Metrics are great. As humans, we have a visceral reaction to numbers – we always want to make them better (even at the expense of us doing what we would really like to do).
The beauty of numbers is that they make running away from facts impossible. You can rationalize your reasons for not getting preparation started for an upcoming marathon all day but it’s hard to give those excuses if you have a preparation chart with total preparatory hours marked 0.
The downside of measuring everything is that you can easily beat yourself up so hard for not keeping up with your lofty/optimistic targets and just decide against running the marathon.
The solution? Set metrics but be patient. The more you are attempting long term change, the more patient you must be. Don’t make the mistake of stopping the habit of measurement. Even if it’s 0 hours of preparation this week, that’s okay. Just don’t beat yourself up. Aim for a score of 1 hour next week.
It also helps getting an accountability-buddy/coach/boss for the activity you are working on. Send him/her an update on progress once every week with reasons for your score (good and bad) and keep working on it.
I’ve been applying both of these for my 7 exercise sessions/week new years resolution. If I hadn’t been patient, I would have given up in my first 4 or 5 weeks. But, it’s been getting better gradually (the zero on the 1-Apr week was due to being under the weather) and I’m hopeful it will continue. Looking at this chart helps. I average 4.13/week – a long way away from 7/7..
But, as per the principles – set metrics but be patient.