The Best Way to Measure Progress

To measure the progress of health and fitness goals, it’s normal to use less-than-stellar methods. Often, it’s the scale or mirror.

We call these lag measures. They track the thing that you’re trying to improve.

The problem is that it comes too late to change your behaviour. The performance that drove this measurement is already in the past.

Lead measures are new behaviours that will drive success on the lag measures. (1)

“Lead measures turn your attention to improving behaviours you directly control in the near future that will then have a positive impact on your long-term goals.”(1)

If you wish to lose 10lbs, a relevant lead measure could be the number of meals you track, or the number of workouts you do.

When you use lag measures to evaluate body change, it's usually not a positive experience. And even if you get to your goal, it’s not as satisfying as you think it would be. That's because you’ve treated the process as a shallow means to an end. This will keep you miserable.

What you need to focus on (and what makes humans happy) is the journey to get there. Not looking back at it, but being in the moment with it, using lead measures that are fun and progressive.

A recent tweet from James Clear states “…if you optimize for the outcome, you win one time. If you optimize for a process that leads to great outcomes, you can win again and again.”

Lag measures is where you dream and feel miserable. Lead measures is where you’ll find enjoyment and a fulfilling life.
Kevin & Victoria

1 -- Excerpts from “Deep Work” by Cal Newport

P.S. The Transformation Challenge that begins this week and a lot of focus is on behaviour change and using lead measures to track your progress.

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