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« First Day! | Main | Feeling Good »
Monday
Sep182006

Getting to Your Goals: Step Four

Have you ever launched out into a major new project and after a few weeks lost interest or motivation?

If so, it may well be that you forgot about Step 4.

Step 4 is monitoring your progress. It’s the dynamic equivalent of Step 2 (Knowing Where You Are). You don’t just need to know where you are when you begin to move towards your goal, you need to know where you are every step of the way.

To use the analogy of reading a map, you find where you want to be on the map, make sure you know where you are, and then move towards the destination, keeping track of your progress on the map. If you don’t keep track of your progress, you are likely to find yourself wandering around in circles.

Most people don’t monitor their progress anything like enough. I mentioned in my article on Step 2 my amazement that some people try to run their business off the half-year balance sheet. To run a successful business, you need to be able to put your fingers on up-to-date key figures all the time. It’s only by keeping track of the figures that you can identify when and where problems or opportunities are beginning to arise.

Whenever you start on a new goal, identify the key things that need to be tracked and decide how you are going to track them. Most of these key things will be numerical. How many hits on my website were there today? How much money have we raised for the Church Tower appeal so far? How many bookings have there been for the seminar? How many press- ups did I do this morning? What percentage has my investment portfolio risen by this year?

These figures mean little by themselves. But they mean a lot when they are shown in the context of the preceding figures, and even more when they are expressed in terms of the target.

Another secret of good monitoring is to present the tracking visually. Graphs make excellent visual tracking devices. So does colouring in squares for simpler projects. The essential thing is to be able to see immediately what your progress is all the time. Putting a chart on the wall and filling it in every day is a great motivator.

Exercise

Try out the motivating power of monitoring your progress for yourself. Select one of your projects which you have been making little progress on so far. Then think to yourself what you could monitor about it. Try and put this in numerical terms and work out how you can express it visually. Put up a chart on your wall or somewhere else you can see it all the time. And make sure you fill it in every day without fail!

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