To make meaningful progress on my goals I believe that two things really help: creating habits and forcing accountability.
To make progress on your goals you need habits. Habits are the forcing function that will move your work forward. Without them you are looking at a metaphorical mountain that seems impossible to climb.
Habits help you split your work into smaller attainable bits. Writing a book seems impossible, while writing a little bit everyday is possible. Starting a company seems daunting, but making small progress on a business idea will eventually turn it into a real business.
Habits push me to make progress everyday. To make sure I keep on doing just that I try to create accountability around my goals. One way to do that is by publishing my goals and habits online. I hope that it inspires others to also work on personal projects and share interesting work and I think that it will help to keep myself accountable.
Derek Sivers once said that you should keep your goals to yourself:
"Psychology studies show that announcing your goals makes you less motivated to accomplish them."
Derek Sivers later rectified his talk and stated he wished he included one important point:
"These studies are only about identity goals: goals usually related to personal development, that would make you a slightly different person if completed. This does NOT apply to things like starting a company, brainstorming, or other pursuits where it would be useful to corral a bunch of people to support your project."
I think that the goals that I pursue can benefit from other peoples input. If people can see what I am pursuing it hopefully leads towards new connections that expand my horizon. That is what drives me to share my work in the first place (something I want to write more about at some point).
I try to take on goals together with friends and collaborators. That's why I am committing to writing together for 100 days straight with friends and not alone. That's why I like to work on projects with collaborators, and not alone. Together we keep each other motivated and accountable.
The beautiful thing about writing on this platform is that it enables both habit-forming and accountability. I build the habit of writing everyday. Gamification elements like the streak, total word count and badges incentivize me to keep on going. By doing this challenge together with friends I've created the accountability that will prevent me from falling of the bandwagon.