When you created your SMART goal, you’d already figured out what you’re going to measure–pounds, sense of ease in your body, hours of sleep, times you stay calm with your kids. Now you need to decide how often you should measure and a way to track your measurements. Because change happens in small increments, unless you track yourself, you can’t see the improvements you may actually be making. This is particularly true in situations when the measurements are internal–feeling more confident or less worried, for instance.
Your tracking system can be extremely simple. If it’s something you’ve committed to do daily, like taking time to be thankful at the end of the day, all you need is a chart that has the days down one side. Simply put a check mark next to the days you keep your commitment to yourself. If it’s a once a week task–let’s say cleaning your desk every Friday, you can put a check mark on a calendar so you can keep track. If it’s going from a -4 to a +4 when thinking about flying, you need to write down your number every time you get ready for a trip. You can also keep a diary; journal keepers, say researchers, achieve their goals faster than others.
Don’t move forward until you figure out a tracking system. Otherwise, you’ll either be discouraged because you don’t experience enough progress or underestimate how far you’ve come. People who don’t track don’t do as well as those who do. It’s as simple as that. Trackers do better not only because they can measure success, but because they can mine the data they collect to point them in more successful directions.
To try: Create your tracking system and start tracking!
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In this monthlong learning series, M.J. Ryan, author of the best-selling book This Year I Will…: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True, will take you through four steps, each lasting one week, to help you figure out what your most important intentions are and give you the tools to make each a reality. Just joining the learning series? Go here to start at the beginning. Intent.com provides content and community for who you aspire to be–personally, socially and globally.