One of the reasons we’re all bad about sticking to our goals is because we don’t see big results right away. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight, pay of credit cards or quit smoking. We stick with the program for a few weeks and then start to lose steam and motivation. It takes a lot to keep going and it isn’t easy to change our habits for the better.
What we need to stay on track is a little motivation. If we can see that we’re moving in the right direction (even if it isn’t always as fast as we’d like it to be), we’ll keep going and opt for the salad instead of the pizza or cook at home instead of going to our favorite restaurant.
But how do we see this progress? We see it by tracking and measuring and writing it down. It doesn’t matter if you use a pen and paper or your computer. You want to be able to see that progress in front of you in black and white.
Let’s talk about what to track. If you want to lose weight, write down your weight each day (or once a week if that works better for you). Get out a measuring tape and measure you waist, your leg and arm circumference etc. Write those measurements down as well and re-measure every month or two. Even when the scale doesn’t seem to want to move in the right direction for a while, you’ll still see progress in your body measurements. And having all this data can be very motivating. 6 months into your weight loss journey, you may not see a lot of change day to day, but looking back at how heavy you were on day one and how far you’ve come already will keep you going.
If your resolution is to stop smoking, make a check mark on your calendar for each day you made it without a cigarette. As the checkmarks start to add up, so will your resolve to keep it up.
If your goal is to pay down credit card debt, or build a financial safety net, keep a running total of your numbers. Being able to record what you did might be just the motivation you need to apply that bonus check instead of spending it on new shoes.
Do you see where I’m going here? It doesn’t matter what your resolution is, keeping track of how you’re doing and how far you’ve come already can be a big motivator to stick to the plan until you reach your goal.