Prompted by lifehacker’s call for the best goal tracking app or service, I thought now was a good moment to share how I use Milestone Planner to track (and more importantly, achieve) my personal goals. In last year’s (still popular) blog post on “Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick” we shared some tips for putting New Year’s resolutions into action, without being too hard on yourself.
Last year’s FranklinkCovey survey of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions is little changed from the previous year, with most of us still circling around the same things. Specially, the top 5 last year was:
- Become more physically fit
- Improve financial condition
- Improve health
- Lose weight
- Read more
So, what’s the plan? We’ve got an app for that… Milestone Planner is free for a single plan, which is all you need for tracking your personal goals (although if you want to treat yourself to the Professional Edition that would make our day, and it won’t break the bank!).
Create a ‘workstream‘ for each of your goals (or New Year’s resolutions), then set milestones in each stream that track your progress towards that goal. Breaking it down into specific steps, with a deadline for each step (which is what a milestone really is) is a great way to chunk your goal down into manageable bit. Later, you can come back to the plan and on the dashboard, milestone or ‘do‘ pages, break things down even further by adding actions (specific tasks) against each milestone. If you don’t check in our your plan for a while, and a milestone is due, we’ll send you a gentle nudge. If your plans change, just click and drag the milestone to a new date.
If you are familiar with GTD, you are essentially asking yourself “What’s the next action?” towards achieving each milestone. You’ll end up with what seems like lots of milestones and actions, but you’ll have spread them over time to make them achievable. The review feature graphs your progress, and you can export your plan, or share it with other people if you want.
I might be biased, but I think it’s great for tracking goals and making sure you follow up on those new year’s resolutions. Think of the big picture:
Where do you want to get to? That’s your vision. How are you going to get there, what’s the journey, why are you taking it? That’s your mission. The objectives are the markers you set, so that you know you are on your way – click to start creating milestones now.