Continuing with our series on achieving our goals, we are looking at measuring success this week. Why measuring and tracking our progress and success is key to achieving our goals, and how we use these measures to keep ourselves motivated and on track towards our ultimate goals.

Measuring success is something we are probably all involved in regularly, in one way or another in relation to our work lives. We are given targets, we benchmark, we measure improvements in productivity, performance and customer feedback scores.  We review and rate our online purchases. Even getting an Uber these days means that you are rated as a customer! It seems we are all being scored, compared or measured for something.

And why do businesses and organisations measure all these different variables?

To make sure that the business is progressing in the way the Board of Directors or the CEO wants it to.  By tracking all these things they can see when and if they need to make changes in their business processes, to ensure their manufacturing processes are what they should be, to isolate any training needs in staff, influence customer behaviour and most importantly celebrate when things are going in the right direction!

Why should we measure success?

So why should we measure our own success when it comes to our health and fitness?

For pretty much the same reasons as all those high flying businesses and large organisations do. Because if we are trying to achieve something – we need to know if we are on our way to achieving it, needing to put a bit more effort in, change it up a bit, or if we are totally barking up the wrong tree.

There is no point keep doing the same thing over and over again, if it isn’t getting us to where we want to be.  So by measuring our progress and success, we can judge whether we need to make some tweaks to our plan or give it a complete overhaul, to get you back on track.

Confidence Boost

When we learn that we are moving in the right direction, it gives us a boost in self confidence and self belief. This in turn increases our motivation.

When we are motivated we are driven to continue with whatever it is that we are trying to achieve.

When we we can see that our goal is in reach, because we can see our progress, we start to believe that this time, it really will happen for us.

When we start achieving we develop a greater sense of personal fulfilment and happiness. We start to feel more comfortable in our own skin.  We become the person that we want to be. We become the person that other people want to be like, and come to for help and guidance.  We become braver, feeling able to take on new challenges, without fear of failure.

How do we do it?

Measuring our success and progress towards our goal should be built into our plan.

We discussed plans last week, and you will remember in the examples I gave, with each of them, you could measure your success.

Example weight loss plan:

  1. I will eat to my calorie allowance of 1300 calories every day without fail, by tracking the calories consumed exactly in my Check It Before You Wreck It book.
  2. My breakfast will be 260 calories, my lunch will be 390 calories, my evening meal will be 390 calories and my total snacks will be 260 calories.
  3. I will put all my energy into making sure I hit my calorie allowance. 
  4. I will get weighed every week at Be Strong, to make sure I am on track.

Point number 4 is the clear way of measuring success. But there are also other measures in this plan, that aren’t as obvious.

If you are doing points 1 and 2 every day, at the end of the day you have stuck to your calories and written absolutely everything down, you can give yourself a little high five on your way to bed!

Then once a week, when you stride up to those scales (confident that you have lost), you will know that you are winning when the scales tell you that you have lost 2 pounds since the last time you got on them.

You will jump off those scales in elation, and you will be high-fiving yourself, and your friends, and wanting to tell everyone how well you are doing.  You will also know that by hitting that 2lb a week target you are absolutely on track to hit your overall goal.

This is what will give you the motivation to keep going for another week, and another and another, until you hit that 2 stone weight loss by 20th December, and rock up to your Christmas Party feeling like a million dollars!

We also looked at a plan that involved training for an event last week.

Example Woodland Warrior training plan

  1. I will walk 2 nights a week and one day at weekend – Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
    Week Commencing Tuesday 7pm Thursday 7pm Sunday 9am
    9th September 2 miles 2 miles 3 miles
    16th September 2 miles 2 miles 4 miles
    23rd September 3 miles 3 miles 4 miles
    30th September 3 miles 3 miles 5 miles
    7th October 3 miles 3 miles 6 miles
    14th October 3 miles 3 miles EVENT DAY

    My routes will include woodland trails and hills. 

  2. I will attend 2 Be Strong sessions and take part in the HIIT session each week – Wednesday (6pm) and Saturday (9am)
  3. I will fuel my body like an athlete. Eating 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day, lean meats and fish, and complex carbs like pasta and rice.  I will hydrate with water, and keep a check on my calorie intake. 
Whilst there isn’t a physical measurement of progress, there are still measures of your success.
This training program could be transferred in to a table or calendar with all the training sessions marked on.
W/C Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
9th Sept Rest 2 miles Be Strong 2 miles Rest Be Strong 3 miles
16th Sept Rest 2 miles Be Strong 2 miles Rest Be Strong 4 miles
23rd Sept Rest 3 miles Be Strong 3 miles Rest Be Strong 4 miles
30th Sept Rest 3 miles Be Strong 3 miles Rest Be Strong 5 miles
7th Oct Rest 3 miles Be Strong 3 miles Rest Be Strong 6 miles
14th Oct Rest 3 miles Be Strong 3 miles Rest Be Strong EVENT
Then, once you have completed each training session, tick it off. You will get a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that you have done what is required of you to get you to where you want to be.  You will know that you are succeeding.
You will approach the start line of your event with confidence that you are going to enjoy every minute of it and complete the challenge ahead.

Other measures

If your plan doesn’t relate to either of these things, there are other ways of measuring your success, and no doubt you will come up with your own.

Here are a few examples:

  • progress photos
  • measuring waist, chest etc
  • clothes sizes
  • timing how long you can do something for without stopping or getting breathless
  • measuring how heavy an item or weight that you can lift
  • if you have fancy weighing scales – your body composition
  • reduction in blood pressure
  • changes to blood sugar (pre-diabetes/diabetes)
  • lowering of your resting pulse rate

If you have any other ideas, please comment below, we love to hear what you guys are doing.

Use the data!

Measuring our success along the way is really important for keeping our motivation levels high, as we have already said. If we know that we are being successful, it builds our self-belief and self confidence, our mindset becomes more positive and most importantly, it spurs us on to keep going.  That is why, it is so important to have the mini goals to celebrate at regular intervals. Use the information that you are gathering about your progress along the way to give yourself something to celebrate, shout about and tell the world how great you are doing! 

Along the way we also need to reflect on how we are performing, and whether the plan is getting you to where you want to be.  By measuring  success each day or week, this is easy to keep on top of.  If we aren’t getting the results we expect, or we aren’t ticking things off our plan or schedule as we should be, we need to spend a little time reflecting, and then work out if we are really sticking to the plan, the reasons for us not doing, or whether the plan needs to change slightly.

Are you actually following the plan? If you aren’t, why not? Are you giving it your best shot? What is getting in the way? Is there a way to manage this?  

If you are following the plan – why is it not working? Have you employed the right method? Do some tweaks need to be made to get you back on track?

Once we have worked out what the problem is we can either amend the plan, or get more focused and get back on track.

We should reflect regularly to make sure we are hitting our goals, and heading in the right direction. If  the plan isn’t right, and you don’t know where to make the changes, ask for help. We love it when people contact us, so don’t be frightened of doing so. Don’t just keep heading down the wrong path, or spit your dummy out and give up. Because you wanted this remember?! You spent time devising this goal and this plan, to get you what you want. So don’t waste all that time and effort, just review and revise the plan, then get back on track.  Because if you don’t you will be back here in a few months time starting all over again. 

This Week!

Look at your plans from last week, and make sure you have got those checks and balances in place to allow you to effectively measure your success. Then measure! Don’t be frightened of doing so. Don’t be frightened of acknowledging that you are doing well, or even not doing well. Because each time you measure your success it is an opportunity to take you closer to your ultimate goal!

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