Over the next few weeks, you’re gonna start seeing something.
Not, like, visions or ghosts or that kind of “seeing things” (I hope not, anyway ?) – what I think you’ll start seeing is lots of end-of-year reflection posts.
On social media and on the blogs you follow, people are gonna start looking back on 2018 – what they achieved, what they’re proud of etc.
I’ll probably do it too – it’s normal (and great!) to reflect back on your progress as the calendar year comes to an end.
But here’s what I want you to do this year.
If there’s a goal you’ve achieved – CONGRATULATIONS! That’s bloody epic.
Take time to celebrate your success.
But if where you are now (even if you did hit your goal) isn’t where you thought you would be – or if it looks different to how you imagined it would, I’ve got some advice for you.
I want you to remember this:
Change or progress isn’t always obvious.
Jon Acuff sums this up really well in his book Finish:
The problem is what I call the “candle effect.”
When you light a candle in a pitch-black room without windows, the effects are dramatic. Going from complete dark to light is substantial progress. The difference is obvious and immediately felt. Lighting a second candle has a big effect, too, albeit not as big. The third candle is still impressive, but not as impressive. This diminishing continues until the impact of a new candle is hardly noticed. The fifteenth candle would barely register on your brightness scale.
Do you get what he means?
Sometimes, all the little steps you’re taking don’t seem to have as dramatic an effect as you would like. They’re like adding candles to an already lit room.
So, it can be easy to feel underwhelmed when you’re putting in work, and “feel” like you’re not making any progress.
But here’s the thing: our emotions lie to us, but data doesn’t!
You have to train yourself to see progress by looking at the data!
For e.g. I’m currently training for the Kathmandu Coast to Coast Mountain Run, and some days it feels like I’m not getting anywhere with my training. So, on those days, I pull out my training plan from Week One, and the data is right there in front of me. I can clearly see how far I’ve come.
So, as NYE approaches, I want to challenge you to find other ways to track your progress with lots of different data.
For e.g. if your goal was to get healthier this year – what markers of progress can you look at? Can you walk or run further? Are you drinking more water? Eating home cooked meals more often? Do your clothes fit better? Are you more confident in yourself? Are you having more hours of sleep each night?
Or, if your goal was to improve your business – what data can you reflect on? Can you look back at new clients or opportunities gained? Better systems introduced? Products sold? Less staff turnover?
Remember – emotions lie, data doesn’t.
Now, I’d really like to know:
What progress you’ve made this year
What data you can look at to track that progress, and;
If looking at the data helps you to see whether you’ve made more progress than you realised?
Let me know, in the comments below.
PS My wonderful team have told me that this is the last week to order copies of my books – if you want them in time for Christmas! I’ve got signed copies of my books Unmasked and Everything To Live For available here, if you are so inclined!