I came, I measured my progress, I conquered
You do remember the physical education classes at school, right? There were different test scores like the long jump, for example. The teacher was instructing us two things. First, that if we wanted to jump 20 feet then we should aim at least a little bit above the “20 feet” mark on the ground. The other piece of advice was to actually visualize doing it first and to do so in the smallest possible detail. It is crucial to imagine this future moment when you hit the target successfully.
After each try, the coach first wrote it down in his notebook and then talked to the student about that and the following attempts. The purpose of this analysis was to give directions on how to get it done better next time. Because you can improve only what you have measured.
There were always those kids who could leap like a lion and those who would barely hop out just a few yards from the takeoff board. We were all aware who could jump and who couldn’t. And these labels stuck the same way as their performance in PE classes stayed without much change throughout all the school years. There are very few things that have a greater effect on your wins and fails as your own self-image.
The topic of this article is about how goal measurement is useful as a record of your success stories and, more importantly, as the driving force of confidence.
In “Goal Buddy” we rely on the long-term vision for life plus the 90-day goals to bring us closer to it, and the specific small weekly steps.
Just like objectives are well defined only when committed to our own actions rather than to the outcome alone, the same applies to their assessment. At the end of each period for a given goal, you are evaluating what you’ve done to achieve it. Then you decide if the strategy has worked out or you have to do things differently.
Why is it essential
So far we addressed the most obvious answer to the question “Why do it in the first place?” The matter here is a bit more complicated than the simple “green check” if you’ve succeeded or “red x” if you haven’t. In fact, there could be some psychological aspects to it all.
Going deeper into the subject one can dig out this little-known but quite a piece of insight.
Measurement is important because it gives you an idea of how to build a better self-image.
What does it mean? While working through your endeavors, i.e. overcoming difficulties, taking on challenges, etc., you also constantly draw a picture of yourself. It could be a good one or not so flattering, in any case, it is a sure bet on you winning or losing.
The inner mirror
Think how the image in the looking glass rules over your self-esteem, mood and attitude. It pretty much tells you how to perceive yourself – as athletic or full-figured, tall or short, beautiful or not so handsome.
Except that it is far less consequential than the one in your head. This inner mirror holds the view of the person that you are being in light of your potential and abilities to succeed or not.
They say you become what you think of yourself. The subconscious mechanism behind it could be described like this. First, you have some idea about yourself. Then you act accordingly. This affects what others think of you. Naturally, their attitude reflects back on you and thus, by closing the loop, the original image is reinforced. Ultimately it all depends on your self-perception. This could be of great help and at the same time it can also completely sabotage anything you ever try to do.
“It’s the attitude, stupid!”
You must know those people and how naturally things just happen for them. Like couples who have effortlessly lived in harmony for years or those lucky ones who are in perfect shape without being fitness maniacs.
What’s the secret? It’s the attitude. Those who believe to be good at something are more likely to actually be so.
The vice versa is true as well. Let’s say, for illustration purposes only, that you think you are too cautious or not of the brave ones. Then it’s unlikely we’ll see you paragliding. When you claim all your life that you are not into exercise and gyms nobody will expect of you to get into shape. Nobody, and that’s including and especially you. One’s own opinion turns into a “limiting belief”, first as a label that you alone tag yourself with and then it becomes a shackle.
Limiting believes are robbing you of success…
The coin always has two sides – the act of measuring progress affects your self-image which, in turn, affects the way you execute the act itself.
Suppose that you are about to embark on something you’ve never done before. It’s going to be hard and greatly rewarding. You try it once, it doesn’t happen; you try it again, no luck either; and so forth. The series of failures, along with the doubt inside will slowly and inevitably bring you down. As a result, you lower your expectations and you also invite confirmation from others that things actually are good enough after all.
… and they are a drag even when you are on a roll
It is counter intuitive and actually worse when that skepticism works against you even when things are going your way. What’s best for you is always outside of your comfort zone and if you allow the limiting beliefs to come there with you they will most certainly do so. And it won’t be for good.
When you lose 30 pounds after some inhumane effort there is always the danger of looking at the scales through the same glasses you are so used to for judging yourself. “It can’t be me!” is the disbelief that will trick you in regaining your old (plus 30lbs) self.
Your limiting believes are counterproductive regardless if you fail or succeed.
What can you do?
Work on your image
Most people who don’t do this also fail to achieve their goals. A well-known phenomenon is at play here, the change on the outside begins with the one from within.
The key psychological moment is to do something about your self-perception. And this is best done by measuring your progress. It helps you “update” the idea of yourself.
Your long-term goals are usually outdoing your self-image.
So, you have to make it bigger and stronger. Shoulders back and chin up! Have faith in yourself! And tear up those labels of yours! However, you must also wisely choose the moment of taking stock.
