your day, and identify patterns. Start by establishing specific goals, set deadlines for yourself, and adjust your plan as needed.
If you’d like to set up your own goal tracker template, check out the rest of our site at SWELLEnterprise. We can help you to run your business from one app—no more switching tabs and duplicate data entry. Try our app free today and start managing your business the smart way.