Writing down goals, breaking them into steps and tracking your progress can help you turn your dreams into accomplishments. Keep a visual representation of your goals and action steps in view every day. With your dreams in front of you, you'll be reminded of the things you want to work toward and be more likely to choose working on your goals over watching television or surfing the Internet.
Road to the Goal
If your goal requires a slow, steady accumulation of similar steps, such as sticking to a marathon training plan, saving money toward a life-list trip or writing 500 words a day for six months to produce a rough draft of your first novel, put time and care into creating a visual representation of your goal. This could be a mock book cover (complete with "#1 Bestseller" across the top), a digitally manipulated photo of you crossing the finish line at a big race or a small collage of pictures of your dream travel destinations.
Affix this representation in the upper right-hand corner of a piece of poster board. Using a permanent marker, draw a "road" leading from the bottom left-hand corner, winding over the whole poster board, ending at the goal. Figure out how many times you need to repeat your baseline step to reach your goal and divide the "road" accordingly. Every time you go for a run, write 500 words or stash $10 in your dream account, color in one of the road sections. The more you can see yourself drawing closer to your goal, the more motivated you will be to keep working toward it.
The dream web goal tracking method suits complex goals with many diverse, interlocking steps, such as starting a business or making a film. Place your visual representation of the goal in the center of the poster board. Draw many lines radiating out from it, as if the goal were the sun in a child's drawing. Draw a circle at the end of each line and write subgoals or major steps within the circle. If necessary, draw lines radiating out from the circles and list sub-subgoals in those circles. Color in the circles as you complete steps toward achieving the goal.
Vision boards are classic goal-tracking tools because they make your goals visually real. Create a collage depicting every aspect of your dream life--home, work, leisure time activities, relationships, car, perfect garden, everything. Leave a strip of poster board visible along the side. Every time you take a step toward making your dreams a reality, write it down.
- Runner image by Yuriy Rozanov from Fotolia.com