How do we know if we are getting better? Are you getting closer to your goals or spinning your wheels? Reaching the end result. That big goal that we set for ourselves, is important, but are we on the right track during the process and is it the most efficient process. When you have a long term goal that looms in the distance it is easy to get lost and side tracked along the way. The best way to prevent this is to track how you are progressing along the way. This has many benefits.
It builds momentum
It lets you know that your process is working
It allows you to correct course if your process is not working
There are many ways to track progress and how you do it also depends on what you are tracking. There are apps that you can use to track things. You can go old school and keep a log book. The best method, is the one that you actually use.
If you are tracking a daily habit a calendar is a good idea. This article gives a great description of this. The aim is not to break the chain of marked days on a calendar and this makes you process visible and tangible.
If you are tracking Gym numbers you can set up a personal record chart for yourself and log each time you beat a personal best in a lift that you want to track. I use a combination of methods. A calendar to track my meditation and productivity and a log book to track my training.
Things to Track
Here’s a list of things that you can track to progress in certain areas. The things listed below are things that I currently track or have in the past and also things I use with the people I train.
· Pull ups
Used to track relative strength and also a good indicator of not fatness. If you want to put on muscle it’s good to keep your pull up numbers up. If it drops a lot it means you’re getting fat.
· Squat/ Deadlift
A great measure of lower body strength but not the be all and end all.
· ½ BW DB Row max reps
Upperback strength endurance and that all important Grip!
· Bench/ Military Press
Upper body strength
· 20m farmers walk weight
Everything strength and work capacity (number of sets)
· 400m sprint repeat times
To track fitness and also to give a more direct target when working on body composition
· Daily portions of Greens
Green stuff like broccoli and spinach is good for you, eat more of it
· Amount of water consumed
Hydration is good, dehydration is bad. Help your body function optimally. Many people drink less water than they think they do.
· Number of shit meals per week
Sometimes it’s good to track the bad. It’s good to know how often you fuck up.
· Meditation sessions
· Daily hanging
· Daily mobility sessions
· Work/ Productivity /studies
· Study sessions per week
· Writing sessions per week
· Writing out a daily schedule
The Goal gives you the big picture. Tracking keeps the process in check, builds momentum and reinforces habits. It gives you the reality of the situation. We can tell ourselves something is better than it actually is, but if we have facts to look at we see the truth. If we have a picture of the actual situation we can act on it and create change.
One final point is accountability. Who are you accountable to if you don’t stick to a process? Is being accountable to yourself enough for you to correct course and make a change or do you need to be accountable to someone else to help you reach a goal. This is an important thing to know. Many people need to be accountable to other people to help reach their goals. This is one of the reasons why people need trainers, to hold them accountable for their actions and its effects on their goals. Create situations where you are held accountable for your actions. I need that for some of my goals so I use deadlines or ask people to help me stay on point with things.
Keep working, keep improving and be aware of the process.
PS. Don’t forget to celebrate/ give yourself some recognition for your success. When you do well reward yourself.