What we need to stay on track with our goals is a little motivation. If we can see that we’re moving in the right direction (even if it isn’t always as fast as we’d like it to be), we’ll keep going. We will opt for the salad instead of the pizza or cook at home instead of going to our favorite restaurant. There is something about physically seeing the growth that is happening that changes and sets our mindset. Our brain sees progress so it is a positive thing. We tend to work towards the positive results in our life.
But how do you see this progress? You see it by tracking and measuring your progress and writing it down. It doesn’t matter if you use a pen and paper or your computer. You want to be able to see that progress in front of you in black and white. It needs to be a visual representation of how you’re doing.
Why You Should Be Measuring Your Progress With Your Goals
Why We Don’t See Progress Immediately
One of the reasons we’re all bad about sticking to our goals is because we don’t see big results right away. We tend to want to see some sort of a result quickly. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight, pay off credit cards or quit smoking. We tend to lose more patience as time goes on if we don’t see results. This causes discouragement.
We stick with the program for a few weeks and then start to lose steam and motivation. It takes a lot to keep going and it isn’t easy to change our habits for the better. Measuring your progress towards those goals you set can stop those problems from surfacing.
By setting milestones or tracking our weekly or monthly progress we start to see a better picture of how far we have come. Without measuring your progress, at least at some point, we are clueless if we made any progress at all.
What Do We Track?
Knowing your goal is one thing, but knowing your progress is another. This is not some random thing though. You have to know what to track and how often you should be measuring your progress first. Let’s talk about what to track.
If you want to lose weight, write down your weight each day (or once a week if that works better for you). Get out a measuring tape and measure your waist, your leg and arm circumference etc. Write those measurements down as well and re-measure every month or two. Even when the scale doesn’t seem to want to move in the right direction for a while, you’ll still see progress in your body measurements. And having all this data can be very motivating. 6 months into your weight loss journey, you may not see a lot of change day to day. But looking back at how heavy you were on day one and how far you’ve come already will keep you going.
Other Ways To Track Your Progress
If your resolution is to stop smoking, make a check mark on your calendar for each day you made it without a cigarette. As the checkmarks start to add up, so will your resolve to keep it up. You will be able to physically see the progress as you go. Remember, our brains see progress as a positive thing and therefore we have the urge to keep going and to keep doing better.
If your goal is to pay down credit card debt, or build a financial safety net, keep a running total of your numbers. Being able to record what you did might be just the motivation you need to apply that bonus check instead of spending it on new shoes. By seeing the bigger picture when measuring your progress you increase your motivation. That motivation may be just what you need to stay on track and reach that goal.
A Final Note
Do you see where I’m going here? It doesn’t matter what your goal is. Keeping track of how you’re doing and how far you’ve come already can be a big motivator to stick to the plan until you reach your goal. By measuring your progress you are seeing the big picture. You have a visual of how hard you have worked and how far you have progressed. Seeing that positive progression forward, in turn, tells our brains to keep going.
And when our brains tell us to keep going because of that positivity, we reach our goals. So set some goals, make a plan, and start measuring your progress! You will thank yourself when that goal is met. And you will have a visual record of your journey along the way.
How do you plan on measuring your progress twoards your goals this year?