How do you keep track of long term goals?

Hello everyone,

Just a quick question to pick your brain. As a company we have some long term goals. Some of them are described in details, some others are goals we want to achieve in 6/12 months, hence are nothing more than a reminder at the moment.

How do you make sure you have your goals integrated in your processes?

My main goal is not to lose sight of the bigger goals even while working on details. My current approach is to have a personal project called “Goals” in which I store all the short and long term ones. My problem is the granularity of details a task contains: a long term goal may be a one liner, a short term one could be quite detailed and won’t fit in a simple task. I guess my issue is that the more a goal is close, the more granular it becomes.

Hi @carlo I think I have just the right solution for you! I wrote this post a couple of months ago about how I’ve setup a “2016 Goals” project for tracking long-term goals. If you have a look at the video, you’ll see how it works. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks @paulminors
It is a good approach and I will give it a go.

Thanks for sharing, much appreciated!

You could break your long term goal into a series of steps until you get to a repeatable daily habit that gets you one step closer to your goal each time you do that task, and make sure to check off that task every day

So for example, to lose 10 pounds of body fat is easy to say, much harder to do in practice, I would know I was the top producing personal training consultant my time at LA Fitness, you could say “Do 100 push-ups per day”

Guaranteed if anyone does 100 push-ups per day every day, he/she will lose 10 pounds of body fat, and put in some lean muscle too, within 6 months.

Now, nobody except a rare few is disciplined enough to actually do 100 push-ups per day every day.

So Asana really isn’t the problem.

Peoples motivation is the problem.

You can track something all day long, that doesn’t make you care about it

The problem I still find is the motivation to get a task done is still lacking

Some interesting ways to solve this would be to gamify getting things done, so give admin ability to set “points” for completing certain categories of tasks, so that we could assign higher points to the crappier tasks



Unfortunately, a goal is something that can’t be split into steps until you have spent the time in detailing it. This goes against the idea of being agile.

To lose 10 pounds it may not be just 100 push-ups per day, but it can be changing the nutrition or applying certain changes to your life you still can’t express because you haven’t met your previous goal (which might be reading a book about cooking)…

In my opinion, goals are, and should remain coarse, something you look out to and that you specify walking the road. I cannot know how my long term goal will come to life if I don’t know how I am going to build the bridge that will allow me to get there…

Thanks for your comment though.

@Carlo, what a fantastic topic. This question is at the heart of productivity and making the most of Asana as a productivity tool. I’ll start by commenting on what you all have mentioned so far and then dig deeper into how we keep track of long term goals at Asana.

@PaulMinors I think it is wonderful that you created this blog post about how to work in seasons. In a word: YES. You hit the nail on the head when you say, “It’s not always easy to link the higher-level goals and vision that you’re working towards with the day to day things that you actually do.” I’m sure we can all relate to this in work and in life in general. You also hit the nail on the head with something Asana specific: “someday tasks” aka tasks we put into upcoming and/or later and forget about. I’m still working on this and thinking about a regular Friday sweep of upcoming tasks to prepare me for next week. Also I love your chart that demonstrates the links between tasks —> projects —> vision.

Regarding your idea, @FATBOY, that “motivation is the problem,” I’m with @Carlo on this one. I’d argue motivation is easy, while motivation without an easy process is the problem. You describe this as a bridge between long and short term goals, @Carlo.

Now, into the weeds! At Asana we use a process along the lines of what @PaulMinor describes in his seasons blog post. Here’s the gist of what we do:

  • Company goals (year)

    • Team Goals (year)

      • Team Goals (quarter)

        • Project A (feeds into quarterly goal, may be longer term)
          → Project includes a list of goals, sections, and tasks

        • Project B (feeds into quarterly goal, may be longer term)
          → Project includes a list of goals, sections, and tasks

        • Project C (feeds into quarterly goal, may be longer term)
          –>Project includes a list of goals, sections, and tasks

          • My tasks

The sequence above is, generally speaking, how we do it. Each nested section is like a link in a chain. Some links are bigger than others and some are connected to multiple links. This is where I love your diagram (see below), @PaulMinors. I think we have a few more layers to get to vision, but our processes are similar. In addition, the seasons idea puts a slightly different spin on our sequence, but I think what you outline is a great conceptual alternative to the theoretical nesting I describe above. And one could argue that we’re pretty much saying the same thing.

_Image credit to

How do we create the links in the chain?

  • Task —> Project = put one task in multiple projects

  • Project —> Task = list the task in a project

  • Project <—> Project (A) = create a task with the project name. In the description, paste the project URL. Example of where this is especially useful: In team goals for the quarter, add a “Relevant projects” section and list all projects for the year below.

  • Project <—> Project (B) = in a given project’s description, put a link to another project. Example of where this is especially useful: In team goals for the quarter, add a link to team goals for the year (project) in the project description. And vice versa.

I suggest you also look at these links in the guide for more inspiration: How to Create and Track Goals in Asana | Product Guide • Asana Product Guide + How to use Asana for product roadmaps | Product guide • Asana Product Guide. And let us know if any of you have more guide links to recommend!

This is a lot to digest! Let me know if you have any questions.

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Glad you like the post @Alexis. Although, I can’t take all the credit. This was inspired by the help article on Asana :smile:

I am new to Asana so yet to see what I can achieve, but an Approach I have taken elsewhere to address the difference between the day to day and long term goals is to manage my work using the Operational, Tactical and Strategic approach.

Most work you would be familiar in Asana would be in the operational space. Tactical is a response to the unexpected or driven by external events, perhaps triggering a workflow (becoming operational) or responding to a crisis. The thing is, the need to address these fits nicely with normal time periods of Daily, Weekly and Monthly/Annual. Perhaps you could have a project for each, with operations in many projects as well. At the end of a given week, you need to address all tactical items and review raise any identified Strategic items, Monthly or quarterly, you review and action (or schedule) from your strategic project.

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I like @paulminors’ article (as usual!), and if you do have access to Asana Business and the “Portfolios” feature, and if you have more than a few people working with you on these goals and objectives, then here’s a little training video that shows you another way to set up your objectives management using Portfolios that gives you some nice visibility of progress:

Good luck!

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Thanks @Daniel_Iversen. Hope you’re well :grinning:

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