How to measure goals

It is easy to measure goals – weight-loss, fitness (as time to run a distance, weight lifted/ reps, etc), number of cigarettes smoked per day, etc), but others are not.

Goals based on improving the ‘quality’ of your life such as improved relationships with your kids, are difficult to quantify so you’ll need to develop your own measurement system so you are able to measure progress against your goals.

Options for measuring non-quantifiable goals include:

  • Relate goal progress to a measurable unit – the easy one here is ‘time’.
  • You may be able to measure your goal base on say the number of hours per week you spend on the goal. For example, a goal focused on improving family relationships may be measured by the amount of quality time per day you spend with the kids.
  • Rating or ranking system based on your assessment or ‘feeling’ of goal progress – you may be able to establish a ranking system based on how you actually feel regarding the goal, with say a ranking of 5 being ‘very happy/ satisfied’ and 1 being ‘very unhappy/ dissatisfied’.

    You may even be able to make these more specific to your goal, for example a ranking of 5 being ‘I feel extremely energetic and healthy’ and 1 being ‘I feel very lethargic and depressed’, for a health goal.

However you chose to measure your goals, it needs to be a realistic measurement and it needs to be something that you personally see as a measure of progress – for example, you may prefer to measure goals progress on our example of family relationships by a defined ranking system (based on ‘feeling’) rather than time spent per day with the kids, recognizing that time with the kids can only improve relationships if it is quality time.

Don’t worry if you’re not totally sure how you intend to measure goals like this – to some extent, the measurement system can be refined as you progress towards your goal outcome and as you become more aware of the measurable benefits. Just don’t change the measurement system for the sake of showing progress if there really hasn’t been any!

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