The Secret to Hitting Goals

I am a goal-oriented person. I don’t hit all of my goals, but I hit a lot of them and I am going to tell you how. It is very simple really: I start by writing them down.

I typically sit down during the last few weeks of the year and come up with goals for the next year. Some of those goals are fairly major in scope but they are all specific and measurable and they all have deadlines. A goal without a deadline is not a very good goal.

When I say I write them down, I really mean that I type them into a Google doc that is usually open on my MacBook. You don’t have to actually write with a pen and paper. If I wrote with a pen and paper, I would not be able to read what I wrote. However, you need to document your goals.

I read a recent study that stated that goals that are written down are 80% more likely to be achieved. Think about that for a second.

Writing down your goals is your first step. The second step is to track them. There is a saying in business that is very true: if you want a number to move in the right direction, start watching it. It seems magical but it really isn’t. What you focus on is what is going to improve. Start tracking the metrics related to your goals and you will see good things happen.

The last step is to break your big goals down into little goals. The way I do this is with a daily checklist. I take a few minutes to write down 5-10 things that support my goals that I need to get done that day, and as I do them, I cross them out like this. Typically, by the end of the day, most if not all of those things are crossed off. Here in fact is my somewhat cryptic checklist for today:

On deck for 9/25

  1. Eye surgeon
  2. 5 songs
  3. Work on HH
  4. NS Planning
  5. AMP

This year, I had two piano albums that I wanted to do. The first one is done and the second is on schedule to be done at the end of October. That does not happen by accident. It happens because I am always calculating what has to happen and when it has to happen if I am going to achieve those goals on time. Those little milestones get translated all the way down to daily tasks that I obsessively watch every day.

I am not at all saying that my exact system is for everyone. However, the three principles are key. Document your goals, track your progress, and break your big goals into smaller chunks that you can easily accomplish. You will not believe what will happen.

2 thoughts on “The Secret to Hitting Goals

  1. LB says:

    I like what you say about tracking. It can be applied to so many different areas of life–like tracking time spent at piano practice, or tracking homework reading time. And in my first after-college job, my earnings dripped away until after 6 months I began tracking them. Now, a large part of my husband’s and my personal budgeting is simply tracking.

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