It’s Easy & Motivating to Track Goals with This Method
In 2008 I decided to make 2 heatlth changes. This health goal was the easiest one I ever implemented. In any given week I am 95-100% compliant with drinking 10-12 cups of water daily.
This change, however, continues to be difficult. It still requires ongoing monitoring in order for me to get to bed by 10pm on a consistent basis. I am 40%-50% compliant.
The last week of December I decided it was time to implement 2 more health goals. They both have to do with mindful eating. I decided to start that week instead of waiting until January 1, 2012. I knew I had to make the changes ridiculously easy in order for me to stick with them.
What are these ridiculously easy goals you ask?
1. Don’t eat after 7pm. I am a HUGE mindless evening snacker.
2. Have a green smoothie for breakfast. I am a breakfast eater, but I am trying to ingest more superfoods and vitamins on a daily basis.
Here it is January 7th and I have been doing well.
DON’T EAT AFTER 7pm UPDATE
I cannot believe how well the “Don’t eat after 7 pm” change has been working for me. Several times I got food OUT of the fridge for a snack. Then I remembered to look at the clock and saw that it was past 7pm. BUT I really wanted that snack!
I told myself I COULD have it. Only not then, in the MORNING. For some reason my brain and mouth were okay with that compromise.
And my eyes were VERY happy to see 6 /’s on the calendar by the end of this first week in January. I am putting a / through each day that I don’t eat past 7pm.
I went to a party Wednesday night. I knew I would eat after 7pm. I did allow for the calories and adjusted my food plan accordingly that day. I am not sure how to handle these types of situations as far as my / goes. Yes, I did eat after 7pm. But it was a planned for and mindful eating. Any advice?
BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE UPDATE
It has been simple to have the smoothie for breakfast. It is tasty and easy to prepare. And I like that it is portable for those mornings when I don’t leave enough time to eat before going to work.
My eyes were VERY happy to see 7 \’s on the calendar by the end of this first week in January. I am putting a \ through each day that I drink a green smoothie.
So when I do both on a particular date, there is an X on the calendar. This simple marking system is very motivating. (I’m a simple woman.) I am in good company though. I read this technique is used by Jerry Seinfeld.
DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN – TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT!
Jerry calls this “Don’t Break the Chain.” The difference between our markings is that he uses an X for one goal. You can read about that here.
There is something psychophysically satisfying in seeing a row of X’s. It makes me THINK about whether I REALLY want to break that chain. Luckily, so far, my answer has been “NO!” So, one week down and 51 to go.
You can buy one of those HUGE year-at-a-glance calendars to reward progress. Or you can go to this site and print out a calendar which has the whole year on one A4 sized page. Chris Vertonghen created a (free) pdf for leap year (this year!) and non-leap year calendars. THANKS, Chris, for this helpful resource.
Or you can use a regular calendar for this. I do. I know I will not have a year filled with mindful eating. So I know there will be times when I don’t get a /, \, or X. That will bug me. It will bug me so much that I will be soooo tempted to not continue with tracking my goals. By using a regular calendar I am setting myself up for success. Each new month (only 29-31 days) brings me the opportunity to have all X’s. That will please and motivate me.
Your Turn . . .
- Do you think this marking method would work for you? Why or why not?
- What is a goal (or two) you could monitor using this method?
- What do you do to keep track of and motivate yourself regarding your goals?
Related Posts . . .
- 12 Motivating Ideas to Goal Achievement
- Answering These 6 Questions Will Turn Wishes into Attainable Goals
- Are Thoughts Getting in the Way of Goal Achievement?
- Progress is Progress Even When the Steps are Ridiculously Easy