Learn here How to track your progress
This is no-brainer - without tracking and reviewing your progress how will you even know that you’re on the track to ultimately getting your desired outcome?
No matter what you are working towards Tracking and Reviewing is of an essence. As you may be getting reviewed at work about your overall performance to understand what is going well, what needs improving and what your next steps are to accomplish. The same applies here.
Before you continue any further, remember, sometimes even the best plans get off the track, so be patient, give yourself a break, don’t be harsh on yourself and reschedule to get back on track as soon as you can.
The life happens and unpredictable stuff pop out, family/ work emergency, you get sick, new commitments pop out, a few weeks turns into months, even years.
In this article I want to give you tips on how to track your progress, what are the benefits and I also want to give you questions you can use to do so.
However, if you struggle with following though with goal, task, project, I’d strongly recommend you read my article How to follow through on any project.
“one extra percent of effort separates the good from great”
Let me first explain why you should track your progress
The science behind tracking and measuring your personal goals suggests that consistent reviewing improves a well-being, satisfaction and happiness = You’ll feel happy and satisfied as the result of making progress towards your goals.
What you also want to have is GROWTH goal (looking to achieve something) as oppose to having AVOIDANCE goal (looking to maintain current state or avoiding a negative change).
The research suggests that tracking and measuring = positive emotional effect. You also want to be consistent like sunday’s are good days for review as the new week is ahead of you.
“they report self-monitoring their behaviour and performance goals more often. High performers don’t just know that they have high standards and want to excel; they check in several times throughout their day to see whether they are living up to those standards. It’s this self-monitoring that helps them get ahead.”
He goes on to explain that low performers on the other hand are oblivious to their own performance and lack awareness.
Research also shows that people who set goals and monitor their progress are almost 3 times more likely to attain the outcome they desire.
There are going to be days when you won’t feel satisfied with your progress. This is part of the process. Understanding that will help you redirect and get back on track. Just think about it. Without reviewing your progress, you’d easily may end up strayed and you won’t even know it until it’s a little too late.
Have you even put on weight? Drastically? Dinner after dinner, you adding on grams without realising until a couple of months later when you’re putting on your favourite dress, you realise it does not fit you any longer.
With weekly weight check, you could have easily stop this.
I appreciate this is simple example, but you get my point here, right.
In the article I recently read by Jane Porter, freelance writer: she compared the goal attaining to marathon running which I thought could not be described better:
“Even the least seasoned of runners knows that the key to making it through a marathon is pacing yourself: not pushing too hard or too fast and exhausting yours energy while also not backing down when it gets tough.”
Marathon running is what you want to keep in your mind when attempting to accomplish anything. Keep focusing on the pace (small achievable goals) and keep pushing and going forward (reviewing your progress) until eventually you get to finishing line.
Reviewing your goals goes hand in hand with Growth mindset. If you’re not familiar with growth mindset, then you’ve got to check the number one book I have on my must-do-reading list. Growth mindset means you are open to adjusting your approach and understanding that setbacks and failures are not permanent. They are the stepping stones on your journey. They are not labels to wear for the rest of your life. Instead, you look at them as learning curves. Well this is not the actual definition of growth mindset but it is what I understand growth mindset to be. Read to book and learn more.
And when going gets tough, remember the consequences of not taking action. What will it mean for you and for your overall goal?
“You can make very, very small changes that are consistent with your big goals without having to understand how you’re going to get to the endgame” Kelly McGonical
Anticipate you’re likely to get off the track. Goal achieving is longer process not matter of week or two.
Before you continue reading, have a read-through my blog The benefits and pitfalls of SMART goals. It’s crucial you know how to set goals before we go any further.
So you have got a goal, outcome you work towards. Now you know why tracking your progress is important and must if you want to accomplish what you set out to accomplish.
So how do you track your progress?
We don’t have to make self-monitoring, reviewing or tracking our progress complicated and difficult. This does not even need to be time consuming. You need 10 minutes a week. That’s all.
The review does not have to be anything fancy. Consider journalling or using a few good insightful questions. In this section, I am going to include questions and points you want to ask yourself and check with yourself around the desired outcome you want to accomplish.
⁃ decide how often daily, weekly, monthly - i’d recommend weekly, daily could be too pressuring and monthly gives you too much room for straying
⁃ consider size of the goal
⁃ decide on specific time for review - schedule it
⁃ example Every Thursday Morning at 9:00
⁃ 17:00 on Wednesdays
⁃ Sunday after lunch
• Out of the actions you have set out to accomplish this week, which ones were completed successfully?
• Which tasks/actions were not carried out?
• Still reviewing the tasks which were not completed, what stopped you from taking action or what stopped you from completing task fully?
• How do you feel about your progress?
Use some of these questions, depending on which are the best fit for you
How will your goal fit in with your other commitments?
How much time each day do you need to allocate to working towards this goal?
Is this clearly blocked off in your calendar? What time specifically will you take action?
Be specific about when will you take action?
Which day would be the best?
How will you do it?
How long do you think this action will take you?
Can you identify time-scale?
How do you usually remember to do thing at the times you want to? How will you remember to do it, at this time?
How realistic are the time frames?
What could stop you from taking the action? What can you do now to plan for obstacles?
What do you need to make this happen?
What support do you need?
Who else needs to know about this plan?
What will help you keep up your motivation?
What are benefits for you if you take this action towards achieving your goal?
What are you planning to do to celebrate your success?
What else will open up for you once you achieve your overall outcome?
What being on track would mean to you?
How will you get back on track?
What will you be doing that tells you things are going well?
What unhelpful habits that might creep in to indicate that all is not going well?
Have you got any better ways of staying on track? Let me know in the comments below.