I am not sure why, but the gold star is a powerful motivator for reaching goals. This must be rooted in our kindergarten memories when we wanted to please the teacher and get a gold star on our paper. Whatever its source, I use the gold star drive to help me reach goals or build new habits. This has worked when I have changed eating habits, such as reducing my sugar intake, limiting red meat to twice a week, and adding fruits and/or veggies to every meal. It also works when I want to increase how many days I get out and walk. When I mark on the calendar the days I walk, it motivates me to see lots of “w” marks by the end of the month.. I have even used it when I am working on taming my negative, critical thoughts. At the end of the day,I write down when the limiting belief popped in my mind and whether I fed it or replaced it with a more empowering thought.
The key to measuring progress is to create some record keeping system that is visible,, keeps your attention, and you enjoy doing. This can be on the computer or it can be paper and pen. You need to see it every day, so for a computer file try making a screensaver with a word or two to remind you to open the file. If it is in paper format, post it near your desk or even on the bathroom mirror. I actually enjoy using the family event calendar in the kitchen because I do look at it every day to see about appointments, birthdays, etc. Make it fun by buying some colorful stickers or using a colored pen to use. Record your progress with a word or symbol on the days you are successful or accomplish your task. This will give you a clear picture of your progress – you really are moving closer and getting it done.
One word of caution. Keeping track of how you are doing is NOT meant to be a club to punish yourself for not being perfect.. From the outset, remember that perfection is unattainable. You really are looking for progress, not perfection. Try to view the tracking system as a friendly tool that will help you figure out what is working , what is not, and what adjustments to make. If you have a good progress measuring system, please share it with me and I will pass it along.