Achieving Your Goals Through Daily Habits


Most goals are never reached. This is usually because they are either too vague or they aren’t tracked. In business and in life, success must be measured.

In the world of Software Engineering, we track everything. We know how many lines of code have been written, how many features released, which versions have been released to our users, how often our users are clicking that big blue button there, and so on. Some of the information we track does not end up being used. Some of it does. But having this information is nearly always valuable.

We have goals, as well. At Laurel, we are very clear about what our goals are. We focus heavily on this idea because we believe it gives the company direction and provides a framework for daily decision making. Each of our goals has very specific metrics attached to it, as well as a clearly defined point at which we would consider these metrics indicative of success.

These goals start at a high-level - the primary objectives for the company as a whole. Then, there is a tree of smaller goals underneath these which help guide departments and teams towards reaching those high-level company goals. We break down the big goals into smaller pieces. Things we can track on a daily basis.. Then, on a quarterly basis, we review our progress.

We have reached goals in the past. We have failed to reach them. We have modified and changed our goals. We look at these goals nearly every day. It’s an ongoing process of growth, measurement, and review.

I’m sure you’ve seen this sort of pattern before. Most companies do it. There’s plenty of books and blogs about setting goals. But do you do it yourself? Do you write down your personal goals clearly, breaking them down into smaller pieces, tracking them daily using well-defined metrics? Do you have a specific idea of what “success” looks like for each goal and how you’re going to get there?

I don’t. Or at least, I didn’t until recently.

But now I do all of those things. I have written down my goals, I’ve broken them down into smaller pieces, I’ve attached metrics for tracking and established clear points at which I would consider them successful. I have a daily process for tracking my progress and reminding myself of the goals. I also have a monthly process for reviewing these goals and modifying them as I see fit.

And what’s the result? Now, I see daily progress. I feel daily progress. And I have real direction. I am 1% better every day.

What I want to share with you is the template I use for starting my day. It’s very simple and it’s directed towards my goals.

 - My time is worth $xxx/hr.
 - I am 1% better every day.
 - I am kind to myself first, then to others.
 - I focus on 1 BIG thing at a time. I am hyper focused.

My Goals: (link)

Today's Goal:
 - Specific thing I'm working on today to get me closer to My Goals.


For me, this has been an excellent way for me to stay on track. Hopefully it can be a valuable tool for you as well. Here’s an explanation of each section:

  • Affirmations: helps keep me motivated. Add something here that would motivate you.

  • My Goals: a link to my actual goals document, which is too lengthy to include in a small daily template but is something I still look at every day.

  • Today’s Goal: this is where I will, every morning, write out exactly what I’m going to be working on today. I work very hard to keep my daily goal simple and targeted. I pick the hardest thing on my list and put it there. I also have tons of other todo’s. You will too. But don’t put those here. It’s easy enough to track those somewhere else and once you’ve finished your primary goal for the day, you can go look at that list.

  • Notes: an area where I jot things down throughout the day. It’s mainly for brain dumps and thought capture.

Track your goals. Measure them daily. Review and update them often. And use this template to stay on track.

Happy hunting.