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4. setting goals & tracking progress

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Eric:  [00:00:13] Hey everybody, this is Eric Mueller. Welcome back to The Eric Mueller Show. How is everyone doing today?


I hope that you're feeling energized, confident and ready to talk about goals.


Today, I want to examine how to set goals, how to track your progress towards achieving those goals and what to do when you feel like you're spinning your wheels and not progressing towards your desires.


Does anyone out there keep a daily journal? I know that I have gone in spurts of daily journal keeping throughout my life.


Some weeks and months I do a better job than others. The most common example of regular journaling that I do is recording the number of miles that I run each day as well as my total for the week.


I have done this throughout my career as a long-distance runner spanning from eighth grade until present day.


Keeping this mileage log really helps me plan prior to and throughout each week to ensure [00:01:13] that I am achieving my weekly mileage goals. Now journaling for runners is a fairly common habit. A lot of runners that I know like to keep track of their daily mileage to make sure that they don't fall short of their total mileage goal for the week.


I know from personal experience that journaling my running really helps me stay on top of what I need to do for the remainder of my workouts for the week.


I need to record what I'd done on Sunday and Monday to know what I need to do on Tuesday Wednesday and so on, to make sure that I hit that seven-day mileage goal.


And as a runner, you want to schedule in workouts and recovery days and long runs. And some of those details become a lot easier to do when you're keeping a journal.


Now sometimes this journaling is very abbreviated. Sometimes. I just simply write down the number of miles that I've ran for that day. Other days, I might add a quick paragraph about how my body is feeling from the day's workout. I might also just add a sentence or two depending [00:02:13] on what is going on in my life that day.


Journaling this way really helps me plan and properly allocate my efforts towards my goal of hitting a specific amount of miles.  And practicing this daily habit keeps me motivated and driven to reach the goals that I've set in front of myself. And I believe that practicing this daily habit for you can keep you motivated and driven in your pursuit of whatever goal it is that you're chasing.


When you're setting a goal, you want to have a specific end point in mind. You want to always have a straighten path towards whatever it is that you're pursuing with that goal. So in the running example, if my goal is to run 50 miles in a week. That's my end goal at least for that week, so I can then break down and know what are the small incremental steps that I need to take during the week, throughout each day to achieve that goal.


And you can really apply that to anything. [00:03:13] Running is just a really good example that hits home with me because I know that it's been a part of my life for a long time ,and I have seen how this consistent habit of journaling has been so essential to my ability to stay driven and focused in terms of my running goals.


I think that some form of journaling really is essential as the foundation for setting and subsequently achieving goals.


Mind you, I would like to sit here and tell you that every single day I keep a detailed daily journal that lays out my intentions for the day, the tasks I want to complete and the overall desires for the trajectory of my life. However, that is frankly not the case.


What I can tell you is that when I have made use of a daily goal journal, my drive, effort, mindset and perspective all improved. Last year, my sister gifted me a [00:04:13] goal journal book for my birthday. I really loved using a goal journal. I found that it helped me keep on top of those goals that I had that were more long-term by breaking them down into smaller bite-sized chunks.


My drive and energy stayed high while I was using a journal because it kept in the front of my mind what my intentions were day to day.


I actually credit using a journal for my desire to create this podcast.


My initial goal when I started the journal was not to necessarily create a podcast, but I knew that I wanted to develop a personal brand, and journaling each day really helped me tease out how I wanted to do that and it ended up with The Eric Mueller Show.


It also made me realize how beneficial daily journaling is. And I wish that I could tell you that I consistently do that right now. I'm still not there yet. I'm still improving. And I just want to encourage you that when you start off journaling, [00:05:13] it's probably going to be difficult. Like I said, I've done some journaling with running, and I've done recording of mileage and things like that, but as far as sitting down and writing on a piece of paper or typing into a word document every single day.


I still am not there yet. I really, really, really want to get there because I know how beneficial it was to achieving my goal.


So, let's say you want to start pursuing your goals. How exactly do you do that? How do you write down your goals? How do you put them down on paper or word doc or in a notes app on your phone? How do you go about doing that?


Well, I want to introduce the concept of SMART goals. You may have heard of this in school. I feel like a lot of schools teach this nowadays or employee programs teach this as far as the mnemonic acronym that basically describes how to create a goal.


