Secret-4-Measure-your-Progress1The fourth and final secret to being your most pros­per­ous self is to mea­sure your progress and take time to reassess your path.

When you mea­sure the right things, you stay focused on what is impor­tant. This is crit­i­cal is a world of chaos, as it is easy to be attract­ed to the next shiny object of atten­tion. That shiny object may need someone’s atten­tion, but if it’s not part of the inten­tion for your life, it doesn’t need your atten­tion. Mea­sur­ing gives you a clear way to check in and make sure your actions are on point.

Let’s con­tin­ue with the exam­ple from the blog post on secret two. Your inten­tion is to live a life of joy and beau­ty and your top 5 goals are:

  • a new kitchen
  • a trip to Europe
  • a col­lege edu­ca­tion for your chil­dren
  • a veg­etable gar­den
  • finan­cial inde­pen­dence at age 67

What kind of mea­sure­ments might you put in place for your new kitchen? Dif­fer­ent struc­tures will require dif­fer­ent kinds of mea­sure­ments. For exam­ple, if you plan to pay cash for your new kitchen, your first mea­sure­ment might be how much you have saved rel­a­tive to your bud­get for the new kitchen. Since you are mea­sur­ing a cash activ­i­ty, and cash moves fast, I sug­gest you mea­sure fre­quent­ly. For exam­ple, if you get paid every 2 weeks, then mea­sure your sav­ings progress for the new kitchen every 2 weeks. If you mea­sure once a quar­ter, it is very like­ly you’ll get off track and the mon­ey you were sav­ing for the new kitchen will become a new coat, din­ner on the town, or a new lawn mow­er, or just get lost in spend­ing a bit more than you intend­ed in your every­day life.

Once you have the mon­ey in hand for your new kitchen, your mea­sure­ments will turn to the oth­er activ­i­ties need­ed. Step one is to put a blue­print togeth­er so you can begin con­struc­tion. If you are a do-it-your­selfer, then your mea­sure­ments may sim­ply be set­ting aside the time to do the draw­ings and get your thoughts togeth­er. If you need help, your mea­sure­ments might be, find an archi­tect or design/build con­trac­tor. Break­ing that down fur­ther, you may start by ask­ing your fam­i­ly and friends for ref­er­ences and give your­self a dead­line to research and con­tact poten­tial ven­dors. In these steps, your mea­sure­ments are like­ly focused on your time­line with key com­ple­tion points.

It sounds trite, but what gets mea­sured gets man­aged and what gets man­aged gets done. If you want your dreams to live out­side your head and into your life, devel­op the right mea­sures for each goal and get in action!

Some­times you sab­o­tage your­self on the path to cre­at­ing your dreams. It isn’t always easy to real­ly know what you want. Mea­sur­ing progress can give you infor­ma­tion that your goals aren’t inspir­ing. If in fact you don’t take the actions need­ed to cre­ate the goals you iden­ti­fied, it may be that you aren’t tru­ly com­mit­ted to your goal.

Think of this as your uncon­scious inform­ing you that you are out of step with your true desires. If this hap­pens to you, sim­ply step back and hon­est­ly ask your­self this ques­tion, “Am I will­ing to take the actions, that is sac­ri­fice my cur­rent time, mon­ey and ener­gy, to cre­ate this future goal?” Maybe it is some­one else’s goal, but not yours. It’s Ok to rec­og­nize you’re off track. Sim­ply choose again.

Every goal requires a sac­ri­fice today to gain your vision of tomor­row. That is why inspi­ra­tion is so crit­i­cal to set­ting your inten­tion and goals. Sac­ri­fice is hard. Depend­ing on the goal, it may take years, many years to accom­plish. If it doesn’t inspire you, it isn’t like­ly you’ll suc­ceed. So peri­od­i­cal­ly check in and ask your­self, am I inspired by my goals?

It may also hap­pen that your life changes and you change our mind. You live in a dynam­ic world that is ever chang­ing. Just because you were clear yes­ter­day, as new things hap­pen and yesterday’s clar­i­ty may become today’s blur­ry. For exam­ple, per­haps you always want­ed a lake house and you’ve been active­ly sav­ing for the down pay­ments and look­ing at prop­er­ty. Then your par­ents call to tell you they just bought a lake house for the whole fam­i­ly to enjoy. You may still want to pur­sue you own lake house, but maybe you’d like to repur­pose that time and mon­ey to some­thing else. It is your life and your choice to cre­ate it in any way you desire.

Every 6 months to a year, take time to reassess your inten­tion and your goals. Look at where you are with each piece and assess your progress on your path. Take time to cel­e­brate each accom­plish­ment and rel­ish the joy of your per­se­ver­ance. Feel the grat­i­tude and find, or redis­cov­er, your inspi­ra­tion.

Life changes. Our exter­nal envi­ron­ment changes. You change your mind. Give your­self per­mis­sion to make new choic­es when the old ones no longer fit.

In Joy,

To dis­cov­er all four secrets read Mackey’s blog series, Pros­per­ing in a Chaot­ic World.