My never before revealed goal tracker
For many years I struggled with following goals & objectives. There were so many things I wanted to learn, and I always seemed to oscillate between two extremes: creating an overly rigid tracking system and simply flowing without having any documentation of any kind.
While the flow option feels wonderful, I noticed that I was completely forgetting some of them (RIP learning to do ventriloquism 🙄). For clarification, I am referring to goals here as larger, more general orientations, and objectives as actionable outcomes (think SMART goals).
Through much trial and error, a few insights helped me refine a system for goal tracking.
- Some objectives and goals were infinite and would never be ‘reached’ per se (e.g. eating vegetables everyday, making sure to exercise). Others, on the other hand, I could definitely accomplish.
- The focus on the goals instead of the outcomes can be problematic. Some say it is better to focus on how you want to be feeling instead of what actions you will be taking. Thus, I needed the goals to not take center stage.
- Focusing on too many things at once was completely overwhelming.
- It was important to celebrate the wins.
- Every person seems to have their own unique tracker. I have a friend for instance that moves little animals along his fridge to represent the goals he wishes to accomplish during the week, whenever he felt like accomplishing them🐕 🐦. Another friend hates all goals and simply allows life to unfold without a plan, and other people do vision boards at the beginning of the year. Based on the wide range of possibilities, I needed to create a tracker that would work in my own context.
Here is what has emerged from my continual experimentation:
In the infinite goals section, I put my aspirations for how I want to be showing up in this world. I divided these into categories to make it easier to understand (ex. career, health & well-being, etc.). Here are some of my infinite goals:
- Keep a daily workout routine that integrates strength building & flexibility.
- Say no as a practice in order to prioritize the most aligned projects and opportunities, even when others are disappointed.
- Support and be supported by my family.
In the ‘finite objectives in storage section’ I added objectives that I would one day look at, like a bookshelf for books I might eventually read if I so decide. Some of the items there:
- Try hiring a digital assistant to streamline workflow.
- Participate in a carnival celebration.
- Learn to lucid dream.
Then, when I want to work on one of these objectives, I simply move it over to the ‘current finite objectives section’. This way, I’m focused on a limited number of objectives that feel pertinent to wherever I’m at, without forgetting the optional backlog.
Finally, my favourite part of this system is the completed objectives section, where I add the objectives that I’ve completed. As the list gets longer and longer, it creates a feeling of real success 🙌.
Using this simple system, I’ve been able to maintain a regular workout routine for 2 years, run my own business in a financially successful way for 5 years, prototype working abroad, face a fear of speaking to people in public, and learn to take cold showers, among other noble pursuits 👼.
The best part is, this goal tracker is carefully framed as a documentation tool, and not a driving force in my life. This means that I can still have all the flow I want, while still remembering that, maybe one day, I will want to learn to do ventriloquism 😛.
I hope this tool might inspire your own system, adapted to your own specific context. How do you track your goals ? Do you even care about tracking them ? What would an ideal system look like for you ?