Goal Progress Review
Some goals by their very nature take a while to achieve, so it’s important to review your goal progress from time to time to make sure that you really are progressing and not just going around in circles.
Using mini-goals helps a lot as you will be able to measure your goal progress by the achievement of these mini-goals, but it isn’t always possible to set mini-goals for all goals.
What do you review? Your gut instincts will give you a clue here, but here are some tips.
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Measure your goal progress: Goals need to be able to be measured so you can monitor progress. How you measure your goal (eg ranking system, actual measure such as weight, etc) should be established at the start of the goal setting process, along with your starting measurement. By determining your current measurement and comparing it with your starting point, you will be able to see whether or not you have progressed towards your goal.
Does your current measurement indicate that you are on track or ahead/ behind schedule? If you aren’t on track (and particularly if you are behind schedule), you need to identify ‘why’, as this could undermine your whole goal setting and achievement process.
Is the goal still relevant: Goals are established based on your situation at the time of setting them. Has your situation relevant to this changed significantly? If there has been a significant change, is it still necessary or are you still able to achieve this goal? Is this goal still what you really want to do? Remember, goals MUST be relevant otherwise you won’t have the motivation to achieve them. Remind yourself why this goal is really important to you, and ask whether this is still the case.
Are you using your Action Plan: Your action plan is your road map to achieving your goal, which is your end destination. If you’re not using your map, how do you expect to get there? Think about how you have set up your action plan and whether there is another method that will suit you better.
Are you achieving the deadlines on your action items – if not, why not? Deadlines are there for a reason – to keep up momentum! Perhaps your deadlines were unrealistic (don’t worry, this is common!) or your time has been directed to other more urgent activities – either way, think about why so you can adjust your action plan.
Do you need to alter your action plan/ timeframe? If you said “No” to either of the above, you need to make an adjustment to your plan. Remember that action plans need to be flexible enough to allow changes where necessary and to keep the plan’s relevant, but don’t change the goal posts too often – try to plan more realistically in the first place.
Resourcing: Is your level of resourcing (money, time, information, support) adequate? Is this holding you back from achieving your goal or do you find that you are really struggling? Don’t spread resources too thinly – extend the deadlines if you have too. Identify any additional resource needs and where/ how you might find them.
Review your foundations: Review your preparation and planning for this goal. Is there anything from this review that rings alarm bells as you review this goal? Are you still on track to achieving your 'big picture'? Are any of your weaknesses holding you back? Are there any strengths you can draw on to help? Consider these as you review your goal progress too.
Other questions to ask yourself about your goal progress include:
- Is this goal easier or harder than expected?
- Can you take on more, or do you need to take smaller steps?
- Overall, are you happy with your progress? If you are, then great! If not, work out why and fix the problem.
- What are you doing well towards this goal? …and keep doing it!
- What do you need to do better to achieve this goal? …and do better!
- Are you enjoying this goal, or at least excited about the end result? Reward yourself for achieving mini-goals and milestones to keep you on your journey. Remember, the end result needs to be something you really want.
- Have you been honest and ethical in your progress towards this goal? Your highly moral sub-conscious won’t let you achieve goals if they have unethical components or if you haven’t been honest with yourself. Is this holding you back?
- Are you afraid of failure...
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A goal progress review checklist is available in the ToolBOX.
Time-based Goal Progress
Goal progress for specific goals that have typical timeframes for completion, such as learning a new skill (1000 hours) and developing a new habit (3-6 weeks), can be monitored by measuring the actual time spent on the skill or developing the habit is therefore a monitor of progress against time-based goals.
For example, monitoring time spent on learning a new skill can simply be done by preparing a grid of 1000 squares and crossing off the squares each time you spend an hour learning the skill. By the time you’ve crossed off the 1000th square [or hour] you should have a pretty good grasp of the skill.
You can also add selected interim milestones to the grid based on what you should have achieved after a certain number of hours, and add scheduled ‘rewards’ along the way to keep you inspired. Personalise the monitor with stickers, motivational phrases, or anything else you think will help you stick to the goal.
A 49 day grid for habits, 1000 hour grid for skills and 100 hour grid (use 10 of these grids for skills) can be downloaded from the ToolBOX. You can also prepare your own monitors for goal progress checks for ‘quantifiable’ goals such as saving money, reducing debt and weight loss.
Success/ Failure Analysis
As you progress through the goal setting journey, you will have success and you will have some failures too. The important thing is not to give up when you have a failure, but analysis the failure so you can build on that knowledge and improve future goal setting processes.
It’s equally important to analyse your successes, as this analysis may be able to give you a clue as to what really works for you.
So for every goal completed, it is important to review the goal and the process – you’ll go from strength to strength if you do and will be a goal-setting guru in no time!
So what do you analyse? Well, the information on this site gives you all the ammunition for this analysis, including:
Goal success or failure can occur at any of these levels, which is why it is so important to put the right amount of effort into each stage of the process.
Remember though that the key to success/ failure analysis is to identify what you did well, what you didn’t do so well and most importantly how you can improve/ what you can do differently next time. And give the failed goal another go if appropriate (you can always try to quit smoking again).
Teach yourself how to follow the pattern of success and stop yourself falling into the pattern of failure.
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A template for a Success | Failure analysis is available in the ToolBOX.
If there are any trends showing in your analyses, write use these for future goal progress reviews.