GoalsOnTrack Blog

A systematic approach to achieving goals and getting results.

iPhone App Beta Testing

Before we submit the app to the App Store, we would like to do another round of beta testing. If you are interested in participating, please follow the instructions below to join the test.

To get our app onto your iPhone outside of Apple Store, we will need some information (UDID) about your phone. The easiest way is to simply use this app to send that info to us.

Click on the below link and install and then run the app.

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=285691333&mt=8

The only thing this app does is to create an email filled with your phone device id. Please enter for the To address “harry.che@goalsontrack.com” and send it to me.

After I get your info, I’ll create a special version so that you can test it on your phone.

Btw, testing or installing that app will NOT harm your phone in anyway whatsoever. Also your phone id is confidential and we’ll never disclose to anyone for any purpose.

Currently we are only able to accept beta testers from GoalsOnTrack existing users.

-Harry

Preview of upcoming GoalsOnTrack iPhone app

We have been working intensively on the development of a new iPhone app for GoalsOnTrack lately. We’re very close to the launch of the first version of this mobile app. Currently it has four main feature sets: Goals, Tasks, Habits and Journal. We also have plans to further improve it, and possibly adding in the vision board and calendar features.

Here are a few sample screenshots from the app. Let us know if you have any comments or feedback.

Also if you’re interested beta testing this app, please let us know by sending us a short message via the Send Message form on the home page.

8 Tricks to Making Your To-Do List Doable

By Gina Trapani


There’s no better feeling than checking something off your to-do list. Done! Finished! Mission accomplished! Yet it’s so easy to let a whole day or week go by without knocking one task off your list. How does that happen? Well, your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy. It all depends on how you write it.

Think of your to-do list as an instruction set your Boss self gives your Assistant self. Like a computer program, if the instructions are clear, specific, and easily executed, you’re golden. If not, you’ll get undesirable results, like fear, procrastination and self-loathing. Today I’ve got some tips on how to write a to-do list that makes getting your stuff done dead simple.

You are the boss of you

At any point during your work day you are in one of two modes: thinking mode (that’s you with the Boss hat on) and action mode (that’s you with the Personal Assistant hat on.) When a project or task comes up, the steps you’ve got to take start to form in your mind. Now you’re in thinking/Boss mode - the guy/gal who gives the orders. Your to-do list is a collection of those orders, which your Assistant personality will later pick up and do.

So when you’re wearing your Boss hat, it’s up to you to write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think. GTDer Michael Buffington called this “writing tasks that you can follow as if you’re a robot.”

How to order yourself around

So how do you make your to-do’s doable? When it’s time to add something to your list, stop and think it through, using the following guidelines.

Break it down.

The best way to make yourself avoid a task like the plague is to make it a vague monstrosity. The Getting Things Done productivity system defines projects differently from tasks: projects have multiple sub-actions. That’s an important distinction - internalize it, because your to-do list is not your project list. Don’t add multi-action tasks to it, like “Clean out the office.” Break it down to smaller, easier-to-tackle subtasks like “Purge filing cabinet,” “Shred old paperwork” or “Box up unneeded books for library drive.” Because Assistant you is going to run for the hills when Boss you says “Clean out the office.”

Work through projects using next actions.

If you’ve got a multi-action task - that is, a project - only keep its next sequential action on your to-do list. When the task is complete, refer back to your project list (again, separate from to-do’s) and add its next action to your to-do list. At any given moment, your to-do list should only contain the next logical action for all your working projects. That’s it - just one bite-sized step in each undertaking.

Use specific, active verbs.

When you’re telling yourself to do something, make it an order. An item like “Acme account checkup” doesn’t tell you what has to be done. Make your to-do’s specific actions, like “Phone Rob at Acme re: Q2 sales.” Notice I didn’t use the word “Contact,” I said “Phone.” Contact could mean phone, email, or IM, but if you’re taking out all the thinking and leaving in only action, your verbs will be as specific as possible. Literally imagine yourself instructing a personal assistant on her first day on the job what you need done.

Keep your list short.

