Life is always lived in pursuit of something. Whether it be monetary gains or spiritual enlightenment, we all want to improve or gain something. However, rarely are we able to stay dedicated and truly finish out our pursuit and emerge successfully. A very common example of this is new year’s resolutions. Too many people vow to hit the gym every day and dramatically lose weight and become ripped. The reality is that this is highly unlikely to ever happen. It could be due in part to burnout or other commitments taking over. But oftentimes, we simply lose interest. Why is this? I believe that we lose this drive due to being unable to accurately measure our improvement.
As we move along in life it is easy to lose sight of the big picture and get wrapped up in the monotonous day-to-day. That’s why it is so vital to track your progress. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It could even be just a simple checklist. The reason behind this is that keeping track of your improvements can make you more engaged and mindful of your pursuit. For example, during the process of creating the infographic, it felt very satisfying to watch each icon and text box slowly fall into place, not to mention very relieving knowing that I was one step closer to being done. Another personal example would be my swimming practice. “Seeing and Noticing” the drops in time clearly showed improvement and it was highly motivating to see tangible results. By keeping track of your advances, it can help break up a large task into smaller and clearer steps which prevents you from feeling overwhelmed. This can be observed in the short animated film, Scavengers. Through their coordinated acts, it is clear that these explorers had a well-thought-out plan with precise steps laid out, which allowed them to accomplish their goals in an organized manner.
The practice of keeping track of your progress also goes hand in hand with goal setting. Keeping tabs on your progression is useless if there is no end zone or overarching goal. By setting specific and realistic goals, each step you take becomes more meaningful. When setting these goals, try and set one that is outside of direct reach. To clarify, establish a goal that requires you to strive towards it and put in the effort to accomplish it. A goal such as breathing or touching grass is so simple that it is hard to derive a sense of achievement from it. However, on the other hand, setting an elaborate goal can quickly turn it into a constraint. Like a short and cramped bonsai tree, setting intricate hoops for yourself constricts your creativity and accelerates burnout.