After developing SMART goals, the next step is to take action. Taking action is what makes a goal a reality. Acting on goals requires planning, executing, and monitoring the progress toward those goals.
Fortunately, there are many tools to choose from that can help you in planning and tracking your goals. Some are:
We will not go into details of the pros and cons of the different tools available. However, let's discuss some basic features you should look for in the tool you choose.
|Planning||The tool you choose should let you write down the steps or subgoals that you need to achieve in order to accomplish your main goal. Any goal that takes a couple weeks or more to accomplish should be broken down into subgoals. These are milestones on your journey toward your goal. The tool of your choice should allow you to schedule these milestones and the date or time by when you want to achieve them.|
|Tracking||If you cannot track your progress toward your goal, you won't know when you might be going off track in your journey. Successfully completing different milestones is also a great motivator. Your tool should provide a means to check off milestones as you complete them and to know if you are on schedule. Without this feature, you might start lagging behind and not even know it.|
|Ease of Use||Whether you use a paper-based tool, an online application, or a smartphone app, it should be easy to use and access. For some, a simple diary with a yearly calendar can be more effective than a software application that's loaded with features but has a complicated user interface. Others might prefer to manage all their goals by smartphone apps. The idea is to find what suits you. You might want to experiment with some tools until you find what works best for you.|