At the end of each year, I take time to reflect on the progress over the previous months; contemplating, and writing, at least 100 ways in which my life, and the life of my family, moved forward. Taking stock of improvement is a catalyst in how the year is gauged in each of the key areas of my life – health, relationships, and money. It not only allows me to be subjective, it helps me improve for the following year.
Measuring progress is a process many achievers follow and it is a powerful one for you to adopt as well. How will we ever achieve our goals if we cannot first acknowledge where we are at and how far we have come?
My husband, and I, have an acquaintance that is a high achiever. A former CEO, and co-founder of a massive franchise chain and who is now starting a new franchise. At the beginning of the year, this individual sets goals in each of the key areas of his life, summarizes on one sheet of paper, laminates it, and keeps it at the forefront to ensure he does not get off task. At the end of each year, he quantifies his results against the goals he has set for himself and gives himself a score on a scale from one to ten. He generally achieves approximately 80% of what he sets out to do.
Measuring our progress is essential, not only as an analytic, but also as a means to our own fulfillment. Tony Robbins says that our happiness lies in progress. In other words, we do not feel joy unless we are making headway. Personally, I feel that we can feel happy just being however even my friends who are yogis and practitioners of deep forms of meditation are always seeking ways to improve whether it is mastering a handstand or staying in a meditative state for longer periods of time, they are constantly measuring their progress, tending to feel greater satisfaction as they enhance their personal mastery.
If progress can determine how happy we are, does it also predict other success with other goals such as saving money and weight loss? In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, and written about on Phys.Org, consumers who considered current choices in purchasing against their future goals tended to make smarter, savings conscious decisions versus those who did not. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that people keeping a food diary released double the weight of those that did not. Ultimately, when we contemplate our actions, even the small ones, we are more likely to achieve our desired result.
In my course, Organize Your Life, I have found that students who post their photos of progress in our private group have more long-term success than those who do not. Furthermore, those that do the homework, and quantify their progress, are much more likely to experience the ancillary benefits of the program such as work-life balance, better relationships, increased productivity, and much more.
Measuring our progress is key to achievement and this measurement does not have to occur in quantum leaps, it generally occurs in small, tangible, amounts. When I set goals for myself, I break them down into smaller goals. This allows me to measure my progress in yards and not necessarily miles.
An example of a progress goal that I had for myself this past year was to create a certain number of my podcast show – The Susan Sly Project. Instead of writing that number, I wrote the goals like this, ‘I create one great new podcast, I create two great new podcasts, and so forth.’ This allowed me to check those goals off, and feel satisfied knowing I was inching my way forward. Although some may argue that we must take massive action, I have found in my years of teaching personal empowerment, that those who set massive goals, without breaking them down into smaller goals, rarely achieve them.
As we close the year, I encourage you to take time to journal on your progress regardless of the size. When we feel as though we have accomplished something, we are more likely to want to accomplish more in that category of our lives. Furthermore, the well known quote, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,’ counsels us to measure our progress, and our goals, in small increments as eventually all of those seemingly miniscule movements forward will appear to some to be our quantum leaps.