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January 3, 2013

Download your own goal-tracker (stickers not included)

Yesterday when we were talking about goals, reader Helga asked:

"Can you talk some more at some point about the mechanics of how you track your goals? I too am a tracking and goalsetting nerd and I love hearing about what other people do. Also, I confess to being thoroughly intimidated by the volume of goals just for January, and would really like to hear how it works. Is it one star per thing per day, etc.?"

Hi! I am so glad you asked and I cannot believe I forgot to include these links yesterday (apparently I am out of practice a bit.) If a tracking system isn't simple I won't keep up with it. Anything too restrictive, overly detailed or color-coded guarantees I won't do it so I created myself a blank grid that has enough room for six write-in goals and little boxes to put in a star each day (or leave blank, if I miss a day). It's simple, visual and cheap. Instead of worrying over a special printable page for each month I just created one with 31 days and I can write the month at the top above the numbers column.

Feel free to download them and use them yourself:

Monthly goal tracker PDF (letter size)

Monthly goal tracker PDF (legal size)

The template has six slots at the top for my daily goals. Six goals per day felt like the maximum I could safely pledge without giving up in a fit of frustration. On January 1st, though, I added a 7th in the margin and the world did not stop spinning on its axis, so all is well. Some goals are simple ("Take vitamins daily") and some have time limits attached ("Exercise for at least 20 minutes daily.") If I accomplish my goal that day I get a shiny star sticker in its spot.

If I don't accomplish my goal for a day, I leave the spot blank but don't give up, just try again tomorrow. The idea is to have more stars than blank spaces at the end of each month. You could also use this template to track a single goal over a month at different levels of progression. For example, if your goal is to walk more you could chart your walks and make notes of time, distance, hills vs. flat, etc. Author Gretchen Rubin has a similar goal-tracking sheet on her website, The Happiness Project, and her goals are already written in if that helps you.

After eleventy-nine years of making goals for all kinds of stuff, I have learned that my systems have to be simple if I'm going to stick with them. This is about as simple as they get. I highly recommend investing a buck fifty into a pack of foil star stickers -- it's only January 3 and already I am addicted to the high of putting stickers all over my chart. This is a ridiculously silly thing that I have only just discovered about myself, but apparently I am still six years old and I love the thrill of checking off another task with a shiny star-shaped sticker.

Bob has accomplished all his goals for the day.

Posted by laurie at January 3, 2013 8:27 AM