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a girl lives in brooklyn
I created a Goal Tracking Template Spreadsheet in Google Docs that allows you to track each goal weekly. Everything on the sheet is automatic, you just need to add checkmarks (=char(10004)) when you’ve completed a task that day.
In the screenshot above, these are the tasks I’ve been working on so far this month. Some of these I want to start. Some, like running, I just want to make sure I’m consistent. I like that this is a gentle reminder to live my life how I want to. But is reasonable enough that I can actually manage accomplishing tasks each week.
Goals are a tricky thing. I’ve wrote in the past about doing away with them altogether. I’ve also learned a lot is semantics. I previously wrote about calling them ‘challenges’ instead of goals. Other places call them “plans” or a “tending to” list.
No matter what you call them, one of the biggest problem with the goals we make is we don’t know why we’re making them. We’re not basing them off anything. Or, even worse, we base goals after things we think we should do. Or things other people want us to do.
Often times, we create goals that are just setting ourselves up to fail. You never go to the gym. But you set a goal to go to the gym every day? Too much. You don’t regularly run. But you signed up for a marathon next month. Too unrealistic. You have poor eating habits and want to “eat better”? Too vague. You want to start achieving these life-changing goals all at the same exact time? Too many.
One of the best ways I’ve found to manage accomplishing goals and create habits is by making actionable tasks. And tracking them.
Let’s start with a common one. You value your health. I’m sure for years you’ve told yourself you’re going to “start working out more” and “eat better”. But what does that mean? What steps do you have to take to do that. What will make you feel like you are eating better? Let’s break that down by actions.
Things that mean eating better:
Look at that list. We have a lot of vague terms like “less” and “more”. How much more? How much less?
Instead, we’ll make specific actions on a weekly basis revolving around our goals and values.
Sample Weekly Actions to Start:
These actions tie directly into our goals which ties directly into your values. By eating 1 fruit or vegetable a day, 3 times a week, we are living by our value of caring about our health. Should you eat fruit/vegetables every day? Yes! But that’s not where we’re at right now. We’re starting small. You could even start with one day a week if you’d like. I also recommend having no more than 4 tasks per week. Too much too soon often ends in failure.
A goal like “Eating Better” is a value. It is a destination. How will you get there? Getting to eat better regularly is a long journey. And there will be obstacles. Actually, each goal you create is an obstacle to complete. This will get you one step closer to living fully by your Values.
Values never go away. Even once you reach them. You stay there. You maintain. Hopefully, for each obstacle you overcame, you gained a new habit. If you take a stroll and drift away, you will just have to suffer through the obstacles once again. A value becomes a habit you have to maintain. The idea is that it’s important enough to you to continue to stay there.
Let’s first take a hard look at what we value in life. Here’s a short list of examples:
These are a sample of core life values that could be important to you. Some may be, not all. How you live your life should revolve around your list of values. That makes it easy to create goals from them.
Look at your current list of goals and make sure that they match up to a value. If one of your goals is “wash the dishes every day”, think about why you want to do that. Is it related to Mental Health because a dirty kitchen stresses you out? Is it related to Respecting Others because you live with roommates?
Finding the reason why you want to do each goal, will help provide motivation to get them done. Tracking actionable tasks will help form habits. Living a life by values will keep you on the right path.