It’s not a secret that I’m a goals person. I love setting goals, tracking goals, and achieving goals.
Over several years of working on a range of goals, from daily habits to huge creative projects, I’ve learned that the goals that are in front of me, and that I regularly see and interact with, are the goals that are most likely to be accomplished.
Here are some of the top ways that I keep my goals front of mind:
- I write my goals down on paper. For years now, I have been writing annual goals and daily to-do lists so that I can track my progress on projects, wellness, and my own creative output. For me, writing down these goals has been critical to keeping them right in front of me. Plus, it’s always super satisfying to cross them off when completed.
- I work on my goals daily. This month, I’ve been completing a writing challenge where I work on my latest book for at least one hour a day. Aside from this challenge, I have daily goals to walk 10k steps, drink 64 oz. of water, and eat a salad or green smoothie each day. By challenging myself to do certain tasks every day, no excuses, I’ve found that I can see what goals are true priorities for me and which ones I really don’t care about all that much.
- I build my goals into habits. See above. When I work on my goals so regularly that they become second nature that sweet spot always generates good outcomes.
- I reflect on my goals weekly. Every week, I look over my goals to see what’s getting done and what’s falling to the wayside. If I need to prioritize something, this allows me to bump it up my list. I can also see where I’m falling behind on a regular basis, which leads to…
- I re-prioritize my goals monthly. If I need to let something go, I let it go — and I don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes I think it’s the right time for a goal and it’s just not. And that’s okay. It’s like that thing about loving someone and letting them go. If you are truly meant to do something and it’s not the right time, it will come around again at some point in the same or a different form.
- I track my goals in a public way. I share publicly about my goals (see here, here, here, here, and here) and also write them out for myself on a white board so that I can interact with them regularly and so that other people can see them (listen to more about my love of white boards on this podcast episode). This extra accountability serves as great motivation when I just don’t feel like completing something that I said I would.
- I talk about my goals. If you haven’t heard that I’m working on a new book, what rock have you been living under? Once a goal is front and center for me, other people around me will hear about it. I consider this walking the talk of academic productivity and creativity and it also leads to some great conversations with colleagues.
- I track some goals privately. I have some goals that aren’t ready for public consumption yet (like a thing I’m working toward trademarking). For those goals, I keep a list on my personal white board in my home office where only I (and my partner) can see it.
- I embrace my goals. I read about my goals. I listen to podcast episodes about other people working toward the same goals. I carve out time in my life to just devote to those goals. I remind myself why I set the goals in the first place. In other words, I give myself permission to let my goals be my passion.
All of these ways of keeping my goals front of mind help me take my goals seriously. They keep me excited and invested in my goals even as they remind me of the challenges in front of me that are — admittedly — kind of scary.
When your goals are front of mind, there really isn’t anywhere to hide.
To think on:
- What are you most important goals right now?
- How do you keep your goals front of mind?