So, the letters in SMART goal stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant [00:06:13] and time bound.


So, as you think of those letters and then those definitions of those letters, really think about how that relates to the goal that you have in your mind right now. Now, I don't want you to think of the long-term goal that you have. So, for me, my long-term goal is to create a company; to be the founder of a new company.


It's a very hard to create a SMART goal around that. I can get through some of the pieces of it sure, but I think that it's a lot easier to use SMART goals as your micro goals. Those little, smaller steps that help progress you in that correct direction of that longer goal, but you know are more attainable. Let's take the A in SMART. They're more attainable. I feel like they're probably easier to state specifically, measurably.


Their relevance is that they're going to progress you towards that overall goal, and you can really set a time on it. So, time bound that last piece. If you have a long-term goal to [00:07:13] start a company at least in my opinion, that's pretty hard to say exactly when that might occur. I can estimate when I hope that occurs but it's a lot easier to say here's my first goal of that. I'm going to set a time limit of four weeks that I need to reach out to this connection, or I need to have a business plan prepared by this date.


So, I think SMART goals is a really nice way to prepare the goals that you have, but I think you should keep in mind to use that as the micro goal template.


Your longer-term goals I feel like as you journal, you'll probably tease out how to properly write about those, but I think that attaching that SMART goal acronym to it might be a little difficult at first. If you can succeed in doing it, go ahead, do that. I think that's great. But if you can't and if you find it to be difficult, don't get discouraged. Use it for some micro goals to progress you towards that longer-term goal.


So, after you've written down your goal using that SMART goal [00:08:13] system, it's really, really important to assess at regular intervals your progress towards that goal.


Now, like I've said a SMART goal in my mind is a nice way to write a micro goal that will progress you towards that longer-term goal.


And I really want to encourage you to make it as small as you need to, and the reason I say that is because you want to be able to celebrate those wins. You want to keep your mind motivated, happy and driven as you're pursuing your longer goal.


And if you make your SMART goals a little bit to macro, let's say; you might not see success as quickly and it might discourage you.


So, I encourage you to make those goals nice and small so you can see those wins. And by assessing at regular intervals, I mean maybe daily or weekly or whatever the timeline for your goal may be: make sure it's regular. Set a reminder on your phone to do it hey every day or every three days or something like that. You're going to sit down and [00:09:13] write down, “How am I progressing on this? Where am I at in regards to this micro, SMART goal?”


If you're not on track, go ahead and adjust; modify as needed. If you feel like you're spinning wheels on a specific goal, you can go ahead and modify that goal. You can change that timeline.


Now that's not giving up on that goal. You're just modifying as you go. I mean relating it back to running. I know that if I have plans to run “X” amount of miles in a week and on the second day of that week, I roll my ankle or something. Obviously, my plan has changed. I might need to train on an elliptical for a while or something. I might need to do some swimming to avoid putting impact on my leg if I've rolled that ankle.


So, modifying is completely fine, and I don't want you to be discouraged when you have to do that because you will have to do that. And the earlier you get used to doing that, the easier it will be when you start to create a little bit bigger goals on the route towards your overall goal.



So, to summarize the main points here:

  • One, I really think it's important to daily journal. I think it's important to do that for goal setting. I think it's important to do that for well-being. Whatever it may be, I think writing in a journal each day is very beneficial.

  • The second piece is using that SMART goal system to create your goals and really pursue that longer-term goal by using those micro, SMART goals

  • And three is just assessing your progress on your goals at regular intervals. And you can choose with that interval is. That's the cool thing about it. You can customize that interval to be whatever it needs to be to help you progress towards that goal.


Feel free to follow me on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook at @ericmuellershow. I'm also on LinkedIn. I really would like to be a resource for you all as you pursue any goal in life.


Feel free to reach out. Feel free to comment on a post. Let me know how it's going. Be happy to help out in any way I can.


[00:11:14] If you're listening on my website, please subscribe to the show, so you don't miss out on a new episode. The “Subscribe” button is right below that “Listen Now” button on the podcast page.


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Thank you all for tuning in today to listen to this short message about goal setting and tracking progress.


I hope you leave feeling uplifted and motivated to chase your next goal.


Until next time, Mueller out.


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Voice audio: Written, produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller

EDM music: Produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller

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