An Easy Tool for Hitting Your Goals

August 1, 2016 Self-work

My favorite tool for making progress on my goals: measuring success backwards.

Some context: Let’s say your goal is to reach your car on the far side of a very, very large parking lot. It’s good to keep your eyes on the car, so you know which direction to walk in. But while you’re looking up, you’re continuously reminded of how far you are and how far you still have to go, which can sometimes feel very discouraging. It’s a points like this where we’re most likely to abandon and quit, because even though we have made progress, we don’t feel like we have.

But what if every few steps you look down instead of up? Every time you look down, you notice how every step is taking you a good measure forward, how your feet are actually gaining quite a bit of distance each time you take a step.  And if you look behind you, you can see how far you are from your original starting point, thus a solid confirmation of evidence that you are, in fact, in motion, and moving towards the direction of what you want.

Measuring backwards.

I’ve recently taken to measuring backwards in a way that has been not only fun, but feels so darn good. It’s pretty simple – I bought a little notebook specifically for this purpose, and at the end of the day I do this: write down 3-5 things I did that day that were examples of me taking a step forward.

I personally have many goals in different areas of life – you can be as organized about this as you want – I prefer ease, and ease is me having one journal for all goals. It works for me.

An example of a list from the other day:

-walked in the morning even thought it was hot and humid (Goal is to exercise more than I have been, normally I wouldn’t have walked in the heat)

-rode the back of the grocery cart back to the stall like a little kid (Goal is authenticity regardless of social norms)

-started reading The Gifts of Imperfection (Goal is being more comfortable in my mistakes)

-contacted people I wanted to go to an event with (Goal is reaching out to people and scheduling things more with people I enjoy)

(I don’t normally write out the “Goal is” part afterward. That was just for your comprehension:))

Doing this make me feel so good. So accomplished. So celebratory. So hell yes.

The list above is mostly “doing” things. Other days have “thinking” things on them too. Things like “didn’t let that woman’s energy bring me down” or “realized I was playing out a ‘future-trip’ in my head of something that hadn’t actually happened, and came back to the facts instead.”


All of these things are me progressing towards my goals.

And every time I write things down and/or just look at what I have written, I cement in one solid truth: I’m consistently moving forward towards the things which I wish to accomplish.

Goals are most often achieved when we’re moving confidently in the direction of our dreams.

Confidence comes from evidence.

This is amazing evidence.