Reviewing your goals is one of the best ways I’ve found to get yourself to stick to them. The progress you make inspires you, and it shows you what you need to focus on next. But just how often should you review your goals? In this article, I’ll explain that for you so you can take advantage of the power of this tool.
Review your goals on four time periods:
- Daily, take 5 minutes to go over how you worked on your goals.
- Weekly, review how well you accomplished your action steps and outcomes.
- Quarterly, examine your past performance and future goals.
- Yearly, go over your long-term goals and change them if necessary.
Let’s get into the details of how to review your goals at each of these!
“For a successful life, or successful business, measure what you want to improve.” — Jerry Bruckner
Every evening I take just five minutes to review my goals and how well I completed my action steps for them that day. This helps me remember my goals, celebrate small wins, and prepare for the next day.
When you see your goals and mark your progress on them daily, you’re more likely to stick to them. With this daily check-in, you get a bigger picture of how you’re doing when you review your goals on larger time periods.
Doing your own daily goal review isn’t difficult. I enjoy doing it because my goals inspire me and they’re fun.
My spreadsheet for tracking my goals lets me record how I did at each goal each day. I set it up so that all I have to do is put a number next to every goal to declare whether or not I completed it that day. When I’m done with that, I take a look at my plan for the next day and mentally commit to my goals for that day.
You can use apps, physical journals, or regular old pen and paper, to do the same thing.
“Once you start tracking your goals, you’re able to see the small, day by day progress that you might not otherwise notice.” — Betsy Ramser Jaime
Every Sunday I do a weekly review of my goals to check in on two things:
- How well I accomplished my action steps.
- Whether or not those action steps, if accomplished, are leading to the outcomes I want.
Every goal you set has two parts, an action step, and an outcome. A weekly review lets you see whether you’re accomplishing both of them, thus showing you whether or not you’re progressing toward your end goal.
Checking in on your progress regularly like this is scientifically proven to make you more likely to reach your goals.
Your weekly review can be as simple as asking yourself about the two components I mentioned above for every one of your goals. If you’ve reviewed your goals daily, then it will be easier.
You can also take this time to ask how you’re doing in general. Maybe you write down some thoughts on how you feel each goal is improving your life so far. And if you don’t like the direction you see it taking you, then you can always change it!
“If we don’t measure the right things, and don’t set the right goals, how will we know if we are doing the right thing?” — Arvind Ashok
Quarterly planning is where things begin to get less detail-oriented and more focused on stepping back to see the big picture. This is a time to review your progress over the previous 13 weeks and decide what to focus on next.
I really enjoy quarterly planning because of how inspiring it is to see progress on a larger scale and to sometimes set new goals. It’s also another way to track your goals, which as I mentioned earlier, is proven to make you more likely to achieve them.
There are many ways to set up your quarterly planning session. For me, it involves taking a week off from tracking my goals daily so I can spend time thinking about them and whether or not I’ll continue them or set a new goal.
I don’t usually write much down, other than reviewing my past progress and future vision for each goal. Most of my quarterly planning is done by thinking, although the end result is that I’ve got my goals set and ready to track daily and weekly in the spreadsheet I use to track my goals.
Another reason quarterly planning is so powerful and enjoyable is that it lets you craft a vision of what you want your life to be like. I think about what I want to have by the end of the next 12 weeks. I also consider how my past performance on my goals will determine what’s reasonable to expect.
Part of my vision may include a healthier weight, better habits, more income, more time and closeness with my family, an improved character, and a healthier mind, for instance.
Quarterly planning doesn’t have to be complex. But if you do it, you will be more likely to reach your goals because of the inspiring vision it helps you create for your life.
“Most ‘impossible’ goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite-size chunks, writing them down, believing them, and then going full speed ahead as if they were routine.” — Don Lancaster
Yearly goal-reviewing is where things get completely big-picture. You take time to really dig deep and think about each area of your life that you’ve set goals in. This is a time to see how far you’ve come in the past year. It’s also when you can determine where you want to be a year from now.
I cannot overstate how inspiring and motivating it is to review your goals yearly. This is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s where I get to take the deepest dive into what I really want out of life. Plus it’s a time when I get to celebrate how far I’ve come.
The best time to review your goals each year is in December. I try to take the last 2-3 weeks of the year off from tracking my goals daily so that I can really dig deep on this. I spend a little time each day looking at my goals for the past year and seeing how far I’ve come since the last yearly goal review so I can celebrate and plot a course ahead to reach my dreams.
The reason this deep-dive is so powerful is that it gives you a chance to think about the ultimate level of goal-setting—identity.
Most goals, like running 3x per week or losing 10 pounds, are surface level. They’re still important. But on their own, they can only reach what you want to accomplish on a short-term, superficial basis.
The real power of goal-setting comes when you look at who you want to become. You can only do this on a yearly basis.
This is why I take so long with my yearly review. I want to be rock-solid about who I want to become. This is the most inspiring action that I take to help me reach my goals. It’s the one that fills me with the most motivation.
Set aside time at the end of this year to review your goals. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.
Then, when the time comes, for each area of your life, ask yourself “who do I want to become?” You’ll find that taking time to answer that question thoroughly for your spiritual, social, financial, and physical aspects inspires you more than anything else you do to help you reach your goals.
How Often You Should Review Your Goals – in Summary
Knowing how often to review your goals is a simple step that will make you more likely to achieve them. I’ve been reviewing my goals daily, weekly, quarterly, and yearly for a while now. I keep it up because it’s helped me achieve dozens of goals more easily.
Give yourself time this weekend to set up your own goal-review systems on each of these time periods. Set reminders on your phone to help you remember to check in daily, weekly, quarterly, and yearly.
Make reviewing your goals a habit and you’ll discover a whole new capacity to achieve any goal you can imagine.