Regardless of whether your goal is to pay off your $10,000 credit card outstanding, to lose 20 pounds, or to build an additional income stream from the internet, you must evaluate your goals in order to reach them.
Goal setting works, but the problem with most people is that they treat goal setting like a one-time thing. They set their goals for once, and then forget them.
They don’t review, they don’t evaluate, and they don’t constantly track their progress.
This is why most people fail to reach their goals.
If you are serious about achieving your goals, you must track them. Every single day.
Whatever that is out of your sight and your mind, will be out of your life.
You see, when you review your goals, when you track and measure, and when you evaluate them, you are consciously connecting them to your life. You are actively making progress to reach them.
As a result, you become more aware of them. You know where you are, how to get there, and what you need to get done today to move forward.
And when your friends ask you out for a drink, you can reject them because you know that you are just one step behind your goals.
You want to make yourself conscious about your goals and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
When you are crystal clear the direction you are heading, nothing can stop you.
However, to be absolutely aware of your goals, you must evaluate them.
You must make them measurable, focus on the lead measure, and constantly track your progress.
Here are the 4 important metrics you must follow when it comes to evaluating your goals.
1. Make your goals measurable
I know that you have heard this for a gazillion times. However, I must still stress the importance of making your goals measurable.
You must include some form of metrics to your goals so that you can measure them.
- If your goal is to write a book, measure how many words you are writing each day.
- If your goal is to lose weight, measure the minutes of exercise or calories you take in each day.
- If your goal is to save $100,000, then measure how much you save day.
- If your goal is to get rid of your credit card debt, measure how much you spend and how much you pay down every day.
In the business world, those who measure and track their sales are the ones that make the most.
In the sports world, those who measure and track their performance are the ones that make it to the top.
Thus, if you want to achieve your goals, measure them.
You must find a way to measure your goal.
What if your goal is to build a stronger relationship with your lover? Simple, find something that you can measure.
It is true that we cannot measure our emotion, but we can definitely measure something that we do that will affect our emotion.
For example, if you want to improve your relationship with your wife, just measure how many date nights you have with her. Measure how many dinners you are going to cook for her.
Peter Drucker said it wisely:
So make your goals measurable.
2. Include a deadline for your goals
This is another common metric that most people know, but they get it wrong.
Most people know that they should include a deadline to their goals, but what do they do? They overestimate their ability and what they can do in a year, thus, they set a deadline that is way too short.
It happened to me many times before. Many years ago, when I first learned the principle of setting goals, I set big goals, with a very short time frame.
Like most people, I set my goal to make a million dollars even though I’m not making much that time. What is more unrealistic is that I set to achieve the goal within a year.
Guess what, I failed to reach the goal.
First, I set a goal that is too big for me at that time. Second, the time frame was way too short. Third, when I don’t believe that I can achieve the goal, I self-sabotage.
I didn’t take much action. I procrastinated. I didn’t feel motivated at my goal at all.
Are making the same mistake?
One thing I want to say is that whether your goal is realistic or unrealistic is all depends on your own capabilities and the strategies that you use.
If you use the right strategies, you can hit the right goal. Unfortunately, for me, at that time, am using the wrong strategy.
Let’s talk back about setting the deadlines for your goals.
Your deadlines must drive you. You should not set a deadline that is way too long that you don’t feel the urgency to take action, nor a deadline that is so short that is out of your capability to achieve.
You must make the deadline ‘just nice’. It works like the Goldilocks Rule.
You set a goal that is not overly difficult nor too easy to achieve.
Therefore, make sure the deadlines for your goals are not too far away that you lack the urgency to achieve them.
And at the same time, make sure your deadlines are not unrealistic that they are so short that you don’t believe in achieving them.
3. Identify the lead measure
I learned about lead measure from the best-selling book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution.
By the way, if you are serious about reaching your goals, I strongly suggest you get the book, read it, and apply the principles from the book. In my opinion, it is one of the best goal setting books written so far.
According to the book, no matter what goals or success we want to achieve, there are only 2 kinds of measures we can focus on: the lead and the lag measures.
“Lag measures track the success of your wildly important goal. Lags are measures you spend time losing sleep over.
They are things like revenue, profit, quality, and customer satisfaction. They are called lags because, by the time you see them, the performance that drove them is already passed. You can’t do anything to fix them, they are history.
Lead Measures, on the other hand, are both predictive, meaning they lead to the accomplishment of the Lag Measure or goal, and they are influenceable, meaning you can do something about them.”
When we set our goal to lose weight or to earn a million dollars, these are lag measure goals.
Lag measure: to lose 10 pounds
Lead measure: number of workout sessions and calories intake
Lag measure: to publish a book
Lead measure: number of words written per day
As you can see, the lag measure is the ultimate goal that we are after, but it is something that we cannot act on.
So instead of focusing on the lag measure, we must work on the lead measure. A lead measure is where we can act on, something we can do and influence, which eventually will move the lag measure.
When you commit to writing 1,000 words a day, after 60 days, you will have a 60,000 words book.
Writing 1,000 words a day is the lead measure that you should focus on.
Most people lost their focus because they are trying to work on the lag measure, which is not influenceable.
When you shift your focus and work on the lead measure, the actionable commitments that will move your lag measure, you will definitely reach your goal.
Hence, identify 2 or 3 of your lead measures.
Find out what are the things that you can work on that will ultimately get you to your goal. And then work on them.
4. Track and measure your goals
How often do you measure your goals? If you are serious about achieving your goals, you should track them, measure them, and review them on a daily basis.
According to Darren Hardy, the founder of SUCCESS Magazine and the author of the best-selling book, The Compound Effect, says that tracking works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve.
In his book, Hardy writes:
“Every professional athlete and his or her coach track each performance down to the smallest minutiae. Pitchers know their stats on every pitch in their repertoire. Golfers have even more metrics on their swings. Professional athletes know how to adjust their performances based on what they’ve tracked.”
So track your goals. Measure them.
You don’t have to make things complicated. Just start with one area, or a goal, or a habit, or a behavior that you want to track.
For example, if you want to lose weight, you can start by tracking how many steps you walk a day. And then start by committing to a small target, such as 3,000 or 5,000 steps.
After a week or two, increase your target and make it slightly higher, say 7,000 steps or 8,000 steps.
This small incremental over time will give you a huge impact over the long-term.
It is your consistency that will make you successful. Bill Gates famously said:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
Start small and build up from there. But first, track and measure your goals.
Always keep your mind on these 4 important metrics when it comes to setting and achieving your goals.
Remember, achieving what you want in life is not an art, but science. If you do the right thing, you will get the right results.