When to measure – before or after the objective is reached?
The answer is: both.
Before, it is important to imagine as if it is already done. You see it, you believe it. This visualization will help you feel like a winner, and this goes hand-in-glove with courage.
After (irrespective of the outcome), your idea of yourself may either go up and high or, on the contrary, crash down in flames because you’ve been just served a piece of reality about yourself. That’s why it is good to have the right attitude. Start by not calling it a “screw-up”!
There is no such thing as failure – only a lesson
Find a way to accept and then treat your downfalls as lessons learned. Examine what stopped you, or was amiss, or not enough to get you over. There is no need to seek far away and outside of you for excuses. In any case, don’t be too harsh on yourself either. If you get yourself together you will get the most value out of the whole thing and thus make it a lesson learned.
So, again, we come to the initial and fundamental question – why measuring your goals will help you realize them.
Confidence and measuring success
We’ve said it before, a good performance analysis will reveal which approaches have been helpful enough so that be further followed and which need to be redesigned. Being fully aware of what and why you are making something happen is the one sure way to keep going on and with much self-confident no less.
The true rationale behind the idea of measurement is to generate confidence out of success so that you can re-apply it next time.
When to do it?
Obviously, you can’t put a yardstick on your long-term vision which is like a story without end. You are not even supposed to try that. What’s expected of you is to have the vision as your guiding light.
It’s quite a different deal when it comes to the types of objectives in our system, the 90-day action goals, and the weekly steps. They can and should be evaluated on a regular basis.
For each quarterly period, you have a target which is meant to get you closer to your vision. Each of these requires a set of specific steps. And when you plan to do something then conviction in success is a must. Whatever happens after the finish line it is vital to simply turn back for a moment and appreciate the distance already covered. That’s how you master being self-assertive and determined.
A positive affirmation is gained when you set your sight on the past progress rather than on the enormous task ahead. You deserve to congratulate yourself but be thankful as well. Keep reminding yourself, “I am better off now”. You do all of that and then you can go on with more certainty, bigger chances and with a smile no less.
It is imperative that you meet with your goal buddy every 90 days. When should-to-shoulder the two of you will be able to separate the external factors from the true driving forces. This teamwork is a conscious endeavor which enhances the process of measurement. Only an honest look at things will provide the opening to make them better.
Sure enough, the concrete actions, i.e. the small weekly steps, are the engine. As such, there is no way for us to overstate how important is to assess them in a timely manner. And on top of that, it is such a common mistake when we skip on doing this.
Just sit down at the end of the week and review what’s been done. Then plan what’s next. Again, search inside yourself to find out how you can avoid future missteps. You do that and your Buddy will help you by asking the right questions.
For years now we’ve been becoming the better versions of ourselves every single week by simply having more and more faith in what we do. The trick is to make small, and sometimes even a little bit funny, weekly steps which become at end small wins. It will be great if these also release a full stream of future opportunities.
No one is immune to a mishap or two – it simply “happens to the best, happens to the rest”. And yet this can’t be a legitimate reason to feel bad about it. Remember: “Do what you have to do and the hell with it all”.
What do you do in order to measure?
Just doing it has little merit on its own if you don’t keep a track of it and if you don’t record the “story”. It’s the collection of data on which to mine later. But be careful not to turn this into some paperwork drudgery. Do it instead in a simple, clear and orderly way so that it doesn’t lose its value. Do also make it a habit and then you will see the remarkable power of it.
And you will get exactly what you’ve bargained for, not only a vision that reaches all the way up to the horizon but also the means to look back and fully realize how far you got. The latter, it turns out, is as motivational as the vision itself.
A daily dosage of confidence
You can try out this favorite routine of ours. It is called a “positive focus” – every night, before bed, you write down all of your achievements for the day, even the smallest. We have noticed that when these aren’t put in “black and white” one tends to forget about them. And why not use even the tiniest victory to feel like a big time winner?
I am only happy when on the road
Someone had said that “it’s about the journey, not the destination”. We would paraphrase this, if we may, and claim that happiness isn’t in the success per se but in the good feeling of creating an increasingly positive self-image.
The feeling of satisfaction and joy comes out of the struggle to reach the goal rather than the actual act of achievement.
Not every win requires your blood and sweat. Make sure you can rejoice in life. Have fun while climbing up to the summit and then onto the next one too because there is always a next one. Just like life goes on no matter what you have no other choice except to join it and conquer your next mountaintop.
Therefore, the very first thing about measuring goals is what it does for your self-esteem. It can ruin you, it can make you. It’s all up to you.
Follow our other topics on the website because they are getting more exciting with each new one. See you soon!