How Often Should I Review My Goals?
Just a moment before you start reviewing
The ultimate purpose of any kind of review, not just goals review, is to make sure we do not forget something important to us: some notes at class, a busy business schedule, or clinic appointments, etc.
Reviewing goals is no exception - it helps us not to forget our important goals, not some pop-up goals that we are not serious about.
Symptoms of a non-serious goal:
- You have no plans on how to achieve it (you’re too lazy to work on it)
- It’s not your priority at the moment (you’re too busy to work on it)
Goals like this should be discarded, instead of reviewed, so that you can direct your attention to goals that truly matter. It’s a waste of time trying to remind yourself of what we don’t really want to do.
So, prior to reviewing, reconsider all your goals, make sure you’re reviewing only those goals that you are serious about achieving - something you know you must do, not something you think you could do.
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1. Why you should definitely review your goals daily
Though it’s true that a daily checkup on our goals allows no time to see incremental progress, the real purpose of reviewing your goals every day is to keep us going, rather than seeing how far we have gone.
Assuming that to work towards your serious goal, you have come up with a plan that is filled with tasks you need to do at certain times daily or weekly. You would be surprised at how daily review makes your effort easier.
Daily review gives you great motivation: It acts as a daily motivation to remind you of why you started in the first place and the great feeling of finally achieving it in the end. If you want to be the top student in the class, daily review certainly inspires you to make everyday count.
Daily review enhances your commitment: Confronting your goals everyday reminds you that the only way to get to your goals is to keep going. You cannot lose weight by only dreaming of losing weight. Unlike motivation which can be taken elsewhere, commitment must be developed by ourselves.
Daily review keeps you away from distractions: We often get distracted from our initial goals when we come across new opportunities or temptations, eventually end up chasing goals to goals without achieving any. By reviewing our main goals daily, we could easily say no to distractors and direct attention to our most worthwhile goals.
To wrap it up, the purpose of daily review is to keep you going on your track. This is probably the most important part of goal accomplishment - actually creating progress, since you need to focus on driving first, before trying to know how far you have gone.
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2. Why you should also review your goals at intervals (weekly or monthly)
While daily review keeps you on track, weekly or monthly review helps you to know where you’re at on your way and seeing for yourself the progress you have made plays a major role in pushing you towards your goal.
3 reasons why seeing your progress is important:
- You see how much you have done: This allows a feeling of reward that acts as great motivators to keep you going. If you’re saving up for your dream vacation, isn’t it great to know that your savings account is getting bigger?
- You see how much you have yet to do: You get to view the results you have acquired in the big picture, know where you’re going and whether you’re getting sidetracked. The clearer the path to your destination, the better you can prepare and the easier you can get there.
- You see if you need to update your goals or plans: Weekly or monthly review is a chance to modify either your goals or your plans so that it suits you more or yields better results. Working hard for promotion but feeling almost numb every night when you get home? Maybe it’s time to rethink your plans.
Therefore, after some time focusing on taking actions, make sure you sit back and watch your progress.
TIP: It’s recommended that you should review your goals weekly, rather than waiting till a month goes by, to prevent your goals from escaping your sights and also make necessary changes in time if needed.
3. How to get the most out of reviewing your goals
3.1. For daily review
Don’t review too many goals at once
Reminding ourselves that we have a bunch of things to do every day might be counter-effective. It could be overwhelming and create the reaction of feeling down whenever we see our goals list, rather than motivating us.
So, if you have life long goals, surely put them on the list. But for other current goals, try to pick out 1 most important goal for each aspect of your life (career, relationships, personal development,etc). These may subject to change after a week or a month, so keep it short and sweet enough for excitement, not exhaustion.
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Make your goals as visible as possible
A neuroscience study has shown that people who vividly describe their goals are 1.2-1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals. Anyway, we don’t need research to prove that we remember something easier when we get to look at it every single day.
Write down on a piece of paper the following then stick it somewhere easy to see:
- The (most important) goals you want to achieve
- The (most important) reasons why you must achieve it
- The plans/systems you have designed to achieve it
Review your goals every morning, in writing if possible
The best time to do your daily review is in the morning. This sets you up for an entire day totally focused on your goals, instills a sense of purpose, not only for your day but also for the whole big picture of your life. You may find out about other positive impacts of a morning routine.
In addition, studies on goal setting have shown that those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t.
You should create a habit of writing down your goals every morning. It only takes 5 minutes to set yourself up for a day living to the fullest.
3.2. For weekly review:
Unlike daily review, weekly review is, well, done once a week. So there’s a chance that we might forget to do it or procrastinate till next week.
Therefore, pick a fixed time and space in the week to conduct the review to make use of the pavlovian effect and create a habit of goal reviewing at ease.
Possible reviewing questions include:
- What did you do last week?
- How does that contribute to your goals?
- Is there a problem that counters your progress? If so, what can you do to make it more effective?
- Is your current plan still suitable for you? If not, then what can you modify?
- What will you do this week to make progress?
If you wish to dig deeper, check out this article on how to create the best weekly review.
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In the end, to make goals setting work, reviewing goals regularly is a must. It keeps important things in front of you, not just the urgent ones.
Daily review keeps you on track, and weekly review keeps track of what you do. Understanding the role that each type of review plays in your journey and spending time on both will give you the best push toward your goals.