The best way to track your goals is to make SMART goals, that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive.
However, some of our goals are too complex or behavior-focused to measure. How do we track whether we’re more focused or have improved our memory?
Thankfully, there’s a subreddit where people can get advice from fellow productivity lovers on niche topics like this: r/productivity. As an avid user of the sub, I was excited to come across a thread asking for help in measuring unmeasurable goals, and the advice provided can help you achieve your dreams too!
Here’s some top advice for keeping track of your unmeasurable goals.
As the top commenter pointed out, there are ways to quantify nearly anything. Putting a number to your goals helps you achieve them.
For example, instead of saying you want to improve your memory, consider how you can achieve that. You could play a memory game twice a week, helping you achieve the desired result.
Understand Goals Versus Wishes
One Redditor gave tough love, claiming that immeasurable goals aren’t goals. They’re wishes.
To turn your wish into a goal, you must break it down into actionable, measurable steps.
Another Redditor offered kinder advice on measuring goals that don’t seem measurable: reflect.
Set aside time each week to reflect on your actions and how they helped you get closer to your goals. A bullet journal is an excellent tool; be sure to include space for weekly reflection in your spread!
Use Leading Indicators
Leading versus lagging indicators trip many of us up regarding goal setting. One user pointed out that the goals are lagging indicators, but we should set leading indicators to help us achieve them.
For example, a lot of people set a goal to lose weight. They may even make it a SMART goal by saying they will lose 20 lbs in three months.
However, it’s still a lagging indicator. The leading indicator is what you’re going to do to get there. Will you work out three times a week or reduce fast food intake?
Setting leading goals helps you better track your progress.
Many of our seemingly unmeasurable goals are only unmeasurable because they aren’t specific enough. Specificity is a crucial part of the SMART goal framework.
Dig deeper into your goals to discover the why’s and the whats. What specific tasks do you have trouble focusing on? Why is improving focus vital to you? Understanding why a goal matters to you will help you narrow it down.
Rephrase your Goal
Sometimes, we lose sight of our goals because we don’t frame them correctly. One Redditor pointed out that rephrasing our complex goals transforms them into something more measurable.
The Redditor offered an example of a goal to stop procrastination. Instead of saying, “stop procrastinating,” flip it and decide what you will do instead. “I’m going to read for two hours a night instead of procrastinating.”
You can also define the “how” in rephrasing your goal by stating that you will stop procrastinating by doing x.
One user created an analytical system for measuring subjective goals. They created a chart with their own method of calculating these types of goals and recorded how they fare each day with a rating system.
At the end of the month, they look back to see how well they did with each goal and determine what they need to change.
Rate Your Effort
Some subjective goals lend themselves to a rating system. For example, if your goal is to be more focused, assign a scale of 1-10 to that goal, and rate yourself on how much you tried each day.
This is one method that gives you points for effort.
All lofty goals can be broken down into actionable SMART goals. You need to have a planning session to figure out how you will do it.
For example, you might set a lofty goal to become a millionaire. Make a financial plan to achieve it, which includes career goals, savings goals, investment goals, and frugal living goals.
Often our goal is only immeasurable because it’s too big.
Journaling is the best. Writing down our goals and the steps we took to achieve them helps us visualize ourselves accomplishing them. It gives us something solid to hold onto and helps with the planning process.
If your goal is truly not measurable, it may help to write about it. You may find a SMART goal hidden in there upon reflection.
Most Goals are Measurable
Most of these clever tips help you find ways to measure your goals because the truth is every good goal is ultimately measurable in one way or another.
It can be challenging to figure out the how, but hopefully, the Redditors in this thread offered you some excellent ideas to turn your lofty wishes into actionable goals!
Get out there and achieve your dreams!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.