This is a follow-up to my previous post. When considering, re-evaluating my priorities the question arose in regards to how I would manage those priorities. How would I track them so I would not only know that I was giving them the priority I wanted them to have but also how could I ensure I would have the support and encouragement to continue?
I started reviewing options for tracking goals whether they were goals that repeated daily, weekly, monthly or just one time goals like I have right now of moving into a new home. This of course led me into realizing some of my goals are simple, while others are more complex and just how to manage them all. I wanted one tool.
It took several days of research and trying out various ways and tools to find something that just might work for me.
First, I started with my goal of walking daily. I wanted to have something to track my steps, and to be honest, I wanted something simple, maybe later I can progress to something like fitbit to help me track my health goals but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that just might not work for me or I might find I’m still not committed to it. So I looked for free ways to do this.
I have a simple step counter I wear clipped to my clothes. This helps with counting my steps during the day and helps me see how much more I’m doing when I go for a walk. Now I needed a way to track my progress daily. Having extensive experience with Microsoft Excel, I just built a simple spreadsheet where I can record my steps, calculate a weekly accumulation of steps, work up a daily average and then add in 500 steps to the daily average for my daily goal the next week.
I was then able to add in a couple columns for tracking my weight. With the new scale I purchased with gives percentage of fat and percentage of water along with weight, I can now track those weekly.
My next goal was water. I needed to increase my water intake daily. I drink nowhere near the eight glasses of water which is recommended. I won’t go into the details but I was inspired by a chart I saw where someone could check off a graphical representation of a glass for each eight ounce glass of water they drank. Each day contained eight pictures which could be crossed off. It was a thirty day challenge to drink eight glasses a day. At first I wanted a copy of the chart but then I realized it would mean another form to keep track of, so instead I added another section onto my spreadsheet, a cell representing each glass of water. Each time I drink I put an ‘X’ in the cell, as the day progresses I can see how many more I have left. This is good. It encourages me to keep drinking water. It would be a shame if I got down to only one or two left and didn’t finish and I could hear in my mind the word “wimp” if I didn’t complete it for the day. LOL
The problem is, the spreadsheet worked great for recording my efforts, there was something lacking, like the support and encouragement of others, so I started searching online.
I came across the following article:
Under the topic of “Pen and Paper” is a link to an article about Jerry Seinfeld and his technique to keep himself writing. I instantly saw the value in his method. I also read the comments in which someone suggested not just marking out the days but having a running counter. The commenter thought seeing the number increase daily would be further incentive, which I had to agree, so I implemented a combination of the two.
Since I love spreadsheets so much I found a calendar created in Microsoft Excel which was free to download:
It has a yearly as well as monthly calendars and I could insert my spreadsheet I was using to track my steps and glasses of water. The monthly calendar allows for adding text for each day. Here I have a running counter, one each for walking and drinking water. Watching those numbers increase daily is rather inspiring. However, I still didn’t have the support from others. So I continued to look online.
I came across www.coach.me website. It is free for tracking your goals and encouraging others. You can select from goals already created or you can create your own. You can also hire a coach, which I might do sometime. The cost seems reasonable to me but for now I’m going to work with the free portion and see how well it works for me.
The first day, I added in my walking and drinking water goals. I’ve already had a couple people giving me what they call ‘props’ which is like a thumbs up each time I complete one day of each goal. I started doing the same for others. You can even leave encouraging comments if you want to and you can set reminders, though I have yet to see this in action. You can also follow others. I’m still experimenting and seeing what all it can do.
I found out today I can create my own plan and share it with others if I want to. This was good. I was able to create my plan for moving into our new house. I still have quite a few things I need to do, and what the plan allows you to do is list out the tasks you need to do. One task will appear each time you check-in, a new one for each day or if you don’t do it every day then the next time you check off the next one is available the next day. In a way, this forces me to do something every day. I built into my plan, days to rest or relax and put in all I need to do between now and moving in. It helped me to see I had plenty of time to get the things done I need to do without feeling overwhelmed.
It is hard not to load in a lot of goals. I decided to hold back on the reins to take things slowly so I don’t end up overloading myself. I also have a habit of overdoing my exercise programs and then becoming discouraged when it is too hard or I get too tired. This way, it all feels easy, while I can see myself progressing. I have already taken two minutes off of the time it takes for me to walk the distance I have been walking. I didn’t even try to reduce the time. It just happened.
Eventually, I plan on adding in a goal for my writing, and also for working on something creative like my knitting/crochet/drawing. Especially drawing since I find it so difficult to pull it out and get started each time I think about doing it.
The amount of time I have in my day is amazing after cutting back my blogging. I don’t know how often I’ll post, but right now I’m not going to worry about it. As I said, I need to focus on my priorities and those right now are my health and moving into our new home and of course work has to be in there somewhere. I wish I could use coach.me to track my work goals however, I’m working on finding another way to do that and even possibly suggesting our company come up with something similar so we all can support each other in our jobs and what we do. I think it would be a valuable asset.
Organization is something I also need to work on, in particular for my writing. I’ve been working with different options and one of them I thought worked well however there is one thing which really bugs me about the application. It doesn’t perform spell check as I type. It does have a spell check but I have to perform it after I’ve written, which I don’t always remember to do. When I go to post a new blog entry then WP will show me all the mistakes I made in spelling, this is good but for my personal record it means I have to go back and make corrections. I was hoping to use this application for writing a book. I just may have to keep it as the end step in the process and use something else. I’m curious for those who write books what do you use? Is there a particular application you use?