PART III: The Now
If you’ve reached section III, congrats! I think that already sets you apart for 80% of those who will start this article. Below I am including some templates, systems, books and other resources that I have found helpful. If you have others that you think I should include or others in our community would enjoy, please let me know and I will be happy to add them.
I have created a few templates that work really well for me. There is nothing earth-shattering about them but if they help save you some work I am all for sharing. Some can be directly attributed to a specific book or author while others are a mashup of experiences and things I have read.
GOAL BY CATEGORY: Use this to fill in your goals and to post somewhere you can see. I have kept it very minimal on purpose—it keeps me focused.
WEEKLY TRACKER: This is THE MOST IMPORTANT template I use and as nominated, I use it on a weekly basis. Some goals are simply things you want to do every day, every week and every month. This helps account for those goals which need to become habits while creating a system of accountability.
GREATEST LIFE MOMENTS: This was inspired by Jack Canfield’s book Success Principles and is a process for identifying some of the best moments of your life to date. How does this relate to goal setting? Because you will have difficult moments or down days. You need to avoid getting into a rut or spiraling. This template can help you in those times because it will help you remember that you have had many good moments.
BUCKET LIST: Inspired by The Business of Happiness by Ted Leonsis and the movie The Bucket List, I sat down and wrote down 101 things I want to do before I die. I try to review it annually and have made some adjustments along the way as I realize more and more what matters most to me. I found it to be a great way to focus the smaller time frame goals to make sure I was always making time for the big lifelong goals and to try and tackle some each year.
WEEKLY ROUTINE CALENDAR: While routine can make one think of drudgery, being intentional about one’s own routine can lead to major changes and impact. Jack Dorsey, who is one of the busiest people I know, once told me that he has outlined a focus for each day of the week. He adjusts it periodically but it helps keep him grounded. If Tuesdays are his days for product and he ends up having an emergency HR meeting, immediately after he knows what to go back to. It helps to have space carved out for what is important to you. It will help make sure you are controlling your calendar and not the other way around. I encourage you to post this on a wall and set up calendar items in your personal calendar so if you slip up or something is outside of control you at least know what ideal looks like and how to get back to it. This also helps with regard to communicating with my wife and making sure we have the same expectations for when each of us will typically be out the door and returning home, dividing responsibilities, etc.
DAILY EFFECTIVENESS TRACKER: When I was really focused on trying to have good days (because good days lead to good weeks and so on), I created this little excel tool to track what I worked on every 30 minutes of the day and then at the end I would rate how effective I was at it. I would try and set it up at the beginning of the day and rate at the end. This became a bit too cumbersome for me and I found myself caught in minutia but in case it is of use for you.
There are some great systems that make staying on track and keeping yourself accountable much easier. They range from the simple to the complex.
THE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER: From the folks at Intelligent Change, this little book, which is really a daily journal, is really effective at helping you prioritize your day and provides a system for reviewing your week
THE 5-MINUTE JOURNAL: Also from Intelligent Change, this helps you start and end your day with the right mindset of gratitude while also teaching you the psychology about why that matters. I have found it deeply fulfilling and worth filling one out to create good habits and mindsets.
BEST SELF JOURNAL: Similar to the Productivity Planner, this is really about helping you set up a system of weekly and daily accountability with a focus on action steps and a daily timeline. It also combines elements of daily psychology, like the 5-minute journal, all into one. It is very well done.
EVERNOTE: If you are not familiar with Evernote, it is a software tool to help you remember, well, everything. There are other systems out there though for that. This year Evernote launched a template and system of accountability for helping you reach your goals.
OTHER ACCOUNTABILITY RESOURCES:
The list is endless but a few that I think are worth looking into if you find yourself in a rut. Remember that you can go down a spiral here and the best plan is always just the plan that you will maintain and keep. But again if you need to shake things up here are a few that stand out:
SPAR: I recently learned about Spar also from Ryan Holiday. This is an app that helps you create social accountability with friends. It is brilliant. You can create a pool of money that everyone commits to and whoever holds the habit the longest wins the pot. A good way to create incentive especially if you are competitive.
STIKK: I heard about Stikk from hearing Tim Ferriss speak. It is a negative incentive tool. Instead of saying “if I do x, I will receive Y” Stikk helps you by saying “If I don’t do X then Y will happen.” It has non-non-charities or oft-hated charities that you can put money up for and if you don’t hit your goal then you are donating to a cause you don’t want the money to go to. That can be a powerful motivator. In addition, you can assign a referee who is a 3rd party to help you keep your goal.
Coach.Me: This is a great app that allows you to pick a goal: “Stop biting my Nails” for example. You can have daily check-ins to confirm you did it, find a community of others who want to do the same and receive instructions and motivation to keep you going. You can even find coaches and courses for given tasks that can be helpful.
Here are a few of my favorite books related to habits and goal setting:
I sincerely hope you found this helpful. If you did please share it with those you care about. Have a strong opinion or any feedback? Please send me a note and let me know @natechecketts on social media.
All my best,
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