The Genius Behind Tracking Your Goals

I’ve been working with the concept of goals for over 50 years. I can recall being 12 year’s old and wanting to inherit Freddy Tiller’s paper route and succeeding (much to my chagrin, because I took it over in the fall/winter in upstate New York, walked about 3 miles through the snow everyday and had to collect from people in order to be paid…some people didn’t pay). As a youngster, many of my thoughts came to fruition. I don’t remember if I framed them as goals, but they certainly matched the description I now hold. Here are principles I’ve learned through my years of experience:

  • Write down specific behavioral goals and they are more likely to get your attention.
  • Written goals often lose there effectiveness, because we forget them.
  • Behavioral based goals are like any kind of development, they take persistent and consistent practice.
  • Tracking the effort you expend toward your behavioral based goals generates lots of valuable data.
  • Tracking your efforts keeps your goals in the forefront of your mind and behavior.
  • Tracking your efforts is a great way to actualize success, “Doing what you love and being happy about it (The Achievement Habit, Bernie Roth).

Marshall Goldsmith in his book Triggers, coordinates active, daily questions and tracks them via a spreadsheet. I’ve adopted these ideas and started using them with my clients as well as myself. His daughter actually brought-up the benefits of active questions like, “Did I do my best to exercise?” Which I’ve found by tracking my thoughts on a scale from 0-10 I am able to learn all sorts of things about myself in these moments of reflection. I am quite diligent about tracking my thoughts regarding my daily questions. I keep a daily reminder in my calendar. There is no downside to this exercise other than failing to take the 2-5 minutes of reflection and recording on a daily basis (I probably average about 5 days a week of reflection and recording). A young client of mine recently put his spreadsheet on his phone, making it more convenient than the laptop.

After a few weeks you can see patterns develop regarding your commitment and the importance of your goals represented by the numbers you’ve assigned regarding your dialing efforts. Great stuff! Why stick with something where you are averaging a 4, trash that goal, experiment with a new goal and see if the new goal has more meaning represented by your effort. Remember let’s actualize success by doing what you love and being happy about it!

The following spreadsheet is an example to use for your Daily Questions.

  • Copy your daily questions in place of the existing examples.
  • Take a few minutes to reflect while giving yourself a score from 0-10 regarding your effort on each of your questions.
  • The bottom figure represents the sum of your dialing scores and the end figure on each row of questions represents your average daily score.
  • Demonstrate self love by reflecting, scoring and reflecting on your questions.

I’ve worked with hundreds of coaching clients and profiled thousands of people over the past 25 years. Almost all of these people (including myself) find it much easier to give love and empathy to others, rather than to themselves. Remember, you are Number One. If you don’t love yourself, how in the heck do you expect to love others?