Just like no one wants to look at an email inbox with 2,386 messages in it, no one wants to have an endless to-do list. It’s overwhelming and depressing, like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I keep my to-do list under 20 items. (This morning it’s only 17 tasks long, and I’d call myself a busy person.) Does that sound like too little? Remember, your to-do list isn’t a dumping ground for project details, or “Someday I’d like to” items. These are tasks you’re committed to getting done in the very near future - like the next 2 weeks. Keep your projects and someday/maybe items elsewhere. Your to-do list should be short, to the point commitments which involve no more deciding whether or not you’re really serious about doing it.

Keep it moving.

While my to-do list is only 20 items or so, it’s 20 items that change every single day. Every day 2-5 tasks get checked off, and 2-5 tasks get added. Remember, your to-do list is a working document, not some showy “look how organized I am!” thing that quietly gathers dust because you’re off doing real work which isn’t written down anywhere.

Prioritize.

While your to-do list might have 20 items on it, the reality is you’re only going to get a couple done per day (assuming you’re not writing down things like “get up, shower, make coffee, go to work…”). So make sure those tasks are at the very top of your list. How you do this will depend on what tool or software you use to track your to-do’s, but do make sure you can see what you need to get done next at a glance.

Purge.
Just like you should be able to see what tasks are top priority on your to-do list, you should be able to see what items have been on your list the longest as well. Chances are you’ve got some mental blockage around the tasks that have been sitting around forever, and they’ve got to be re-worded or broken down further. Or perhaps they don’t need to get done after all. Deleting an item from your to-do list is even better than checking it off, because you’ve saved yourself the effort.

Log your done items.


Like any good assistant, you want to show the Boss exactly much you’ve gotten done. Make sure you stow your done items somewhere so you can revel in your own productivity. Also, your “done” list is a great indicator of whether or not your to-do list is working: if more than 2 days goes by without a new done item? It’s time to revamp your to-do list and get back to best practices.

Practice makes perfect

This probably sounds like a lot of hand-waving for simply writing something down on a list, but 90% of doing anything is the planning, and that’s true for even the most trivial tasks. Like any good habit, practice makes perfect. The more you practice the art of creating effective to-do’s, the faster and easier it will come to you, and the more you’ll be crossing items off your list.

SMART Goals vs. HARD Goals

By Heather Huhman

You probably have a lot of goals that you would like to achieve, whether they relate to your business, your brand, your health, or something else in your life. Obviously, thedesire to achieve a goal is usually not enough, and many of us need a clear plan to get there.

Here are two different ways to map out your goals:

SMART Goals

I’ve gone into detail about SMART goals before in this post, but here’s a reminder of what SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Clearly define your target or end result. Avoid being vague and instead think about the who, what, where, when, why and how of your goal.
  • Measurable: Think about the numbers associated with your goal. How will you measure success?
  • Action-oriented: Develop a plan of action in order to achieve your goal. Make it as specific as possible.
  • Realistic: Make sure your goal is possible and reachable. You can always make additional goals once you’ve reached your initial result.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline to motivate yourself towards change.

HARD Goals

SMART goals can help you on your path to success—and so can HARD goals. This tactic, coined by Mark Murphy in HARD GOALS: The Secrets to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (McGraw-Hill), taps into an individual’s emotional, visual, survival, and learning systems – enabling you to visualize what you need to achieve.

  • Heartfelt: Develop deep-seated and heartfelt attachments to your goals on levels that are intrinsic, personal and extrinsic. Use these connections to naturally increase the motivational power you put behind making your goals happen.
  • Animated: Create goals that are so vividly alive in your mind that to not reach them would leave you wanting. Use visualization and imagery techniques to sear your goal firmly into your brain including perspective, size, color, shape, distinct parts, setting, background, lighting, emotions and movement.
  • Required: Give procrastination (which kills far too many goals) the boot. Convince yourself and others of the absolute necessity of your goals and make the future payoffs of your goals appear far more satisfying than what you can get today. This will make your HARD Goals look a whole lot more attractive and amp up your urgency to get going on them right now.
  • Difficult: Construct goals that are optimally challenging to tap into your own personal sweet spot of difficulty. Access past experiences to use them to position you for extraordinary performance. Identify your goal setting comfort zone and push past it in order to attain the stellar results you want.

