I am the owner of a successful and profitable company with 60+ full time employees, am in good shape physically, and have maintained strong relationships with my family and friends. How have I been able to accomplish my goals? Through daily progress tracking on things that are most important to me. Here is a partial screenshot for the last view days:
I have been tracking in a spreadsheet on Google Docs my goals daily since January 11, 2012. Nearly three and a half years later, here is what I have learned from tracking progress
- Tracking activities that are important to you each day leads to you achieving your goals quickly. This happens even if you don’t consciously set a goal. For example, just writing down something each day keeps it at the top of your mind.
- If you set conscious goals, it can be very discouraging and cause you to quit working towards them if you have a bad day. You feel guilty and bad, and those bad feelings can actually make it harder to start again. Simply writing down your progress is a non-judgmental activity that keeps your goals at the top of your mind.
- Don’t track too many things or it becomes a chore to maintain it. Your spreadsheet should take no more than 5 minutes to update.
- Set a daily reminder (either email or calendar) that lets you know each morning to update your sheet with data from the previous day.
- Use conditional formatting to highlight in green things are doing well, yellow areas that are in a warning area and red areas that not done.
- Only track areas that are most important to you. For me, these areas are time spent learning, my workout, if I had any alcoholic drinks, how healthy the food I ate is, if I advanced my business, what my primary task was, if I took a nap, if I wrote a blog post, how happy I was, what my bedtime was, how I treated my fiance, what friends I talked to, and what I am grateful for.
- PRO TIP: I recently added the Score column that uses a formula to check if there was a score yesterday, and if there was it adds the score today to the one yesterday. Thus, each day that I do things well, my total score accumulates. If I have a bad day, it will reset to zero and I will grow it again. This encourages me to build up successful streaks.