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Tool - Personal Goal Report Card

#productivity #tools

Personal goal setting is a common habit for each new year. For the past several years, I’ve set goals for the coming new year while also reflecting and reviewing on how I did during the year. More often than not, I fall short of my ambition in so far as I had a cross-off-worthy outcome; how dreadful, to deny that sweet satisfaction. At the same time, however, I often have made some progress towards a goal but, for whatever reason: uncontrollable factors, escalating priorities, laziness, life events, et cetera, the progress stalled or stopped. In this case, a binary yes-no, “did you achieve the goal?”, doesn’t do justice.

This year, I started using a new tool for goals: a personal report card. Instead of a binary decision, I give a letter grade with commentary, reliving the sweet simplicity of grade school, to assess my performance against a given subject. This might be somewhat conflicting to the SMART goals system that provides measurable outcomes for goals, however, I think its useful in that it adds some gray area (which could provide frustration or elation) to better reflect the realities of goal completion. Below is a fictional example for your own use.

Example 2014 Goals


  1. Commit to regular fitness regime of 3x per week

Grade: B-, for H1 of 2014 I did well against this goal but fell off the wagon from Q3 to 2x per week and even 1x per week in Q1


  1. Save $5,000 and invest in the markets

Grade: A+, based on new budgeting skills I learned in YNIB we managed to save $6,500 and invest in the markets via DCA. I’m happy with this outcome


  1. Go to Spain

Grade: F, This was all show and no go; we got excited about it for about a week and just let it keep falling to the bottom of the priority list especially as the kids got back to school in the winner. Looking to re-prioritize it in 2015 and commit.

The above report card captures, with commentary, the subtle life events that paint our realities in contrast to a binary yes-no, “I succeeded, I failed” approach. I think this gives more credit without necessarily cutting too much slack on ourselves.