You Can’t Improve On Something You Don’t Measure

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

If you want to manage your spending, you need to track what you spend and where.

If you want to be more kind, generous and loving, you need to track when you exhibit these behaviors.

If you want to improve your skills, you study, practice and take a test – it gives an assessment of your skills.

In all of these scenarios, the common denominator is information: tracking your behavior to provide you with insights you can assess to determine how you want or need to move forward.

As a result, when you look at your life and decide what you want to achieve, learn or improve on, learning to measure is critical. 

I was a financial professional in the early part of my career, and quickly became aware of the value of numbers. Numbers are the financial representation of the quality of the organization’s decisions – the decision to hire, promote, engage or fire. The decision of what to sell and how much to sell it for. All of these are daily decisions that affect the organization’s financial performance. The numbers are the metrics that assess the decisions and drive the performance.

But metrics don’t need to be solely used in financial situations. In fact, there are ways to track metrics in your daily life to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.

Let’s say your goal is to improve your health over the next 30 days. As you start to develop the steps to move toward this goal, include a way to measure your progress. For instance, you could have a goal to walk for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. This is measureable. You could have a goal to run 4 times a week at a 9-minute mile pace. Again, measureable.

The information you gather during this time provides you with insights into what’s working and what’s not. Ultimately, the idea is that this information helps you see what you should continue to do (what’s working) and what you need to improve on (what’s not working).

Measurement helps you stay on track. You close the gap from where you are to what you want.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you quantify one goal you have to make it more measureable?
  2. How will you ensure that each end goal or performance goal includes a way for you to assess your progress?
  3. When you help others define and achieve their goals, how will you help them be clear about the specific measurements?

Most of us miss our goals because we can’t measure them. Give yourself some metrics that are specific and easy to measure, then assess and evaluate your progress to help you determine where you stand as you work toward your goal.


Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card.

Return to the Blog


Create A Personal Report Card

By Jay Forte

So many people have good intentions to make a change in their lives. They think about it. They talk about it. They actually start to do something and then, for many, it falls apart. Why does this happen?

  1. They lack goal clarity. Basically, they aren’t really sure what they want to achieve. A clear goal is required to know which direction is forward, sideways and backward. Clarity is key.
  2. They lack an accountability partner. Sometimes, you need someone to lean on or to help you stay committed to your commitments and goals. This is why many people look to gym buddies at the start of a new workout plan. Whether it’s a workplace coach, a friend or a family member, consider sharing your goal and ask them to help keep you committed to your achievement plan.
  3. They don’t measure or keep track of goals and progress. How will you know what progress you are making if you use generic and non-measurable terms like “do better,” “improve,” “work harder” or provide no metrics or measurements at all? Measurement is critical to the achievement of all goals. It allows you to assess whether your progress is at, ahead or behind expectation.

Before you start to move forward on making any change in your life, think about creating a personal report card to keep you moving forward on your goals.

A personal report card could include a spreadsheet of goals and your current progress or performance on each, tracked on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. For example, you may have a goal of meditating and taking time to do some self-discovery work every day, so your goal is 30 days for the month. Seeing that you completed this 12 times in the month creates a review point for you. If you only did it 12 times, how important was the goal to you? If it was important, what stopped you from meeting your goal of 30 days?

Regularly comparing your progress against a goal provides information about what’s working and what’s not, giving you information from which to make wiser and better next decisions – to do more of what’s working and to improve on what’s not working.

When it comes to goals, measurements matter.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you create clear and measurable goals?
  2. What method will work best for you to measure your progress on your goals?
  3. What is one thing you can do right now to make progress on your goals?

As poet Mary Oliver asks in her poem, The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” How can creating clear and measurable goals help you have that “wild and precious life?”

Return to the Blog

RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
Follow Me
Connect with us on LinkedIn