Data. Is. KING.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the boardroom or the weight room. If you are aren’t tracking data, you’re not moving forward.
That might sound too techy or time consuming. Relax – you don’t need to go back and repeat your college math courses for effective data tracking. Any information or measurement that helps you track your forward or backwards movement is, for the sake of this discussion, considered data.
Data, goals, and habits
Reviewing data is absolutely key to accomplishing your goals and establishing new habits. If you have no clue whether you’re moving forward or spinning your wheels, how will you succeed in anything? The goals I have been able to achieve are the ones where I have vigilantly tracked my progress.
Need some ideas of how data could be valuable? Here are a few things I have tracked:
- Weekly measurements to keep me on track for my fitness goals
- Number of pieces I write a month
- How many ounces of water I drink per day
- Number of books I read per week, month, year
- How much debt I pay down each month
- Whether or not I get 7+ hours of sleep a night
- How much I deposit into my savings accounts each month
When it comes to tracking progress toward goals, any number of metrics might work for you (although I’d advise you to stay out of the weeds and only track one or two data points per goal). However, I’ve discovered that tracking is even more useful to me when I’m attempting to keep good habits.
Everyone has a different preference, but here’s an example of the weekly habit tracker I use:
I fill in the boxes as I am successful at keeping each habit (or avoiding the habits I’m trying to abolish).
Three things to remember
Data tracking isn’t your enemy – it’s for your benefit. Like any other tool, it will help you be more effective if used properly.
Before you close out of this piece, here are three things you should remember when attempting to become a successful data tracker:
- Keep it simple. If you try to measure every little thing that comes your way, you will be overwhelmed, and you will stop tracking.
- WRITE IT DOWN. It doesn’t matter whether you put it on paper, jot it down digitally, or use a mixture of both like I do. If you want to see your progress, you need to keep proper records.
- Check in frequently. I don’t care if you need to set yourself a reminder in your phone – review your progress frequently so you can make adjustments as needed.
Happy data tracking!
This is the final post in the New Year, Better Self series.