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10 Ways to Make Your Goals Fail, and What to Do Instead: #7

This post is part of our series answering the question, “Why do my goals and New Year’s resolutions keep failing? How do you make effective goals?” For best results, first check out the Introduction, instructions, and table of contents.


Tracking your goal brings direction, motivation, sustained satisfaction, and chances to course-correct as you go. Every goal can be tracked one way or another.

Action Potentials:

 Check in on each of your goals: are you tracking it? If not, make a plan to do so!

Track to Stay on Track

That which is measured improves…
-Karl Pearson

Your goal should be trackable so that you can tell when it’s achieved (at least for Specific goals; see Fatal Error #2), and so that you can track your progress along the way.

Let’s say you’re on course to meet your goal. Tracking it as you go lets you continually feel successful and enjoy the rewards, which constantly boosts your motivation (see Fatal Error #5), instead of just once at the very end.

Now let’s say you’re not on course. Tracking makes it easy to promptly readjust the goal and/or your methods so you can quickly get back on course, instead of realizing at the very end that you’re not even close and it’s too late to do anything about it.

Some goals may seem unmeasurable. This may be because they’re actually general Vision goals. In that case, also set measurable, specific goals that will bring to pass your Vision goal (see how in Fatal Error #3 and #4).

On the other hand, some goals may seem unmeasurable even though they’re specific. Like how do you measure your progress if your goal is to settle down with a long-term romantic partner? There’s a clear endpoint, but how do you know if you’re progressing? Should you just shrug and hope for the best?

No. There’s a better way. You can measure your progress not by output (results), but by input (deliberate effort that brings results). Track how many times you go on dates or go to get-togethers with friends. Or track how many times you start a conversation with strangers or acquaintances. Sure, those kinds of activities don’t guarantee a long-term relationship (sorry, nothing can!), but they are generally necessary for one to happen.

I’m checking the boxes, but still no girlfriend. Maybe the problem is I’m a very tiny man?

You can then view these input measurements as goals in and of themselves.

These input goals will allow you to make seemingly untrackable goals trackable, including general Vision goals. As a bonus, input goals are under your control, whereas the success of outcome goals often depends on circumstances.

A goal’s trackability and executability go hand in hand. If you can measure your progress, that’s a good sign that your execution plan is specific enough. If you don’t know how to measure your progress, then I recommend you go back to Fatal Error #4 and make a more detailed plan.

In summary, make input goals and other trackable goals so that you can find clear direction, maintain motivation, feel sustained satisfaction, and adjust your goals as needed for success.

FATAL ERROR #8 coming next week

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