Can I share a “fun fact” about myself with you? I’ve been setting goals since I was a child. Obviously, at the time, I didn’t really know they were goals. They were just things I wanted, that I would write or speak…I’d even share with others. Most times, I often achieved those things.
For example, when I was in the 4th grade (so about 8 or 9 years old), I had a tutor that told me she was an actress. She gave me a flyer for a movie that was casting extras in Austin. She then began to list out the steps one can take to become an actress (get headshots, get an agent, etc.). I told my parents I wanted to do this, and I broke out the phone book (yes, I’m that old) and researched agencies in Austin. I mailed my school picture to a few of them and one of them got back to me! She told me to get headshots and she would sign me! I had set a goal and I achieved it – without knowing what I was doing.
The first real goal setting list I found from my past was in 2008 for the 2009 year. I was 20 years old and I listed out the things I wanted to achieve that year. Oh, how my life was so much simpler back then!
I share all that with you to say that setting goals from an early age has contributed IMMENSLEY to all that I’ve accomplished today. Sure, I haven’t achieved everything I set out too…but I either keep working towards them or I align goals to where I’m at now. My point is that to be successful in life, you should be setting and working towards goals.
If you set goals but struggle with staying on track with them, I want to help! I’m sharing 5 tricks that keep me on track with my goals. Hopefully you can use these tips yourself or tweak them in a way to make sure they can help you too!
5 Tricks to Keep Me on Track with My Goals
#1 Looking at my goals every day
I look at my goals multiple times a day, because I have them listed in multiple places. As part of my morning routine, I journal any thoughts, feelings, fears and accomplishments every morning. Included in each daily journal entry is a list of the goals I’m working on during the year. That’s the first time I see my goals.
I have my annual goals written on my dry erase board in my office. The dry erase board is on the wall to my left, so any time I look up and over, my goals (along with messages and inspiration) are in plain sight. That’s the second time I see my goals throughout the day.
The final place I see my goals is in my OneNote. You may recall from the 5 Ways a Type A Personality Stays Organized article that OneNote has been a part of my business start-up ritual. I list what I tasks I have scheduled to get done for the day, what tasks are most important and what I accomplished. I also include my annual goals in each day’s new OneNote tab.
That makes 3 different places/times throughout the day where I see my goals. This means I’m constantly reminded of what I’m working towards, which automatically keeps me on track.
#2 Making sure my goals are aligned with my values
Have you ever set a goal that wasn’t aligned with what you really wanted? Maybe you set the goal because you saw a friend or Instagram influencer set it. Maybe you set the goal because your family told you that you needed to improve in that area. Maybe you set the goal because you didn’t know what else to set.
How did it go when reaching those goals? Probably not well, right? I’ve been there too – setting goals that weren’t truly in line with what I wanted, nor my own values. I gave up on those goals because they didn’t actually matter to me.
I’ve found that one thing that helps to keep me on track with my goals is making sure I set goals that are aligned with my values, and how I want my future self to be. These types of goals are worth working towards, anything else is false advertising for yourself.
#3 Monitoring the progress towards my goals
There is nothing more exciting than seeing you’re on track to reaching a goal. The momentum of your current results builds and encourages you to keep going – at least, I’ve found this to be the case for me! Tracking the progress to my goals via spreadsheets and journaling helps keep me on track with my goals because I know that I’m well on my way to reaching them!
One of the criteria of SMART goals is that the goals are measurable – meaning you can track your progress. For example, a good (SMART) goal to set would be:
“I want to pay off $5,000 worth of debt over the next 12 months”.
Compared to: “I want to be debt free”.
With the first example, you can monitor your progress month over month to see if you’re on track to pay off the $5,000 over the course of the year. That progress monitoring will help motivate you, or put a flame under you to try different things as you work towards the goal.
#4 Giving myself grace if goal timeframes need to be adjusted
Full transparency – I just started leveraging this trick! In the past, I would beat myself up if I didn’t reach a goal or wasn’t on track to reach it. Then, life happened and I learned that reaching goals isn’t the most important thing. Sometimes, there will be distractions that require your attention, at the expense of your goals. That’s okay. I’ve learned to adjust my timeframes and give myself grace as I get back on track towards working on the goal.
#5 Sharing my goals with my support system and community
The final trick to keep me on track with my goals is sharing what I’m working towards with my family, friends, and community. Speaking your goals out loud makes them real. Telling people what you want to achieve adds a different level of accountability.
Whether those people check in on your progress or not, you know that you’ve shared your goals, so if you don’t work to make them happen, your words didn’t mean much. I value being a person who does what she says she will do. Whether I reach the goal or not, as long as I show up every day and work towards them, I’m winning!
While the tips I’ve shared are designed to help keep me on track with my goals and hopefully help you too, they only work when goals are actually set. If you struggle with setting goals, check out The Best Way to Set Your Money Goals for the New Year for some tips on setting effective goals (not just money goals).
I truly believe that setting goals over the course of my life has led me to accomplishing most of the things I’ve wanted in life. There’s nothing more fulfilling than setting a goal and achieving it! Set those goals and keep working towards them, it will be worth it!
How do you stay on track with your goals? What typically throws you off from working towards your goals? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!