The last quarter of the year is always my favorite. Not just because of the holidays (though, they play a big role), but because of the opportunity to reflect and prepare for the new year. I’m a Virgo, so the thought of a fresh start always excites me, and what better fresh start than a new year?!
I’ve been formally setting goals since I was 20 years old. I haven’t been fully reflecting on my goal progress since then, but I’ve definitely learned how to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t. Reflection is such a critical part of the goal-setting process.
When you take the time to flush out strengths and opportunities as it relates to your goals, it can help you set future goals that are attainable. To help, I’m sharing 6 questions to help you reflect on your goal progress. My hope is that after reading this article, you never forget your reflections again!
6 Questions to Help You Reflect on Your Goal Progress
#1 Are you on track with your goal?
Kicking off our list of questions to help you reflect on your goal progress is getting straight to the point. Are you on track? This may seem like an obvious question to ask, but your answer to the question could shed light on a few things.
If you don’t know if you’re on track, then it means your goal isn’t as robust as it should be. When setting goals, you want to follow the S.M.A.R.T criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timeline). If your goal is missing any of those characteristics, especially Measurable and Time-specific, then it’s incomplete.
You’ll know if you’re on track with a goal if you have a specific deadline and a specific target. For example: let’s say your goal is to save $5000 in 10 months. If you’re reflecting on your progress at the 5-month mark, you should have $2500 saved. You’re half-way to the goal deadline and so you should have half of the amount saved. Without those criteria though, you’ll never know if you’re really on track.
#2 Have you set realistic milestones and timeframes for your goal?
Question #2 ties directly into the question of if you’re on track with your goal. Does your goal have a timeframe and is it measurable? If so, and you’re not on track to reach your goal by the deadline, you’ll want to assess if you’ve set realistic milestones and timeframes for your goal.
It can be so easy to be overzealous with setting goals, especially if you consider yourself a high-achieving individual. However, it doesn’t mean that you can accomplish any and everything. It also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave a little room for something unexpected.
Referring back to the earlier example of the goal to save $5000 in 10 months. That would require saving $500 every month for ten months. Assuming you have a budget plan in place, you’ve determined you can afford to save $250 every month after all of your bills and expenses are covered. $250 per month after 10 months is only $2500.
With that being said, saving $500 per month isn’t a realistic milestone. That also means the likelihood of having $5000 saved after 10 months is not realistic. Now that you know, you can adjust your goal amount or timeframe.
#3 Does your goal still excite you?
Take it from me – there’s nothing more boring than working towards a goal that doesn’t excite you. Now, it’s possible that the outcome is more exciting than the goal itself. Obviously, paying a large amount of money towards debt every month is not exciting, but knowing that you’ll be debt free at the end of it is very exciting!
Pulse check with your current goals and make sure that they excite you or the outcome of achieving the goal excites you. Bonus points if the goal does both. Currently, I’m aggressively saving money to pay my mortgage off. I’m putting large amounts of money into savings every few weeks, which is exciting. And, the thought of having my mortgage paid off next year also excites me!
#4 How will your life improve when you reach the goal?
Can’t seem to figure out if your goal is exciting. Asking yourself how your life will improve when you reach the goal can help. Regardless of what your goal is, think about how your life will improve when you reach the goal. If you can’t answer the question or there doesn’t seem to be any improvement after hitting the goal, then you’ll probably want to set new goals.
If you have a goal to travel to a new country next year, then you may say that your life will improve because you’ll be more cultured and open-minded. If your goal is to start a business that makes a profit, even a small profit, then you may say that your life will improve because you’ll be able to save more to quit your job and take your business full-time.
#5 Do you need to do anything differently to reach your goal?
Once you’ve confirmed that your goal excites you and your life will improve when you reach the goal, you’ll want to think of ways to reach your goal faster – especially if you aren’t on track. What can you do that you haven’t tried? What options or resources are available to you to help you reach your goal?
The point is to think about how you can get on track to reach your goal by the deadline or how you can reach your goal faster. If your life improves when the goal is reached, then why not try to reach the goal as quickly as reasonably possible?!
#6 What accomplishments have you made as you work towards your goal?
One of the most important aspects of reflection is recognizing how far you’ve come. If you haven’t read The Gap and The Gain by Dan Sullivan, I highly recommend it. Sometimes, we can be so focused on getting where we want to be that we forget to stop and appreciate how far we’ve come. Anytime you’re assessing your goal progress, take the time to recognize what you have accomplished along the way.
Even if you haven’t reached your goal, there are likely accomplishments along the way. For example, if your goal is to learn how to budget and all you’ve done so far to reach the goal is invest in a money coach, then recognize that! Making an investment in your growth is a huge accomplishment!
Related: 6 Easy Tips to Keep Your Goals Front and Center
The 6 questions above will help you assess your goals and get the juices flowing to do things differently, if needed. As I mentioned, reflection is such an important part of the goal-setting and achieving process, you don’t want to skip that step! Do you typically reflect on your goal progress? What questions do you ask yourself? Drop a comment below to share!