So you’ve developed your SMART goals. You know how to measure them. But that only works if you’re actively reviewing them. If you don’t review, you are missing part of the point of measuring them. Imagine this:
You fill up your car with gas. You drive, you drive, and you drive some more. Then suddenly your car comes to a sputtering halt. You get out, pop the hood, and everything looks okay. Eventually you get the car towed and the mechanic comes out to you with a smirk on his face. “So what is it?” you ask. He then says, “You ran out of gas.” And then you realize you never checked the gas gauge.
That’s a pretty foolish thing to do, isn’t it? Usually you only make that mistake once if you ever make it. Developing goals and not reviewing them on a regular basis is similar. You don’t know how far you’ve progressed on a given goal until you’ve come to a halt. In the case of a goal it could be because you need to do some other things. It could be because you’re finished. But likely it’s the former. Whether you come to a hard stop because the action you’ve chosen isn’t working or that you’ve completed your previously defined steps but there’s more to go, you need time to think about what to do next in order to try and move forward. That’s what a review period is for.
A review period also helps you look at your goals and determine which ones are still important to you. The period, as you are thinking, gives you time and space to determine if you need to add any goals. Also, here is the perfect time to prioritize goals and actions. A review period is important. And because you’re assessing your life direction, it needs to be regular.
I see a lot of success stories with people who review at the end of each day. I know one recommendation is to try and do that and that have a larger period of time weekly. The daily one is to look back over the day and consider how things went and make small adjustments. The weekly one is to do the big shifting and moving. It sounds great. However, I haven’t found that it works for me.
I’ve found success having a review every couple of weeks. While I’d like to be more frequent than that, I haven’t gotten there. Having it every couple of weeks means I am still checking on how I’m doing, I’m still considering priorities, and I’m still thinking about what makes sense and what doesn’t with respect to my goals. I’m working towards getting more frequent, but it is taking an adjustment.
Find what works for you, but plan to review regularly. If you can’t do the small daily review with a larger weekly one, don’t beat yourself up over it. Start with the interval that works with you and stick to that initially. Then, over time, seek to shorten it. Having a full review every day is counter-productive. That probably should be at least weekly. And that’s a reasonable goal. However, if you can’t meet that yet, I’ll say again: start with what you can. If it’s just once a month, that’s a start. It’s more important to get started and build a habit then pick something that you won’t meet.