Without really taking the time to plan our goals, they simply stay a wish.

There are many methods and resources out there around goal setting. One of the most important steps in my opinion is making sure that our goals are measurable. This allows us to track our progress – and what better place to have one than our monthly planner!

For example, if I wanted to eat more vegetables, I wouldn’t simply say I want to eat more vegetables and it would happen. Chances are I’d stick with it a couple of days, but go back to my less veggie eating self three days later. Without a timeframe, there’s no motivation. It could feel like I need to eat more vegetables forever and the goal might become overwhelming – or maybe I felt like two days was enough because with no real plan it feels like a done deal.

Nope.

If I wanted to set the goal of eating more vegetables I would sit down and make a plan. 

1. Set an objective / unit of measurement

For my veggie goal, I would first look at how many vegetables I eat now. Say I only have a serving with dinner (it’s just an example, Mum) then that would be my baseline. A reasonable goal would be a bit challenging, such as adding two more servings versus just one, but not so much so that I’m going full herbivore over here. So I would set my objective to eat three servings a day. Now I know once I’ve eaten three servings of vegetables that day I can give myself a checkmark for completing my objective.

2. Pick a timeframe

For timeframe, personally, I like to set goals for a month at a time where possible. Anything shorter seems too short and I can always continue the goal for another month to make it longer. If a month seems overwhelming to you when picking a timeframe, as with the unit of measurement, pick a timeframe that poses a bit of a challenge without being too daunting.

3. Next – set a start date.

Since I set goals monthly, I typically plan to start my goal at the beginning of a new month. Ideally, I try and plan a week in advance. However, you can start your goal whenever you want. Don’t wait for New Years or even until the beginning of the month or week. Just make sure you’ve done your planning and you have what you need in order to get started.

4. Track your progress

Start tracking your progress. This could be a simple checkmark on your calendar or you could get creative and design a custom goal tracker with colourful markers. Whatever works best for you. Some like to keep a “habit tracker,” but I find there’s often too much to track on those and tracking everyday things like flossing and washing my face doesn’t interest me or seem necessary. I liked the idea, so I created a goal tracker for my monthly planner that uses a similar concept and only tracks up to three goals at a time.

5. Don’t wait until completion to assess

By tracking your progress you can see how you are doing as you go. Seeing you are doing well is often motivation to keep going while seeing otherwise will allow you to make adjustments along the way. Maybe the three servings of vegetables goal is just too darn hard because you’re learning new recipes. You could adjust to working toward two a day or perhaps pick some recipes that work better for you.

6. Reflect

Take some time to reflect on your goal. What helped you make progress? How can you improve? What did you enjoy? What would you do differently?

Also think about your next steps. Is this a one time goal? Did you accomplish your goal and you want to step things up, or maintain it? Do you want to try again?

7. Repeat

Create another set of goals. You can carry forward goals you’re already working on or try something new. Just remember not to set too many at one time or else you might burn yourself out. I typically set between one and three goals at a time myself, depending on the complexity.

If you’re an avid goal setter, I suggest jotting your ideas down so that they don’t become a distraction from your current goals. That way you’ll remember them for later as well.

Conclusion

Tracking your goals is absolutely crucial when it comes to goal setting. It will help you set objectives, know whether or not you are on track or need to adjust, and let you know if you’ve reached your goal. It can turn your goal from a wish into a solid plan.

I’ve included a goal setting sheet as well as a goal tracker in the monthly planner I designed available on Etsy. It’s perfect for those who want a monthly planner without the frills and allows plenty of room for creativity – or not.

What goals are you going to set and tackle?

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If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also like my post on budgeting inspiration for your monthly planner.