How to Set, Track and Accomplish Your Goals in 6 Months
How long has it been since you checked in on the progress of your New Year’s resolution? If this question alone makes you cringe, it may be time to re-evaluate and adjust your goals for the rest of the year.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry — you still have 5 months to hit that target!
As author Karen Lamb once said, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” In other words, late is always better than never. Time to pull yourself up by the bootstraps (or running shoelaces!) and use the next 5 months to tackle your 2018 goals.
Review, Evaluate and Adjust Your Goals
By now, you may have noticed some holes in your goals, or places where they lack specificity. Evaluate and adjust your goals to set yourself up for success.
Make sure your goal is SMART
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Based. For example, instead of saying, “My goal is to find a new job,” change it to “I plan to change careers and become a freelance writer by December 31st.”
Develop your skills
Schedule time in your routine to developing the skills you’ll need to accomplish your goal. If it’s a fitness goal, start practicing some new activities every week. If you want to improve your networking abilities, try a weekly meet up group. You’ll slowly gain the confidence you need to tackle the right opportunity when it comes.
Create a system of accountability
Now that you have a better idea of what you need to do to achieve your goal, plan how you’ll hold yourself accountable for taking the steps necessary to do so. Find an “accountabilibuddy” or a trustworthy friend or colleague who agrees to check in on your progress. Studies show that if you’ve made personal commitments to another in addition to yourself, you’re 95% more likely to achieve your goal.
Develop daily habits that require you to make progress
A good way to go about this is to create and stick to a morning ritual. Morning rituals are a collection of small habits that set the mode for your entire day. It also helps you sleep better at night without having to worry what your process for the next day will be.
Write down the purpose for your goal
You may want a $50k raise, but why? Focus on the end goal of your efforts, like those family vacations you’ll be able to have, or the feeling of being appreciated at work.
Adjust your timeline
You may be feeling like 6 months is no time at all to dream big. Or maybe you think it feels too long to wait for that shiny new life chapter you’ve been eyeballing. But according to the 6 month rule which states that what you learn now will be applied in 6 months, it’s the ideal timeframe to accomplish any goal. Reset your timeline to 6 months, adding periodic milestones or progress markers that will let you know you’re on the right track.
So you may have procrastinated a bit on those 2018 markers. Luckily, there are ways to overcome that feeling and move forward enthusiastically. Begin by taking a minute to envision yourself one year from now if you accomplish your goal. Try to get as detailed as possible: How will you feel? Where will you spend your time? What rewards will you reap, and how will they appear in your life? Then decide what action step you can take right now to get moving.
If your goal is to learn a foreign language and you’ve got 10 minutes to kill now, start searching for courses. If you’re looking to add 2 hours to your work routine, schedule an evening walk with the family after dinner every night.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress not only helps you adjust your plan as needed, but it allows you to find motivation by seeing how far you’ve come.
Try these methods to track your progress:
Write out each step required to reach your next milestone
- Break your goal down into manageable pieces.
- Check in daily on your progress and mark off the steps you’ve accomplished.
Create a visual
- Create a calendar specifically for your goals, or try the paper clip method: put a paper clip in a jar for each step you need to take to meet your goal.
- Once you accomplish a step, move a paper clip to another jar, and watch the accomplishments stack up!
Track the amount of time you use to pursue your goal
- There are plenty of 6 month goal tracking tools to help you with the process.
- Each of these creates a visual that helps you mark your progress, and map out any gaps you need to fill along the way.
The number one most important thing is NOT to feel discouraged about any goals you have not yet met. Grab a pen and paper and start planning, you will thank yourself a year from now. And don’t forget to journal along the way to keep motivated and track your progress!