Often, it’s hard to see slow progress. Measuring change and recording it to review later can help you see that you are actually making progress and will reach your goal if you keep going. Without concrete measurements, you might not realize you’re truly getting somewhere. Every baby step is progress. Let’s look at the value of measuring your progress along the way, how you can do that and why it works.
When it comes to goals, measurement is any method that identifies progress or lack thereof. Therefore, it makes sense that your units or ways will vary depending upon your specific pursuit. How often you note your progress will also be tied to the specific goal at hand. Some things will be best measured sporadically, as progress is expected to come slowly. Others can be examined on a more regular basis, such as weekly, because the change is more noticeable. It’s important to get a handle on the general type of measurements you’ll want to take.
Measuring your goal lets you see whether you’ve made a dent, are at a standstill or have fallen behind. This information is useful in helping you to make or adjust a plan of action for getting on track. Your measurements act as your guide toward reaching your goal. They give you a realistic “big picture” as to how you’re doing along the way. Without any type of progress indicator, you may find yourself lost in overwhelm or thinking you’re doing better than you are. Both of these scenarios can lead to disappointment and failed goals.
How to Measure Progress
Let’s look at just a few ways you may wish to measure your goal’s progress.
As noted earlier, each goal will have a different unit and method of measurement. Deciding upon these isn’t necessarily difficult, but it is important to give the matter some thought ahead of time.
When possible, it’s good to use quantitative measurement of some kind. This is the type of figure that is concrete and not left to interpretation. Sometimes you can measure by task or plan. Do this by setting up a daily, weekly or monthly activity list for tasks you need to complete in order to reach your goal. Check off each activity as it’s done, and you can easily see if you’re on track.
Other record keeping methods are good, too, for certain types of goals. Beyond tracking pounds lost or dollars saved, you might also wish to record observations. If you’re working toward having a more positive attitude each day, keeping a diary or journal is useful in viewing your progress regarding such abstract concepts.
I hope these suggestions have given you some food for thought and that you now understand the benefits of measurement in goal setting and are feeling more confident in the process.