Push with vigour until the endWritten by Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi
The warm, sunny month of October heralds the beginning of last quarter of the year. In this part of the world, October is also beautifully punctuated by the lovely lush foliage of jacaranda tree flowers which sometimes span across boulevards, line the streets and dot the parks and gardens carpeting the floors with their bee-attracting blossoms. These are a beauty to behold for many yet a nuisance to others because of what they signal and represent. For students who are sitting for final exams the jacarandas are a loud reminder that a time of reckoning has arrived as exams beckon. As the last quarter of the year begins to unravel, many individuals and organisations are caught up in a frenzy of anxiety as they realise how far they are from their targets, goals and ambitions yet so near to the close of the year as the days seem to intimidatingly run over each other.
Tracking and Measuring Your Progress
When you’re heading towards a big, distant goal, it’s all too easy to get discouraged. Think of it like going on a long walk. If you have no idea how much further you have to go, or how far you’ve come, you’re likely to feel discouraged – even despairing – as soon as you start to get tired. But if you know you have already travelled five kilometres and have four more to go, you will feel encouraged knowing that you are over half way. Knowing where you’ve got to often provides additional motivation, and it can even become part of a challenge against yourself or against a friend. You may be focusing on a few key goals – and you are fully committed to them. You may feel that you are well on the way to succeeding, but there’s one crucial thing that can help- tracking and measuring your progress. Whatever your goal – getting out of debt, losing weight, starting your small business, writing a book – you’ll get there faster by tracking and/or measuring how you are doing. Tracking means keeping a record of what you’ve done. It’s about your actions. Measuring means knowing how far you have progressed. It’s about your results. So why bother? Why spend time and effort in writing down what you’ve done or what level you’ve reached? Some goals are not necessarily easy to measure. The problem here is that the “unmeasurable” goals are often the ones we really struggle to achieve. Because we cannot see what progress we have made, we end up feeling that we’re going nowhere
How far are you now?
Tracking your progress heightens the commitment, helping you see what is important, identify pitfalls, find trends, and celebrate successes. Before you can see how you are progressing, you need to know your starting point. Take a few minutes to think about where you are in relation to your goal at the moment. There are various tools and methods that can help you in tracking or measuring progress, in this article we will only look at one tool. This tool is called “Journaling.”
Journaling is ideal for goals where progress is not straightforward and linear. Journaling lets you work through feelings and ideas, and can help you to figure out where you are in relation to a particular goal. Three techniques that work well here are:
- Writing a simple list of actions you have taken during the day – a bit like a to-do list, but after the event. This can help encourage you to stay focused and take action each day.
- Writing down a list of things that went well, or things that you did better at, each day. This is a great way to concentrate on the areas where you’re growing.
- Writing a list of major achievements each week or month, with your goals in mind: a good way to see if you’re neglecting any goals. I call this an “achievements book”. Your journal can be handwritten or on your computer.
What Are You Measuring in Your Life?
As the saying goes, “You are what you count.” Is what you’re counting defining or defying you? Ask yourself if the goal is still relevant. Goals are established based on your situation at the time of setting them. Has your situation relevant to this changed significantly? If there has been a significant change, is it still necessary or are you still able to achieve this goal? Is this goal still what you really want to do? Remember, goals MUST be relevant otherwise you won’t have the motivation to achieve them. Remind yourself why this goal is really important to you, and ask whether this is still the case. Are you using your Action Plan? Your action plan is your road map to achieving your goal, which is your end destination. If you’re not using your map, how do you expect to get there? Think about how you have set up your action plan and whether there is another method that will suit you better. Are you achieving the deadlines on your action items – if not, why not? Deadlines are there for a reason – to keep up momentum! Perhaps your deadlines were unrealistic or your time has been directed to other more urgent activities – either way, think about why so you can adjust your action plan. Do you need to alter your action plan/ timeframe? If you said “No” to either of the above, you need to make an adjustment to your plan. Remember that action plans need to be flexible enough to allow changes where necessary and to keep the plan’s relevant, but don’t change the goal posts too often – try to plan more realistically in the first place.
Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi is an Organisational and Personal Development Consultant, a Life Coach, Author, and Strategist. Her latest book, “The Connection Factor: Unlocking your Individual potential through your Connections,” provides some relational nuggets to individuals who seek to establish meaningful, relevant and fulfilling relationships that can unlock their potential. Looking at improving your career, personal effectiveness, communication skills, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies you can implement today to achieve your goals. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. LinkedIn: Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi. Mobile: 263 717 013 206
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