There’s a common saying that can be applied to pretty much any field, whether business, public health, or self improvement:
“What gets measured gets done.”
A few days ago millions of people set New Year’s resolutions. For more than 90% of them, they will go unrealized, becoming looming reminders of what could’ve been.
So, what’s the ticket to being in that elusive 10%? How can I maximize the chances I’ll be successful in achieving my goals?
Let’s return to that saying.
There are 3 important aspects to it.
- Measurement implies metrics. There’s no way to know if you’ve met your goal unless there’s some concrete way to quantify it.
- Metrics imply the need for some tracking system, a way to regularly collect data (however simple it may be) on your progress.
- Metrics and tracking also imply there is some goal or aim by which you’re assessing your progress towards. You need to know where you’re going. And goals only become real once they transcend your brain and onto a piece of paper, white board, app, or whatever medium you choose to use to write it down.
Not too long ago I came across an app that incorporates all of these. I decided to give it a shot for my own resolutions for 2016.
It’s called “Way of Life.” How it works is pretty simple. (Disclosure: I have zero affiliation with this app/company. I just really like it.)
- Download the app.
- Type in any goal or choose from the existing list. In the free version you can track up to 3 goals (for a small fee you can track unlimited variables). For me, three is plenty sufficient. When you try and change too many variables all at once, it can end up being a recipe for frustration, feeling overwhelmed and burnout. That’s exactly what we don’t want. So, keep it simple – three is challenging enough. And keep them attainable. If you’ve never stepped foot in a gym in the past year, and your goal for 2016 is to “get back in shape,” don’t start by trying to go five days a week. Maybe start with one or two days a week. You can always build from there.
- When you start tracking, tap on the current day of the week, the app will ask a simple Yes/No question. Did you complete this goal today? If yes, the box for that day of the week turns green. If no, it turns red. For example, I set 3 goals at the beginning of the year: 1) perform functional exercises every morning (to address the weaknesses I’ve developed from driving more for work; 2) meditate daily; and 3) journal. The 2nd and 3rd are things I’ve done in the past and wanted to get back into again. For today, I will go into the app, tap the box under Tuesday and answer “Yes” for all 3 goals.
- Remind yourself. Depending on your preferences, you can set a reminder for any time of the day. The app will then send you an alert at this time to remind you about your goals. I have mine set for 9pm. I journal in the morning and evening, and it’s the evening part that I always fall short on. So, the app cues me to do it before bed.
- Assess trends. Over time, you can look at trends right in the app. Where are you on track? Where are you struggling? The color-coding is helpful in providing a really quick snapshot. Is your graph mostly red or green?
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Achieving goals doesn’t need to be complicated. Make them attainable (small steps, it’s all about small steps), and then set up the right systems to hold yourself accountable.