When it comes to achieving our goals, the biggest challenge usually isn’t a lack of resources or time. It’s our own memory.
It doesn’t matter how big or important a goal is, if we don’t review it, it’ll fade from memory. It’s almost as simple as the old saying: “Out of sight, out of mind.”
We know this from practical experience. Can you name a book you read a month ago? How much of it do you remember? How detailed is your memory of the argument or story line? It turns out we forget about 80 percent of what we read in just a month.
The same problem affects our chances of reaching our goals. Forgetfulness is our biggest liability.
What Happens When We Lose Track
Life comes at us in a rush. There are a hundred things to keep track of in a day. It’s not just easy to get swamped; unless we take proactive measures, it’s inevitable.
We have to keep an eye on our goals or we’ll lose sight of them. Instead of making progress, we’ll look up after several months have passed and realize that we we’re no closer than we were when we started.
That’s certainly my experience. Unless I’m tracking my progress against my goal, I’m probably not actually making much progress.
What that means is that we need an intentional, regular review process for our goals.
Making the Gaps Work for Us
A regular review process keeps our goals in front of us so we don’t lose sight of them, but keeping our goals out in front of us also gives us a strategic advantage in accomplishing them.
How? When we review our goals, we evaluate how far we’ve come. That reveals a gap. The key is in that discrepancy.
“When your brain detects a discrepancy,” says Heidi Grant Halvorson, “it reacts by throwing resources at it: attention, effort, deeper processing of information, and willpower.”
Reviewing our goals sharpens our focus and helps us adjust our daily activities so we’re gaining on our target instead of losing our why in the midst of all the distractions we encounter every day.
In my experience, Evernote is the best tool for this job.
Evernote: The Best Tool Around
As I’ve said many times before, Evernote is my “digital brain.” I use it to store ideas, notes, web clips, receipts, recipes, important documents, event details—everything really.
It’s also perfect for tracking goals, and now I have a eleven-minute screencast so you can see exactly how I use it. In the screencast, which is only available for a limited time, you will discover:
- 3 reasons why Evernote is a better goal-tracking solution than more robust, dedicated applications. (Remember: “Complexity is the enemy of execution.”)
- 2 simple hacks for using Evernote to keep your goals visible, so you don’t fall victim to out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome. This is the No. 1 reason people fail to achieve their goals.
- 4 click-by-click steps for setting up your personalized Goal Progress-tracking System (GPS). Watch me do it on-screen, then do it yourself.
- An importable Evernote template you can use to track your key motivations, next actions, progress reports, and random notes for each goal. Simply double-click on the included file and start tracking.
I’m making this screencast available as a brand new, FREE bonus to anyone who registers for my 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever goal-setting course. But the screencast is only available until 11:59 p.m. Pacific on the night of December 30. After the deadline, this bonus will go back into the vault and will not be available to those who purchase the course at a later date, so don’t miss out.
If you’ve already purchased the course, don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded with access to this new bonus for buying early. Keep an eye out for an email with more details.
Question: How could a regular review system have helped your progress in 2014?