Phew! We’ve finally made it to Part 3, the final part of this series on setting goals – the key to your property investment success.
In part 1 we looked at how to go about looking at the various areas of your life and setting your goals. Then, in part 2, we looked at identify the actions needed to reach those goals and how to avoid overwhelming yourself and to achieve some ‘quick wins’ to give you momentum.
Hopefully you were inspired to write down your goals and to start taking action. For a lot of people who take the time to sit and write their goals out – and this is a minority – that will be the end of the exercise for many. They may even take a few actions, but then life happens, work is busy, the weather is bad, the kids are noisy….whatever it is and goals can quickly become long ago forgotten dreams! This is where tracking your goals is important. Not only do you need to know your goals, identify and take action, but you need to follow up, on a regular basis by tracking your progress.
What to measure
Firstly you need to know what to measure, so take a look at your goal and determine what you will be measuring. If you have set SMART goals then the goal itself will most probably tell you what you need to measure! So as an example, if your goal is to read 10 book about property investing by December 30th then you’ll need to measure the number of books.
Sometimes you may need to come up with your own method of measurement, so for example, if your goal is to complete a renovation project by December 30th then you may choose to measure it simply as ‘completed’ or ‘not completed’ or you may want to measure incremental progress along the way, so you may measure your progress as a percentage completed against your project plan (you do have a plan, don’t you?!).
How often to measure
The frequency of measurement is determined by the length of the goal and your own personal preference. The most important aspect is that you choose a frequency and stick to it! If the goal is relatively short term then weekly measurement may be appropriate, whereas with longer term goals you may want to stick with monthly, or in some cases even quarterly measurement. Where possible I try to keep the tracking frequency the same on most, if not all of my goals so that I can simply track them all at once.
Setting a reminder in your calendar that will automatically prompt you is a great way to ensure that you are tracking goals at the set frequency.
How to measure
For some it may be enough to just simply sit down and assess where you are at against your goals periodically by reading your goals statements. Optimally you should record your current progress either on paper or electronically. My favourite method is definately spreadsheet. Setting up a spreadsheet with each of your goals running in the left column and then your dates across the top row gives you an opportunity to table your progress.
Now, I’m a bit of a computer geek so where possible I try to make my goal measures to be a numeric value which also allows me to graph my results, providing a powerful visual tool to review. Visual tools can be very powerful for reinforcing your goals, motivating you and driving you to continue taking action toward your goals.
Speaking of visual tools, earlier this year in podcast episode 12 Den shared how he tracks some of his goals using some really interesting visual tools. These tools related to his fitness goals. Over the course of the year, Den has a goal to run a distance equivalent to the distance between Melbourne and Sydney. He has a map of that distance and each week he updates his progress on the map:
Den, being the wonderfully fit guy that he is, also has a goal to swim a distance equal to the distance across Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne), over the course of the year – at it’s widest point, of course! He has a chart for recording his weekly progress also:
So in summary, tracking your goals is important to make sure that you are heading in the right direction and to provide ongoing motivation to you to continue toward your goals.
Tracking is not hard, you simply need to come up with what you’re going to measure, how you’re going to record your progress and make sure that you stick to a regular frequency. Using visual tools can be a great motivator, so have think about how you could visually represent your goal and get cracking!