I’m working with a Health Coach myself (yes, even coaches need coaches!) who seems to appreciate my need to measure things. I’m one of those people who likes to see measurable improvement – to choose metrics that allow me to demonstrate progress, if not full completion, of a goal.
Sometimes, especially if we’re working on goals that feel particularly difficult, it can be important to at least see movement in the desired direction. Most of us can appreciate the fulfillment of getting to the finish line of a quick sprint, like the 100-yard-dash. But when you’re in a marathon you need benchmarks along the way to remind you that you’re actually doing it, and that the end will come, even if you can’t see it from your current spot on the route. That’s where metrics come in handy!
When I’m working with a client, I like to ask, “How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What evidence will you need?” This usually allows them to think about the many mini-goals that may be needed along the way to accomplish the big intention they’ve set for themselves. It is easy to feel like you’re not making any progress if you can’t measure the smaller accomplishments required to get you to your ultimate goal.
For me, just like the consistent actions required to reach the final goal, being able to spot the evidence that I’m making progress IS a form of self-care. I’m satisfied knowing that the goal is achievable if I can see that I’m making headway by the steps I’ve already taken.
When I worked in corporate life (healthcare) I did a lot of quality improvement projects and we had a mantra that proved to be very true, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Being able to put some value, some measure, to the work you’re engaged in is essential for keeping yourself committed to the end result. Being able to see your progress allows you to stay on course and reach the sometimes-distant finish line.
What do you need to measure in your own pursuit of health & wellbeing? Are you trying to shed some weight, manage your blood pressure, or reduce your anxiety? How will you know if you’re achieving your goal or at least making progress toward it? Finding some metrics that help you establish both a baseline (a starting point) and an ultimate end-point are valuable for keeping your motivation high. It’s easy to lose heart when you’re only evaluation point is at your next medical appointment. What can you measure along the way that helps you see your progress?
It doesn’t matter what goal you’re pursuing, if it isn’t one you’ll achieve with immediate ease, it can be useful to put in place some metrics that prove to yourself the value of your on-going efforts. Here are some simple measures (mini-goals) I’ve seen clients choose to help them stay on track:
- How consistent are they with taking their medications or supplements?
- How many hours of sleep are they getting on a regular basis each night?
- How many times a week are they getting in their workout or exercise?
- How much water did they drink today, compared to their intention?
- How many minutes of meditation were they able to engage in most mornings?
- How many steps did they accumulate on their walk?
- How have they heard their self-talk change in recent weeks (is it getting kinder?)?
The final question I like to ask clients who are nearing the completion of a series of coaching visits is this, “How will you know when you no longer need a coach?” What will tell you that you’ve mastered the skills to handle whatever comes next without scheduling a phone call for support? Most of them answer my question this way, “When I’m actually being the person I long to become!”
Most of us don’t need a coach forever. We need a coach intermittently for the rough patches or when we’ve neglected the wisdom we know we need to follow and have gotten ourselves into a difficult place.
If you’ve found yourself at that difficult place, or you need to find your way back to the “person you long to become” be sure to let me know. I’m always happy to help you find some meaningful metrics that will help you track your progress and ultimately, achieve your goals.