If you aren't tracking your progress, how do you know if you are making any?
So we all know that habits are important, but how often do we take time to reflect on our habits to make sure they are good ones? Someone once told me that everyone at the Olympics has the same goal... to take home the gold. However, its the person who has the best habits... practice habits, exercise habits, health habits, etc, that actually wins! I think this concept does a great job of showing just how important habits are to our goals!
One of the great ways to form new habits is by tracking them! There are many ways to track your habits. If you would like to see how we do it in the GoalCrazy Planner, check out the video below.
There are TONS of benefits from tracking your goals, but here are 8 of our favorites:
1. Continuous movement towards your goals
One of my mentors has always told me, "your successful behaviors will lead to your successes." Your habits should be "successful behaviors" that are moving you in the direction of your goals. For me, when I set a new goal, the first thing I ask myself is, what are the successful behaviors I need to start doing to do there? I try to connect my goal to the habits that will create it. For example, when I was selling cars, my goal was to sell "x" amount of cars. I would then break that down into how many prospecting calls I needed to make each day. Obviously, I would have loved to sell a car everyday... however, that was not always in my control. I COULD control though, how many prospecting calls I made... and by making more prospecting calls, I would get more sales.
So what are the habits and behavior that you can be doing every day that will move you closer towards your goals? They don't have to be challenging behaviors like making prospecting calls. What could you start doing every day for 10 minutes that will get you closer to your goals?
2. Remove bad habits
Identifying and removing bad habits is difficult. Since habits get easier with repetition, the longer we have a bad habit, the more difficult it is to stop it. The same mentor I discussed earlier has also reminds me, "your unsuccessful behaviors will lead to your failures." So what are some of the habits you have now that are moving you away from your goals?
One of the best ways to eliminate a bad habit, it to replace it with a new one! The first step to do this is identifying your unsuccessful behavior as a bad habit. Simply writing it down as a bad habit will help to raise your awareness of when you are doing it. By tracking your progress on your new habit, you will give yourself away to hold yourself accountable on whether you did the new behavior or bad one! Without tracking your progress, you are simply leaving it up to chance... and since it is so difficult to eliminate a bad habit, it is very unlikely it will coincidentally happen. Don't leave it up to chance, track your habits!
3. Hold yourself accountable
We typically know which habits of ours our good and which are bad, however, oftentimes we still decide to continue the bad habit! It is easy to tell ourselves, "I am working on it." But, without tracking your progress, you might not realize that you have been, "working on it" for years! By writing the habit out it gives you clarity on whether you are actually improving or not.
For example, imagine two men that both struggle with getting to bed on time. Man One tells himself in his head he will start going to bed on time. Man Two writes out on a piece of paper, "Did I get to bed before 11 pm?" and tracks which nights he answers the question with a "yes". Man One might "feel" like he is improving, however, Man Two will clearly be able to see if he is or not. This small behavior of tracking his progress incentivizes Man Two to get to bed. That piece of paper acts as a coach holding him accountable!
4. Build momentum
Habits start to create momentum in a variety of ways. The first, obvious way, is that the more you do a habit, the easier it gets! The second way is that once you improve one habit, you will want to conquer another! And, your habits may start to build on each other! For example, maybe you finally break the habit of pressing snooze (which if you need help with, check out our blog post on How To Never Press Snooze Again) and you start having more time in the morning. You then start the habit of working out every morning... which then causes you to start eating healthier, causing you to create the new habit of packing a healthy lunch every day! These habits all started from the first habit or getting out of bed on your first alarm!
5. Visually see your progress
When you use a physical way to check off which habits you accomplished, it gives you a visual way to see your growth... which then encourages you to grow more! For example, if you see that you have gotten up every day on your first alarm for the past 20 days, if you wake up on day 21 and feel extra tired, you will be less inclined to push snooze simply because you don't want to break your streak!
Also, tracking these habits gives you something to reflect back on. It gives you a way to look back at the challenges you have overcome. This will encourage you to want to take on larger and larger challenges.
6. Build your confidence
As discussed above, the more bad habits you overcome, the more confident you feel about overcoming more! Also, if you can give yourself small wins throughout the day, it can boost your confidence to take on more. For example, if you wake up on your first alarm, workout, make a healthy breakfast, and listen to a motivating podcast on your way into work, you will arrive at the day feeling excited and ready! You have already accomplished a lot, giving you more confidence to take on more! Compare this to someone who presses snooze 10 times, rushes out of the house, and listens to something depressing on news on his way into work. He will not arrive at work having that same mindset or elevation of confidence as you.
7. Improve other areas of your life
One of my favorite aspects of habits (and self-improvement in general), is when you start improving one area of your life, it oftentimes spreads to others. For example, if you start to get disciplined about being at work on time, odds are, you will start to get better at being on time to other events too! By focusing on one area, you can improve others at the same time!
Get to it! Write out your habits
What are the habits you could start doing that would move you in the direction of your goals? What are the bad habits that you are doing now that are moving you away? Write these out! Put a list together of your top 10 habits to work on.
If you need help discovering what habits you need to remove and which you need to start, check out the GoalCrazy 90 Day Planner. The planner starts with a Life Crash Course that will help you get clarity on what your goals are and the habits you will need to get there. Most importantly, the planner will then give you a way to track your progress. It will become your own personal coach, giving you a personal grade for the day, showing you what you did well, and where you need to improve tomorrow. Check it out below!