A progress report is a report of work accomplished during a specific time period. Simple enough, but how often do you reflect on your progress? Although I monitor my progress and adjust my efforts often, I very rarely prepare a report. Just recording your progress is not enough to accomplish your goals either. Does your progress report include an action plan? What do you do?
I am always a big advocate of goal setting and goals. I particularly like SMART goals because it helps you establish specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-targeted goals. Just setting goals is not enough to make you successful. Goals and goal setting is just the beginning of the achieving your goals. Simply setting a goal is not enough! You still need motivation to clear or accomplish your goal and monitor your performance.
Monitoring your performance should be done daily/weekly/monthly and adjust your efforts accordingly. It is a little like a performance evaluation in the workplace. Your manager and you establish goals together and evaluate your performance. You would not want a surprise at your performance evaluation and you don’t want one for your goals setting either. How often do you evaluate your performance regarding your goals and what do you do about it?
Just monitoring our progress is not enough! You need an action plan based on your performance. If you achieve your goal, you can use those skills on your next goal. If you fail, you adjust, reevaluate and make changes to achieve your goal. All successful people fail along the way, but they do something about it. They evaluate and adjust their efforts to achieve the goal. The simple act of writing down your goals help some people focus more on their goals. Writing them down is not enough!
In companies, they have company-wide goals and every department establishes goals that are tied into the company goals. Individuals set goals based on what they want to achieve and should tie those goals into a longer term vision of what they want to achieve. Whether you are saving for retirement or for a down payment for a home, you need a vision of what you want to achieve by completing that goal. How does buying that home fit into your financial goals?
It starts with a long range plan. Is a home just a place to live or is it an asset? Is it forced savings and something the IRS subsidizes? How does it fit into your long range plan? It could be a source of rental income when you move. I recommend that everyone hangs onto your first, second and third home and rent them out. Your renters will pay off your mortgage and you will have a tidy sum of income to support you in your retirement years.
Maybe that is not in your financial long range plan. You may just want to own your home without a mortgage and invest the excess in the stock market. If you do not have a plan and evaluate your goals relative to a long range plan, how will you know? Evaluating your performance must always have context and your goals are part of that context and a plan is the rest of that context. Having a plan helps us do our best and do more than the task at hand. How are you doing?
A progress report is a written evaluation of your goals and should include how you are doing with your overall plan. For example, you could have a goal of losing twenty-five (25) pounds. Your overall goal should be to maintain a healthy lifestyle so you will never gain it back. That healthy lifestyle would include a reasonable diet and exercise program to avoid gaining back the weight. Another example is saving for a down payment for a home as though it stops there. The individual goal must fit with the overall goals.
A progress report can be a structured method of looking at your goals in context with your overall goals. It can be a way of evaluating your progress and help give you the structure of a action plan to achieve the goal. It is not enough to just point out the mistakes or to summarize why you did not reach your goal. Taking an objective view of your progress, identifying problems and developing solutions should be part of the report. In some ways it can be an opportunity to make excuses, but you need to turn it into a solution or road map to the solution.
Performance evaluations are part of every person’s employment. I think it is a great device or structure to help you achieve your goals. It also helps you achieve your goals in context of a long range plan. Having a grand plan places more meaning on the individual goals and provides more motivation. If you understand why you do things, you are much more motivated to do things to reach your goal. Give yourself a progress report and evaluate your performance. An action plan based on you performance will help you achieve your goals. A progress report will help you succeed!
Photo by: Enokson
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