“What gets measured, gets done.” Tom Peters
Unless you’re a goal-achieving super-star, one of the best things you can do is setup some sort of feedback loop that will help you determine on a day-to-day basis if your actions are conforming to your goals. Said another way, you need to make sure that you know that what you’re doing today is going to help you get what you want tomorrow and in the future. If you don’t have a consistent system for measuring and tracking your progress, then you can only venture a guess about whether you’re heading towards achieving your goals. Guessing may work for some people, but most of us thrive on cold, hard facts – not wishy-washy assumptions.
Here’s a little known tidbit: Most good goal setting systems have some sort of tracking and measuring method in place, and most goal-achieving champions use them rigorously with great success. What these systems usually lack is some sort of process-oriented feedback loop about how our daily actions correlate with our results. So, while they have a great system for tracking the RESULTS of your efforts, they do not have a way to track the PROCESS of seeking those results. Therefore, if you’re not complying with your established process-oriented tasks, then using a point system is a great way to create a feedback loop to measure, record, and track your daily actions. This will confirm whether or not you’re daily actions are actually lining up with your short-term and long-term goals.
I’ve created a simple 10-point physical compliance rating system for myself that I’ll share with you below. Also, I’ve offered some instructions for customizing this 10-point system to your own lifestyle. I hate cookie-cutter programs, and I’d rather you learn how to apply the reasoning behind such a system than just copy one verbatim.
10-Point Physical Compliance Rating System
The goal is to score a minimum of 8 points out of a possible 10 per day. In this system, you have to be pro-active and earn each and every point. Some things add points, and some things deduct them – and you are responsible for every one.
How to Earn Points:
Instead of starting at 10 points, and working our way down, I think it’s best to start at zero and work our way up. This is a little psychology trick that should kick your butt into gear. It’s easier to rationalize skipping a workout or a good meal if you’re already at 10 points for the day. However, if you’re starting at zero, then you’ve got your work cut out for you.
- Sleep – 8+ hours = +2 points, 6+ hours = +1 point
- Nutrition – 3 good meals = +3 points
- Minimal Daily Water Intake = +1 point
- Daily Training Session = +2 points
- Daily Joint Mobility Session = +1 point
- Daily Prasara Bodyflow Yoga Session = +1 point
Total of 10 points is possible for one day.
* +1 bonus point for spending time outdoors and/or limiting sedentary activity. Bonus points can fill in a gap that was made somewhere else or can just make you feel good for being so awesome.
How to Lose Points:
Obviously, the easiest route to a terrible score is to not adhere to the above tasks. However, there are some things that directly interfere with physical goals. These items will deduct points.
- Eating sweets (sugars or substitutes) – 1 point per serving
- Eating simple carbs (white bread, etc.) – 1 point per serving
- Eating any other “junk” food – 1 point per serving
- Drinking alcohol – 1 point per drink
- Drinking soda, pop, or another sweet/sugary drink – 1 point per drink
*No more than 3 points can be deducted for nutrition-related items per day.
At the end of the day, you tally up your points and hope you’ve scored at least 8. If not, you’ll know what to do tomorrow.
5 Steps To Create Your Own Physical Compliance System
Coming up with a system like this is very easy and you can customize your own system in minutes. The advantage of creating your own system is that you can individualize each variable that is appropriate for your personal goals instead of relying on someone else’s interpretation of what is important for you.
Step 1) Establish a goal number – I like keeping things simple and straightforward, so I setup a 10-point system, but you can choose any number or method you’d like. 10 points, 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, etc. All you need is something that creates a measurable goal.
Step 2) Establish things that will help you get to your goal number – List out the things you must be pro-active about to help you achieve your goals.
Step 3) Establish things that will hinder you from getting to your goal number – List out the things you should avoid because they will hinder your progress.
Step 4) Assign a quantifiable value to each item that corresponds with your daily actions – This can be a little tricky, but there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The items with the highest value should be those that are most important to achieving your goals, or perhaps they’re just the ones that you know you need to work on the most. Regardless, try to balance out each item quantifiably with its actual value to your goals.
Step 5) Establish an easy way to track your results – Lastly, you need to come up with a plan for implementing your new system that you know you can stick with. Will you write it in a notebook or using a computer program? Will you keep track of it in real-time or at the end of each day? What will you do when you don’t meet your daily target number? Will you work extra hard if you have a bad day? Answer these questions so you have a clear-cut way to get started. But most importantly, keep it simple. What matters most is not what you write down, but what you actually do each and every day. The less tracking you need to do to stay on track, the better.
This system is meant to help you stay consistent with the daily tasks needed to help you achieve your goals. It’s not a perfect, fool-proof system, but it can serve as a guide to keep you mostly on track. It’s best to keep in mind that with any health or fitness goals, the 80/20 rule is a great principle to adhere to. Don’t set yourself up for failure by requiring a perfect 10 every single day, and don’t make the mistake of focusing too hard on your daily progress rather than your weekly and monthly progress. Your own point system should be challenging, but doable – and you need to believe that it’s not only possible, but perfect for your unique situation. Take your time setting something up, and be open to adjusting the variables if you need to. Done properly, this could revolutionize your progress and have you reaching and surpassing your physical goals faster than you ever thought possible.
CST, CST-KS, NSCA-CPT