In many cases, setting a goal is easier than actually reaching that goal (or even creating a path to reach the goal, for that matter!). For many, the first step of reaching a goal is often the most challenging. Even if your goal is really something that you want, sometimes it’s still difficult to achieve, particularly when our goal isn’t realistic in the first place.
When setting goals, whether it is to save money, find your healthiest weight, or start a new hobby, it is very important to take inventory of these goals along the way. This creates a way to hold yourself accountable for the progress (or lack of progress) you are making. Make sure to write down or document your starting point to help fuel your journey toward accomplishing your goal.
Being able to accurately and effectively measure progress is a powerful motivator and these “check-ins” make it possible to see if you are falling behind before it is too late.
Here are a few ways to measure your progress, so you can find a way to track the actions that best work for you and your goals.
Look at the Numbers
Taking stock of goals using numbers is an easy and effective way for many people. If you have set goals to save money or lose weight; this is the easiest method, since those stats are already number-centric. Track the amount saved if you are saving money and if you are losing weight, track the pounds or inches you’ve lost. You can also keep track of other contributing factors of success, or setback. Did you lose your most weight or save more money when you stayed in and cooked every night of the week? Did you end up spending more than you planned when you went out to dinner for multiple social events? You can compare these factors to tweak your strategies and set yourself up for greater success.
Set a Date
Breaking down your goal into subcategories is a great way to keep your goals on track. Let’s say you want to lose fifty pounds over a year; then, you would need to lose about 4.5 pounds per month, consistently. At the end of each month, you have either met your goal, or not, and therefore, know whether you need to alter your course to reach your long term goal.
Keep a Record
There may be a goal that you cannot measure with numbers, like building your confidence. For goals like this, it is probably easier to use a 1-5, or 1-10 scale to rate your progress. You can even plot your progress as you move along the scale. Use varying situations so rate yourself on the scale and you can even compare your current actions to your previous actions (or the way you would have handled something in the past) to track improvement. The most important part is actually paying attention and making note of your actions and changes so that you have something tangible to go off of.
Measuring and taking inventory of your goals is a great way to move in the right direction. Try accomplishing one activity toward your goal every day and slowly your positive changes will begin to become habits. What progress have you made toward your goal so far?