Improve what you track

Let’s be blunt. In your quest for self improvement, you need to track everything! If you’re trying to improve in any area of your life, then you need to document it. No ifs, no buts.

Tracking helps you measure properly. Measuring gives you critical feedback. Through this feedback you learn. From this learning you improve and  build on your existing work. It’s the learning feedback loop- which is applied normally to business or startups. But it’s also a framework that can be applied for your own development.

By writing and tracking your progress it gives you insights in your performance. You can see where you are under performing, where you need to improve. Not only to that level, it can merely just help you stay on your projected trajectory.

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Most people just wing it or they’ll try to memorise what they did last time. Not-a-good-strategy! Unless you have a tremendously awesome memory, you’ll most likely forget. For example if I’m working out, I can’t even remember how many reps I JUST did 2 minutes ago sometimes, let alone try remember what I did seven days ago!

Secondly, tracking your progress actually helps you stay motivated. Writing and tracking your progress gives you something to work towards. For example most people actually don’t track their workouts. If they did they would be much more likely to continue working out. By measuring your progress you’re naturally inclined to try and improve on it. It’s easier to rely on data and numbers than to just try a rely on emotions and feelings alone.

If you see yourself improving, can easily and visually see that progress it acts as a constant motivator for you to continue on that trajectory.

For example you should be tracking your workout, including how many sets and reps at what weight for every lift, even try track workout times and rest times. If you write this down every single workout, you’re much more likely to try and hit the same numbers, if not improve on them. Once again, you cannot hold all that information inside of your head!

Every increment matters. Whether it’s time (seconds, minutes, hours, days) or weight, reps, sets, whatever the task, or whatever the metric. It all matters and it should all be tracked.

What you track, improves.

Finally it gives you long term benchmarks, allowing you to see if all the effort you’ve been putting in has helped or not!

If you write your progress down, you can actually go back months or even years and see how you had been doing well in the past. Then if all your metrics haven’t budged then you know that the net impact of all your work was a net zero.

Also if you have enough data and visuals you can see the journey that you were on – once again, an important part of the learning feedback loop! See my workout examples below.

As an example when working out I usually found that my strength would increase over a course of a few months. But if I started missing workouts, if I was on a cutting routine to lose fat, or if I was on a holiday. I would find that even though my strength increased prior to the these, it would almost always just fall to what it was at inception. Meaning that my strength was just flat, there was little improvement over the long term even though for the short term there were gains!


Tracking Progress

There’s plenty of apps out there. You can even get apps that are specific to your goal. Otherwise good ol’ pen and paper can go a long way.

To track my workouts I usually just print out a template and then write down my metrics. Then I’ll go back and populate key metrics into Excel, if I have time!

Personal WOrkout tracker

With something like my own workout tracker, I was able to track my weights, sets, reps etc, as well as month-on-month progress. But even more better was various routines I was trying during the period. Excel, if you’re any good at, easily let’s you create any layout and visual that you can also chart!

In Conclusion

Write stuff down! Track every goal that you want to improve on. It’s not only a good way to keep tabs on your progress, but it also helps you stay motivated. Visually seeing the data in front of you makes a huge difference to your drive and your ability to achieve your goals. Whether it gives you something to work towards or just a sensation to improve on prior metrics makes a huge difference to your results.

By writing and tracking your progress you can really start to learn a lot more. It helps you identify where you are under performing, which areas you need to focus on more, or where you are over achieving. This is regardless of the goal – whether it’s a physical one or a mental one. Moreover though, having this there really helps with tracking your mission and keeping tabs on your long term roadmap.

Memorising your key metrics on the other hand is completely fruitless. It gives you nothing to compare to while writing it down does! By tracking it you can actually go back months or even years to see how far you’ve come. This will give you great insights into how you can continue to improve. Moreover though, give you some drive to continue working towards your mission.



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