I’ve always worked hard on things I’m passionate about, but the one thing that used to hold me back was sticking to a goal and actually seeing it through. I used to start something, put a ton of energy into it, and the moment my progress wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I’d get bored and start something new.
This is the mindset of mediocrity. It’s the expectation that we should get what we want as soon as we decide we want it. Yes, deciding you want to achieve something is a major part of the process, but more important is accepting and then doing what it takes to get there.
So how do you keep going even when you don’t see results? Well, it’s a very simple answer. All it takes is three simple actions: measure, review, refine.
You see, when most people set a goal, it has a beginning and an end. But what happens in between? Usually, there’s a destination but no pathway. We tend to put in tons of effort at the start, and when we realize just what it’s going to take to get there, the goal suddenly seems so far away that the journey isn’t worth our time.
This is where measure, review, refine comes in to play. It’s a simple way of journaling your actions and progress, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and either doubling down or eliminating the variables that determine your progress.
This method is actually a well-used marketing strategy, however from testing it out, the effect it had on me mentally and in terms of progress was quite astonishing. If you want to achieve something, the minimum requirement is to improve every single day. You can’t dip in and out of the journey, you have to constantly move forward.
Look at it this way – If you take constant rests when you’re walking somewhere, it’s going to take far longer to get there and you’ll lose any momentum you build up along the way. Slow and steady, focused progress (like the tortoise) is the best way to get there. You do this by tracking your progress and refining as you move along. The more you refine, the more momentum you will build up. Ever heard of the phrase snowball effect?
How to do it
The great thing about measure, review, refine, is that it can be developed into a habit quite easily, and once you’ve got it down, you can literally apply it to any area of your life. It will guide you and motivate you to achieve any goal you want.
You will need two things.
- The thing you’re measuring/tracking. A few random examples off the top of my head: body weight, progress on quitting a bad habit, sales, social media followers, website traffic, confidence, a relationship, etc.
- These are the things that affect your progress positively or negatively. Say you were tracking your body weight – some variables could be calorie intake, gym routine, foods eaten, steps taken throughout the day, even more obscure stuff like time spent sitting at your desk can count. Basically, pick a list of variables that you can easily track.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what is affecting your progress, so a good idea is to journal what you do and the results you get every day. Say I was tracking my website’s progress – I could write a journal entry before I go to bed stating how many visitors I got that day, plus all the tasks I took that day that relate to my website such as social media content, writing on forums, blog posts published, etc.
It may seem a bit vague to start with because you probably won’t know what the variables are at the beginning. But the simple act of journaling will keep you mindful of your progress, and you’ll start to notice trends in what’s working and what isn’t.
By Measuring multiple variables you’ll eventually find trends and notice exactly what variable is accountable to most of your progress. Remember the 80/20 rule: 20% of the actions you take make up 80% of your results. Once you find that 20% action, DOUBLE DOWN on it, immediately. Conversely, you’ll be able to pin down what’s holding you back and eliminate it, immediately.
This method isn’t just a good way of refining your strategy to get closer to your goal in a shorter amount of time. That’s the ‘improving every day’ part. The reason it is so valuable is because you get a clear representation of where you are in comparison to where you want to be.
This means you are in tune with what it’s going to take to get to your goal. By being in the know, you’re far more likely to keep going because you’re clear with what needs to be done. You know your priorities and how they line up with your goal. You can wake up every day knowing exactly what needs to be done that day to improve and get closer to where you want to be.
The reason people give up is because they get so caught up in doing whatever task comes their way that they don’t prioritize, meaning they don’t make the progress that they potentially could, and they aren’t clear with how far along their journey they are. Measure, review, refine, every day, and I guarantee you’ll have a clear and focused mindset, motivating you to take a step towards your goal every day.