Murphy discovered that goal success isn’t determined by daily habits, raw intellect, or writing numbers on a worksheet, and that it actually depends on the engagement of your brain. HARD goals can help you do that.


Achieve Your Goals With This Goal Setting Strategy

By 

The Importance of Goal Setting

Goal setting is an important exercise for small business owners; without goals, we would just drift along. Goal setting allows us to be proactive, instead of just being reactive. We’ve all had days where we just seem to leap from one crisis to another, but we know that it’s not a preferred mode of operation!

However, goal setting isn’t enough. Goal setting is just the first step to achievement. Imagine, for instance, that your goal is to lose weight. Knowing that goals need to be specific if you’re going to have any chance of success, you decide that you will lose 15 pounds by a date set four months from now. Time passes. Four months later, you get on the scale. Are you surprised to discover that you haven’t lost any weight?

Goals Need Action

You shouldn’t be. While you started out well, by setting a specific goal to achieve, you didn’t perform any action to help you achieve the goal. What’s missing from this scenario is a goal setting strategy to help you accomplish the goal you have set. Without a goal setting strategy, or series of actions, that you are going to use to work towards the goal, whether or not you achieve the goal you have set is just a matter of blind chance. And blind chance is no way to run a successful business! To be successful, you need to make things happen, not just let things happen.

The Winnning Goal Setting Formula

So when you’re setting business goals (or any other goals!), use a goal setting formula that incorporates a strategy or strategies for accomplishing the goal. For example, suppose that you want to increase sales. When you’re setting this goal, don’t just write, “I will increase sales.” This goal is too general.

First, specify the goal. “I will increase sales this month by 25 percent”. Setting a specific goal builds in the criteria you will use to evaluate your success; in this case, at the end of the month, you’ll either have increased sales by 25 percent compared to the previous month, or you won’t.

Then, specify the strategy that you will use to work towards accomplishing the goal. “I will increase sales this month by 25 percent by offering a 10 percent off sale on all inventory and advertising this sale in local media.”

Every goal you set needs to follow this basic goal setting formula: “I will (specific goal) by(specific actions I will follow to accomplish the goal).” As in the example above, you may have several specific actions you will take to achieve your goal, rather than just one.

Goal + Action = Success

What happens when you go beyond the basic step of goal setting? Evaluating your success or failure is easy, because your goal is specific rather than general. And suddenly, instead of just having a goal that you may or may not achieve, depending on chance, you have a specific battle plan to follow to achieve the goal you’ve set. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, you’ve set yourself up for success.

Secrets of greatness: Practice and hard work bring success

I came across this old article from CNN Fortune Magazine archives, written by Geoffrey Colvin a few years ago. It reveals the research based observations on what truly contributes to greatness and success:

What makes Tiger Woods great? What made Berkshire Hathaway (Charts) Chairman Warren Buffett the world’s premier investor? We think we know: Each was a natural who came into the world with a gift for doing exactly what he ended up doing. As Buffett told Fortune not long ago, he was “wired at birth to allocate capital.” It’s a one-in-a-million thing. You’ve got it – or you don’t.

Well, folks, it’s not so simple. For one thing, you do not possess a natural gift for a certain job, because targeted natural gifts don’t exist. (Sorry, Warren.) You are not a born CEO or investor or chess grandmaster. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.

Buffett, for instance, is famed for his discipline and the hours he spends studying financial statements of potential investment targets. The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant – talent has little or nothing to do with greatness. You can make yourself into any number of things, and you can even make yourself great.

Read for the full article here: What it takes to be great

Do you agree or disagree? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

1-On-1: How to Set a Goal and Achieve It

Source: Success Magazine

The Experts Up Close

Jim Cathcart is a professional speaker and founder of the Cathcart Institute Inc. His top-selling books include Relationship Selling and The Acorn Principle.

