In efforts of improving my goal setting strategies which evolves year after year, I am using the strategy of the Large Monthly Charts with three color coding.
Basically this chart consists of 30 rows, one for each day of the month, and one column per goal.
My yearly goals are divided into monthly milestones, and these are divided loosely into 10-30 simple milestones that spread across the 30 boxes of the month. Having a milestone in a box does not mean a dead line or a due date. It basically means an estimate of when will that task be accomplished. That gives me the flexibility of two things:
- Picking the goal (column) I want to work on depending on the mode and level of energy.
- Accomplishing these small bits of milestones or tasks (boxes) at anytime I want within the month.
Now, I color the task that is accomplished with in the estimated day of the month or before it in Green, and the ones accomplished after the estimated day in yellow. The boxes abandoned will be colored in red or orange.
I can visually track my success in achieving my goals by glancing at the colors on this large chart. The more green, the more I am on task. The more yellow, the more I need to step up my game and figure out what is my distraction. The more orange/red, the more I need to replan my next month to ensure that I catch up with my goals.
Now, you may ask, what are these goals.
Well, you will be surprised that out of the 30 goals, there are technical ones such as:
- Losing Weight (1 pound per 3 days)
- Learning French (1 duolingo lesson per day)
- Acquiring Clients to W Design and Development (10 clients a month so about 1 every three days or 2-3 a week)
- Writing a Book (dividing it into chapters, and the chapter mind map into days)
And there are other goals that have to do with my passions and hobbies, such as:
- Playing Piano (picking pieces to play, and dividing practice to 3 measures per day)
- Meditation (10 minutes per day that can be made up by extending the time for other days)
- Sports (changes seasonally because I get bored fast)
and what I am trying this year that I haven’t tried before is including non-tangible values and relationship into yearly goals, so for example:
- Family (picking one person a day to spend a quality time, conversation, or at least a phone call with)
- Friends (connecting with one friend a day either by spending quality reflective time together, or at least by a meaningful phone conversation or email or a facebook post)
- Gratitude (thinking of one thing I am thankful for)
Although this program starts on January 1, 2016, I have decided to start doing January program early on. Here are my reflections so far:
- The flexibility is stress free in the program.
- Coloring something in green is giving me a positive reinforcement. So I am thinking to attach a positive reward to it, like number of chocolates I can eat a month equal to the green boxes.
- It is keeping me occupied all the time, because whenever I have free time, I look at the chart and pick something that I am in the mood for doing.
If you try it yourself, please give me your feedback. If you have different strategies that works magic with you, please share.