You may have caught a glimpse in my last post of my love for sports. I absolutely LOVE them! The camaraderie amongst the athletes is one thing, but its the comaraderie between the fans that really gets me. People love to feel a part of something, and sports allows that option to anyone.
There are so many strong personal development topics I could write about in reference to sports and I’m sure I will get to them each in time, but today’s progress is about TRACKING. To get to your goal you must not only learn how to track your progress, you must learn to love it. Tracking needs to become an essential part of who you are in reference to your goal.
I first learned the importance of tracking from my Mom several years ago when I was in my first Network Marketing company. We tracked EVERYTHING. We used the results of that tracking to motivate ourselves, motivate our team and (unfortunately) to eventually know when it was time to go. Feelings and emotions may vary from day to day. What won’t vary and will never lie to you is numbers. THAT is why tracking is so important.
The importance of tracking was difficult for me to grasp initially because I honestly do not enjoy working with numbers. That’s probably an understatement — I despise working with numbers. Give me English and History over Math and Science any day of the week. Even I cannot deny the power of tracking though, so I have learned to love it and recognize the vital role it plays in my business success and in the success of any other goal I set for myself.
What does tracking your progress actually accomplish? For me, it allows me to see measurable progress over a period of time even when I cannot see it day-to-day. When you think back on consistent action and the power of The Slight Edge in each of our lives this makes perfect sense. Consistent action over time is rarely seen in the moment. It’s just like a newborn baby — their growth from day-to-day is hardly noticeable until all of a sudden that newborn onesie isn’t buttoning up anymore! To the parents, who see the baby day in and day out, they know their child is growing daily but they don’t see it. The growth is very obvious to a friend or relative who only comes to visit once a month, but if the parents were to take out a tape measure each morning they would find that their child really is growing every single day… maybe just a fraction of a fraction of an inch, but those fractions add up and eventually lead to noticeable growth!
The same principle applies in any area of your life. Diet works the same way — you may not notice the daily changes if you only get on a scale once every week or two, but if you get on the scale daily you will see that each day you are making a little more progress on your goal.
Tracking can lift you up when you are feeling discouraged and also show you when you need to work harder. It can be a great motivator — no one wants to see their lack of progress on paper! You may feel that you aren’t making enough progress toward your goal but see by the numbers that you really are. On the flip side, your tracking may show you that you are exactly right and your plan of action needs to be reviewed and altered. Without tracking we all tend to plod along just going through the motions without any real regard of their effectiveness. Tracking takes the guess work out. Like I said, the numbers don’t lie!
Today I began a new tracking chart of my own to keep up with the improvement of my migraine headaches. I have no real memory of an entire month without a migraine — they are something I have dealt with since I was very young and still struggle to control. Yesterday I went back to my doctor and received an IV of magnesium to treat the headache I had, and he also prescribed me a new combination of medications and supplements to work on lowering the frequency and severity of the headaches. I have tried medications before with no success, but am feeling very confidant about this new plan.
I scheduled a follow-up appointment for 8 weeks away, and decided to keep track of my progress with a chart I created in Excel. I am charting the # of days I have been on my medication, whether or not I had a headache that day and any other relevant comments I may have (i.e.: Side effects, major changes in routine, etc). I will now have documentation for both myself and my doctor as to how this new regimen is working. This will allow us to discuss it at my next appointment and make any necessary changes we may need for improvement.
I know that on days I get a headache I will feel discouraged and doubt the effectiveness of the path I am on. I also know that if I go weeks without a headache I may begin to take the medication for granted and not realize how effective it is actually being. Tracking will aleviate both of those problems. My feelings my lie, but the numbers won’t.
I want to encourage you today to create a tracking chart in line with one of your current goals. It does not need to be elaborate or complicated. Print it out and keep it in front of you every day. Set an alarm on your phone if you need to so you will be reminded to track EVERY DAY. Track your progress for 90 days. When the 90 days are up, you can review your plan and measure its effectiveness. You will then be fully equipped to make the changes you need to in order to get yourself closer to your goal!
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