This is an important conversation of me to have with you, if you have ever given up on yourself for not getting the results you want.
There is little point in setting a goal if you never know whether or not you will achieve it.
That’s where the saying “what gets measured gets done” comes from.
I know this topic well. Around 95% of the clients I’ve seen in the last 10 years of coaching have come to me for this specific reason – because they say they have tried everything and failed and they have lost confidence in themselves. They want my help to succeed.
To succeed in anything you need to do a few things.
You need to define a very specific outcome.
You need to articulate the specific steps you will take to get there.
You need to measure your actions compared with the result you want –
You need to persist for long enough to see if you are taking the right actions.
You need to be prepared to fail, and to tweak what you are doing.
And you need to be agile enough to get back on the horse, change your approach, and try again.
Measuring your habits and actions are just as important as measuring the result.
What most people do is measure their results and progress toward them, and that’s it.
But you also need to measure your actions along the way, so you can monitor the ‘How’ part of the equation.
After all, your actions are the things that create your results.
And monitoring them means you can see what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be tweaked and adjusted along the way.
Let’s look at an example.
Think about a weight loss goal of 15kg.
Most people think that the weight is the goal and they measure it relentlessly. I lost 1kg. Now I’ve lost another 1kg. Oh, now I’ve gained a kilo. I’m a failure!
No wonder you get disappointed – measuring weight doesn’t tell you anything about which parts of your approach, your how, your method, is working. So you start losing belief and give up at your apparent failure.
For example you could gain 1kg because you’ve put on muscle at the gym, and muscle is the main fat burning powerhouse in your body. So it’s a good thing to gain muscle mass, it’s the primary vehicle for losing weight.
The thing is that there’s a lag time. You gain muscle first, the a week or two later, the weight sees a rapid drop.
But if you are only measuring weight, then you won’t see any of this. You’ll only see the gain and you will feel like a failure.
Now imagine you are that person trying to lose 15kg. How you would feel if you understood this important point about strength training?
Let’s say you could out your emotions aside and see this fact.
What if you had correlated 1kg weight gain to your first two weeks of sessions at the gym doing a strength training program?
Chances are you’d feel excited because you could see how your actions are creating your results, and you’d want to persist for long enough to see that happen.
That’s why measuring your habits and actions are just as important as measuring the result.
Measuring actions is important for three reasons.
- Measuring actions and habits gives you intrinsic motivation – what YOU are doing is working. You don’t need to rely on someone else for your self belief.
- Measuring actions also gives you a sense of achievement along the way. How important do you think this is for a goal that will take a long time to get a result? Imagine for example, writing a book. It could take a year to do that. But if you were measuring writing 500 words per day, you’d feel motivated and proud of the micro goals you were achieving, knowing that they would take you to the bigger goal.
- Measuring actions allows you to correct your course if you are not getting the incremental results.
Let’s go back to the weight loss example. Depending on your specific body type, there might be 10 different approaches you could take to losing weight.
Perhaps you try two specific things; for example to eat vegetables and protein at 80% of your meals, and weight training four times per week.
For some people this will create weight loss. For others it won’t. So if you are in that second group, and you saw no results in the four weeks following and your body showed no changes, you’d need to tweak the specifics of those two habits, or try something different.
You could only know this if you were tracking those habits to know a/ if you were truly being consistent or not, and b/ whether there were other factors that needed attention, such as portion size, stress or alcohol.
In other words, just because you’re taking action, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the results you want.
Even if the process you’re following is proven, and has worked for somebody else, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you.
You are a unique person with a unique body and mind and personality, so you have to find your own formula for success, for whatever you’re trying to succeed at.
The more specific the action that you are taking, the more likely you are to be able to adjust the habit to succeed in getting the result you want.
Pursuing a goal is highly individualised. If two people want the same result, the way they get there might be entirely different.
That’s why your commitment to measuring and tweaking the process to get the results you want is as important as a measuring your progress to the result at self.
And finally, the more specific the action that you are taking, the more likely you are to be able to adjust the habit to succeed in getting the result you want.
Ready to get the results you want?
You can measure your habits and actions to help you achieve your goals. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.
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