Every Monday on Zen Habits is Weekly Review, starting today.
How often do you review your goals? Every year? If so, you may be ahead of most people. Even so, I recommend a more frequent review period that will seem like overkill for some people, but to me it's the key to maintaining focus on your goals and actually making them a reality.
The key habit to actualizing your goals: Review your goals at least once a week.
Let's be honest: if you don't think about your goals, you won't make them happen. If you aren't doing anything about your goals, they are just wishes. (If you haven't set your goals yet, I highly recommend you do so.)
In order to actualize your goals, you need to take the following steps:
- Set your goals (see Think About Your Life Goals).
- Set action tasks for each goal.
- Do the action tasks - one a day is ideal (see Purpose Your Day).
- Motivate yourself to stay focused (see Top 20 Motivation Hacks).
- Review your goals often (weekly is ideal).
Here's the process I recommend:
- Once a year (New Year is convenient, but really any time is good) you should review what you've done this year, and set your goals for the next 12 months. Yearly goals should be mini-goals of your life goals.
- At the beginning (or end) of each month, review your progress for the past month, and set your goals for the coming month. Set easily achievable goals -- it's better to set your sights low (at least at first) and achieve them than to set them too high and fail. Monthly goals should be mini-goals of your overall yearly goals.
- At a set time each week (Mondays work for me), review your progress for the last week, and set goals for the week. These goals should be mini-goals for your monthly goals. For each of these goals, list a few action steps. Then schedule the action steps throughout the week (one step per day is ideal).
- Each day, when planning your day, make your goal action step for that day be one of your Most Important Things for that day. Do it first thing in the morning. Once you complete it, you have done something awesome for that day -- you've taken a small step towards making your dreams come true!
If you fall off your weekly review, just re-focus yourself and start again the next week. Don't let small slip-ups stop you from achieving your goals!
- Top 20 Motivation Hacks
- Jumpstart your day the night before
- Reward Yourself Without Spending a Lot
- Purpose Your Day: Most Important Task (MIT)
- Tracking My Goals (Ben Franklin hacked)
- Think About Your Life Goals
- How to do Your Weekly Review in Under an Hour
- How NOT to Multi-task - Work Simpler and Saner
- Weekly review: Key to GTD and Achieving Goals
- 5 Ways GTD Helps You Achieve Your Goals