To Achieve Your Goals, Measure Your Success

So far we learned how to define a huge goal and set a deadline in our process to achieve our goals. Today we will discuss how to measure our success.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not defining clearly how they will measure “success”.

For some goals, it is easy to define how you will measure progress. But I believe everything can be measured, directly or indirectly via a proxy.

For example, if your goal was to “lose weight and get fitter,” you could measure weight loss, your Body Mass Index, the distance you can easily walk or run in a given time, etc. These are very concrete ways to measure weight loss and fitness gain.

If your goal was “improved family relationships,” it is more difficult to measure progress.

In this case you may have to define a whole set of “soft” performance measures to give you a good way to assess your progress.

In this example, is the frequency of family contact increased, especially if there is geographical distance between family members? Are the interactions deeper and more meaningful and satisfying? Are you increasingly happy emerging from those interactions?

Remember my audacious goal was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet, one of the world’s seven peaks and Africa’s tallest mountain. I  set a very clear timeframe of reaching this goal in 1.5 years, taking the opportunity of a three week school break in January 2005 that my daughter would have to undertake the trek with me.

My measure of success was simple: get to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,340 feet without endangering my life or those in the group.

Decide how you will measure your success.

One way or the other, each of your goals can and should be measured, or you will never know whether you are making progress or have met your goals.

Here are four criteria to consider when deciding how to measure success

  1. Have clarity. People sometimes use one measure of success to measure progress: and another measure when they have reached their goal. Ensure that your measure of success remains constant.
  2. Look inside. Think of success measures that are within you, as opposed to being on the outside. If you don’t feel successful on the inside, you will always be chasing success – like on an endless treadmill – but never quite getting there.
  3. Value to others. Consider how much value your activities give to others. There are usually people in far worse situations than you might be. Think of what value you can offer others, as a measure of your success in life. The sense of fulfillment you will get from achieving such a measure of success is indescribable.
  4. Don’t compare to others. Someone will always be better than you. It’s a game you usually can’t win. And often, when comparing to others, we see the idealized version they want us to see – but we miss seeing other warts and issues in their lives. Everyone has such issues, and we rarely have the full story.

Now it’s your turn. How will you measure your success?

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You now have Step 3 on your journey of goal achievement. First you stated a huge goal, which is challenging to you. Then you set a deadline to achieve that goal. Today you decided how you will Measure Your Success.