Measure Backward, Not Forward

We often measure our progress by looking forward, setting goals and milestones for our progress.

Basically, we try to predict the future to some degree.

We do it in business, health, and life at large.

Although goals are good and having a sense of direction for where you want to go is critical, when it comes to determining the improvements we can make right now you should measure backward, not forward.

Measuring backward forces you to take notice of your recent actions and makes you aware of your invisible patterns. The best way to change long-term behavior is with short-term feedback.

You also get to enjoy the progress you are making right now rather than yearn for a different life in the future.

For example:

  • Entrepreneurship: you only landed two clients last week while your average is five? Focus on making more sales calls this week

  • Weight Loss: measure your calorie intake. Did you eat 3,500 calories per day last week? Focus on averaging 3,400 per day this week

  • Relationships: how many new people did you meet last week? Zero? Focus on introducing yourself to one new person this week

Measure backward and then get a little bit better. What did you do last week? How can you improve by just a little bit this week?