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Better Goal Setting and Tracking: 50 Books and 21 Tools to Achieve Your Goals

Jan 16, 2015 6 min readSelf-Improvement
Photo of Nicole Miller
Nicole Miller

Director of People @ Buffer

To kick off the first #Bufferchat of 2015, the Buffer team joined in as guests for a chat focused on goal setting and tracking tips and tools. With personal improvement as one of our 10 company values, it is a topic near and dear to our hearts.

Check out the full Storify recap here.

goal setting and tracking

What are your goals for 2015?

  • Sunil: “Personal goal for 2015: Would love to bring back meditation as a habit again. Last year was on and off for me. Also hoping to eat healthier, w/ more protein and reducing the simple carbs and sugar I eat, challenging for a vegetarian.”
  • Courtney: “I’d love to read a book a week for 2015. On pace so far, haha! I blogged about all my personal goals for 2015 to help keep myself accountable!”
  • Patrik: “For 2015, I’m excited to explore the possibility of getting a house, traveling, and contributing to open source projects.”
  • Dave: “I’m super excited to travel to and work from new locations in 2015, and planning a thorough declutter!”
  • Adam: “Big goal I have for this year is to stretch a bit with remote working. Would love to explore and expand my remote horizons! Currently looking at getting out and working somewhere once each week. Potentially w/my family. :) Also – I would love for this to be the year I stick my nose in code!”
  • Mary: “In 2015, I’d like to keep working on finding the place in the world that makes me happiest. Have any of you guys found that? Maybe getting a dog should be on this list too for me! :)”
  • Nicole: “I’m hoping to finish my in-progress novel this year :)”
  • Mike: “My main focus for 2015 will be on building some good habits during the year, like meditating, writing and having less stuff.”
  • Tom: “Stick to a more consistent exercise routine, to improve my webdev ability and learn more about our webdev/ops stack.”
  • Daniel: “Going into 2015 I think one of my biggest goals is to start blogging more, and to travel as much as possible :-)”
  • Niel: “Learn more languages (Spanish + Xhosa) & work on growing an attitude of gratitude. Fitness goals still being formulated!”
  • Jose: “Learn more about functional programming, travel to at least 2 new places and keep working out”

What tools do you use to track your goals?

How often do you check in on your goals?

  • Tom: “I usually track and measure my goals weekly :)”
  • Mary: “I try to remember to be patient with myself too and tune into happiness above all! :) For things like running 3 times a week, well 3 times a week! :) For big ones, I’d like to do this more.”
  • Dave: “My plan for 2015 is to check in on my long term goals monthly.”
  • Daniel: “With so many of my goals being daily actions, I find myself checking in and reflecting on them before bed (well, I try to!)”
  • Adam: “I tend to look at things on a weekly basis. Helps me to keep on track, without feeling consumed. I can be a bit obsessive at times. ;)”
  • Courtney: “I’ve noticed that goals I can break down into daily actions are more likely to be achieved. :)”
  • Patrik: “I check in on my goals whenever I find that I don’t have a good idea of where I’m at. I am generally quite relaxed with it!”
  • Mike: “Daily, my girlfriend and I talk about it a lot, and at @buffer we chat about them daily on our pair calls as well!”
  • Thomas: “I try to think about my goals on a daily basis and have posted reminders around the house to help keep me on track :)”

What makes a goal attainable?

  • Dave: “Building a habit, and also sharing goals with people helps with accountability and mutual support :)”
  • Patrik: “I’ve found that goals that are flexible, specific, and written down somewhere work the best for me.”
  • Mike: “Has to be worth it :) I feel there’s almost nothing unattainable if you are passionate about it!”
  • Niel: “For me, it depends on the goal. Ones that are between “I have to commit to this” & “that’s almost impossible” motivate me!”
  • Daniel: “I think one thing that really helps me setting (and reaching) goals is to make small step goals towards something bigger.”
  • Adam: “A thought out plan, realistic expectation, and support. From there, it comes down to follow through. Support would be my big one! :D”
  • Mary: “For me, breaking it down into small pieces. Like when climbing a mountain, ‘I’ll make it to that rock then take a breather’.”
  • Amy: “Not giving up on it ;-) <3”
  • Courtney: “Even when a habit is attainable it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Love this post from @joelgascoigne on that”
  • Tom: “Breaking a goal down into small, actionable items. Keyword is small! Take it day by day, and do a little at time.”
  • Thomas: “I think that seeing how those around you can benefit from your goals helps make them more attainable :)”

What role does community play in reaching your goals?

  • Dave: “the support and inspiration I get from my team takes me so much further than I would get on my own!”
  • Mike: “A key one! Sharing my goals and journey with the people around me makes me happy. I feel extremely lucky to share them daily with my gf & @buffer peeps on the pair calls & on mastermind sessions w @rdutel
  • Tom: “Community support is vital for me, and transparency helps hold me accountable (personal choice, YMMV!)”
  • Patrik: “Community plays a huge role! It can be so rewarding to share your goals & challenges and learn from other experiences.”
  • Amy: “My community loves and supports me when I don’t know who to do it myself. <3 My community is also often better at recognizing my progress and reminding me than I am. This is why I draw visuals. Ha.”
  • Courtney: “Letting people know about my goals can feel scary (what if I fail?) but it’s so great for encouragement and accountability”
  • Adam: “For me – it is huge! The size of the “community” may vary, but that support can make all the difference.”
  • Daniel: “For goals like blogging and exercise (two I’ll be working on in 2015) having a community of friends for support is huge.”
  • Niel: “Definitely has a role. Having someone “check” in on your progress it a super great motivator! It keeps you accountable.”
  • Mary: “I think it can play a huge one! Being part of a culture where goals are encouraged and supported has helped me tremendously.”
  • Thomas: “Community is everything for me :) It is amazing to think that we are all at different stages of the same journey.”

Best books for inspiration on setting goals:

Thank you so much for everyone who joined in on this great chat!

What are your goals for the year to come? Share them with us in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

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