Brian Tracy is a top management consultant and author of more than 45 books, including the best-selling Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want—Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible.

Cynthia Kersey is the best-selling author of Unstoppable: 45 Powerful Stories of Perseverance and Triumph from People Just Like You, as well as a performance and productivity coach.

Q: Why set goals?


Brian Tracy:
All successful people are intensely goal-oriented. They know what they want and they are focused single-mindedly on achieving it, every single day. Your ability to set goals is the master skill of success. Goals unlock your positive mind and release ideas and energy for goal attainment. Without goals, you simply drift and flow on the currents of life. With goals, you fly like an arrow, straight and true to your target.

One of the rules for success is this: It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; all that matters is where you’re going. And where you are going is solely determined by you and your thoughts. Clear goals increase confidence, develop your competence and boost your levels of motivation.

Cynthia Kersey: One of my favorite quotes is by Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Setting goals provides us with a way to create our future today by focusing our attention and daily action steps toward what we really want and then making them a reality. Setting goals works.

Q: Why do I keep setting goals and failing to see them through to fruition?


Brian Tracy:
Most people give up before they even make the first try. And the reason they give up is because of all the obstacles, difficulties, problems and roadblocks that immediately appear as soon as they decide to do something they have never done before. The fact is that successful people fail far more often than unsuccessful people. Successful people try more things, fall down, pick themselves up and try again—over and over before they finally win.

The two major obstacles to achievement are fear and self-doubt. The fear of failure, poverty, loss, embarrassment or rejection holds most people back from trying in the first place. Small fears overwhelm them and, like a bucket of water on a small fi re, extinguish their desire completely.

The second mental obstacle, closely aligned to fear, is self-doubt. We doubt our own abilities. We compare ourselves unfavorably to others and think that others are somehow better, smarter and more competent than we are. We think, I’m not good enough. We feel inadequate and inferior to the challenges of achieving the great goals that we so want to accomplish. If there is anything good about doubt and fear, it is that they are learned emotions. And whatever has been learned can be unlearned through practice and repetition.

Q: Is there anything I should think about before sitting down to write my goals?

Cynthia Kersey: Before sitting down to actually write your list of goals, I encourage you to first take a moment to discover something deeper—your purpose. What gives your life meaning and gives you personal satisfaction? What are the unique gifts and insights that you can contribute to your world? Your purpose will fuel your efforts and give you the drive to continue in the pursuit of your goals, no matter the challenges.

Start by writing How I Want to Be Remembered. List the qualities, deeds and characteristics for which you would like to be remembered by your friends, spouse, children, co-workers, the community, and even the world. If you have special relationships with other people or groups, such as a church or synagogue, club or team, include them on the list, too. You will begin to uncover your true values and the sources of meaning in your life. Being clear about your purpose may be your single most important accomplishment.

Q: OK, I have a goal list, now what?

Jim Cathcart: Figure out which items matter more than all of the rest. Ask yourself, “If I got this one, wouldn’t all of the others come along for the ride?” Often, when we achieve our one big goal, we get a whole truckload of other goals as part of the process. Don’t worry about achieving all of them, just make sure you achieve the few that you really care about. The others will come.

Brian Tracy: Plan.

  • Make a list of everything that you can think of that you will have to do to achieve your goal.
  • Organize your list by priority.
  • Organize your list by sequence. What must be done before something else is done?
  • Determine how much time and money it will take to achieve your goal or complete your task.
  • Revisit and revise your plan accordingly.

Q: What advice do you have for helping me stick with my goals throughout an entire year?

Jim Cathcart: Manage your mindset. Surround yourself with people and things that keep you focused. Take charge of whom you spend the most time with. Manage your workspace and home settings so that you are reminded of your goals and your commitments. Form habits that lead to your becoming the person you’ll need to be. When you form the habit of starting your productivity earlier in the day, associating with more positive people, managing the news and information you feed your mind, controlling the language you use— especially the ways in which you describe yourself—you will find it easier to succeed. Become the person who would achieve your goals and who would deserve them.