While you are setting goals, it is also essential to keep a chart of your progress so that you know you’re on the right path. Charting your progress allows you to stay focused, and it also quickly helps you to identify areas on your path that need improvement.
If you don’t keep track of your progress, you could just be wasting your time. If you don’t chart, how do you know where you are and if you are indeed improving? Also, how will you know if the action you’re taking is correlated to the result you achieve?
Charting your progress allows you to evaluate your actions over time and making sure you are doing what needs to be done to get there. Without assessing your efforts and making changes likely, it’s hard to achieve anything. And you won’t be able to easily repeat your success if you do have it.
Reasons Why Charting Works
- It’s your accountability system – Charting your progress can be used to keep you accountable for your actions. Providing visuals incites motivation. If you see daily that you are accomplishing something, more than likely, you will continue that streak and not break it.
- It keeps you motivated – As you see your results each day, and a task gets marked off your to-do list, you will want to continue to do more because you’ll start to realize you are going to succeed.
- It keeps you consistent – Creating a chart provides consistency because each chart lists the same sort of criteria to follow each day. Doing the work towards your goal daily is the key to success.
- It gives you a sense of fulfillment each day – Filling out your progress each day will provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose. As your day ends and you fill out your chart, you will see all the hard work you have done to get closer and closer each day to your ultimate goal.
- It allows you to see and fix bad habits quickly – As each day is finished and filled with information, you will learn over time what habits are preventing you from reaching your dreams. Charting down your accomplishments, thoughts, and feelings each day will highlight areas that need to be improved faster than if you weren’t keeping track from the start.
What to Chart
- Goals – Keep a running chart of your goals, big and small. Make sure it is clearly visible and can be edited daily as goals can change as time goes on. Make one list for your ultimate goals and one for goals you can achieve daily. Trello.com or even Basecamp.com are great tools to use for charting goals.
- Daily habits to achieve your goals – Chart any habits that you need to practice to achieve your goal. Even include bad habits you would like to kick that are preventing you from reaching your goal. Putting these in a calendar that is also shared with your smartphone is helpful.
- Feelings about your progress – Include a section that allows you to express your feelings about your progress, whether it be negative or positive. Any opinions you have, express them. Get them out on paper or video so you can physically hear and/or see it. It is important to note that while goals should be challenging, they should also be fun and exciting to go through rather than unbearable. If it’s intolerable, you need to change something.
- Reactions to progress – As you complete each day of action, record your response to it. Did you feel excited that you completed the goals you had for today? Do you feel sad or overwhelmed? Again, this is important so you can re-evaluate the goal. See if after days or weeks of working towards that goal, it’s worth it after all.
Ways to Chart Progress
- Planner – A great way to keep track is by simply adding it to your planner as if it’s a date. Not only will it be a great resource to look back on, but it will also ensure you accomplish it because you already blocked out the time to do it.
- Journal – If you love to write, then just use a daily journal or diary. At the end of your day, write down what you achieved and how it made you feel.
- Video Diary – Start recording at the end of your day any helpful information -for example, your feelings about your goal and why you would like to achieve it. These video diaries could even be uploaded to YouTube to keep you accountable or also find like-minded individuals who could provide motivation.
- Applications – In today’s vast world of technology, there are several smartphone and computer applications you can download. You can even use Excel to make charts and lists of information to keep track of.