Issue #16: Tools to monitor and track your progress towards stretch goals

Aug 18, 2022

Setting and achieving goals is a key part of success, no matter what field you're in. But it's not enough to simply set a goal - you need to monitor your progress to ensure that you're on track to reach it. Especially as it relates to accomplishing big goals or stretch goals, progress tracking is key. Why? 

Progress tracking allows you to measure your progress, which in turn allows you to adjust your strategy as needed and keep yourself accountable. 

There are a number of different ways to track progress. You can use a simple spreadsheet to track daily or weekly progress. You can also use more sophisticated tools like project management software or goal setting apps. 

No matter what method you use, the important thing is to actually track your progress on a regular basis. The most effective tool is the one you will use. Having a user friendly tool that doesn't require a lot of time and management will make it easier to stay on track and make sure you're making the progress you need to reach your goals. 

How to Set and Achieve Big Goals

Before we dive into tools to help track goal progress, it is valuable to have in mind best practices for setting and achieving big goals.

Four steps to effective goal setting

  1. Set realistic goals. It's important to set goals that you can actually achieve. If your goal is too lofty, you may get discouraged and give up before you reach it. Conversely, if your goal is too easy, you won’t push yourself enough to improve. Find a happy medium by setting a goal that stretches you but is still achievable.
  2. Set specific goals. Vague goals are harder to track and monitor than specific ones. By being specific about what you want to achieve, you can better measure your progress along the way.
  3. Set achievable goals. In addition to being realistic and specific, your goal should also be achievable. If it feels out of reach, break it down into smaller steps that you can complete along the way.
  4. Set a deadline for your goal. Having a timeline for your goal will help you stay on track and motivated to reach it. 

When it comes to accomplishing goals, the process is often more important than the destination. Achieving a goal is usually the result of taking small, consistent steps over a period of time. The following are four tips to help you monitor and track your progress as you work towards your goals: 

Four steps to ensure you achieve your goals

  1. Set SMART Goals: The first step in any goal-setting journey is to identify what you want to achieve. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to be specific about your objectives. Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. By setting SMART goals, you’re more likely to achieve them because you have a clear plan of action.
  2. Make a Plan: The next step is to develop a plan for achieving your goals. What are the steps you need to take? Who do you need to contact? What resources do you need to get started? A plan can help you stay focused and motivated as you work towards your goal
  3. Stay on Track: One of the biggest challenges when trying to achieve a goal is staying on track. We will explore options to help you stay on track in the next section. In the meantime, there are a few key things you can do to help make sure you stay on track when working towards a goal. First, it's important to have a clear and specific goal in mind. Vague goals are more difficult to stick to because it's hard to measure progress. Make sure your goal is something you can realistically achieve, and break it down into smaller steps or milestones if necessary. It can also be helpful to establish some sort of accountability system. This could mean enlisting the help of a friend or family member, hiring a coach, or simply keeping a detailed journal of your progress. Checking in regularly with someone who will hold you accountable can make it easier to stay on track.
  4. Finally, a step that can't be overlooked: Plan for setbacks or unexpected delays. Be flexible and able to pivot as needed as long as the overall goal trajectory is intact.  

Tracking progress: Tools to help track progress 

There are a number of tools that can help you track your progress towards stretch goals. Here are 3 low to no-cost options to help you track your progress:

  • Goal Tracking Tools and Applications: A goal tracker can help you stay on track by setting reminders and keeping you accountable. There are a number of apps available such as Trello and ClickUp that allow you to set reminders, visually track progress, and even gamify the process to keep things interesting. 
  • Regular Goal Check Ins: A daily or weekly check-in can also help you track your progress and ensure that you are making the necessary progress. If you are working on a team goal, recapping discussions and upcoming deliverables is a great way to keep everyone accountable and focused on immediate next steps towards goal success.
  • Systematic Goal Tracking: Setting up a system to track your progress to goal, target completion date and milestones (e.g., using a spreadsheet) can help you see how far you have come and what still needs to be done. Utilizing existing systems that you have access to such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is both cost and time effective (no new platform to learn). For a more visual display of your progress, try creating a Gantt chart in Excel. This is a great way to see how the different components of your goal fit together. 

If keeping tabs on goal progress is not your strength, you can always consult local experts in strategic planning and project management to help drive the process of achieving your stretch goals. This is likely the least cost-effective option, but having someone else manage goal tracking frees you up to "do the doing" that is needed to complete the goal steps successfully.  

It's important to monitor and track progress because it allows you to see how far you've come and what still needs to be done. Tools like graphs, charts,  spreadsheets and apps can help you track your progress and see where you need to improve. 

Monitoring your progress can help you stay motivated and on track to reach your goals. It can also help you identify areas where you need to improve. So whether you're trying to lose weight, save money, or get ahead at work, make sure you're monitoring your progress along the way. 

Two ways Separation Playbook can help you:
  1. If you're feeling stuck in a position that doesn't align with your vision, and you know it's time to shift your paradigm:
     Take the Self Scouting Challenge which uses the process I've built to detach from the status quo and re-imagine success that aligns with unique strengths, values, and vision.

  2. If you feel the success you're chasing doesn't fulfill you, and you're ready to start building a that matters to you:
    The Legacy OS is the personal operating system to become more intentional about how you invest in yourself and your vision to achieve success that leaves a mark.



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