Here’s Why Success Lies In Tracking Your Progress

Here’s Why Success Lies In Tracking Your Progress

I’m so excited to talk about another of my favorite steps in the goal-setting process today! I’ve already shown you how foundational habits are a great starting point when it comes to achieving your goals. But what can you do after starting those habits to ensure your own success? The answer lies in tracking your progress.

The idea of tracking yourself is really, really simple. All you have to do is keep track of whenever you complete a habit that you want to develop. That’s it!

This can be done daily, every other day, or even weekly. Whatever works for you! Tracking is seriously the easiest. It takes a minute or two at most, and it’s so incredibly valuable if you stick with it.

tracking your progress achieving your goals

How Tracking Your Progress Works

What’s the point of tracking your actions, you might ask? Let me show you with an example.

When I was younger, I used to try to eat healthy all the time. “Try” being the operative word. I never really committed to it, and I definitely didn’t go on a diet or anything like that. It would just occur to me sometimes when I was having a meal that I should try to find healthier food options. No matter how many times I told myself I was going to start dieting or eating healthier, it never really stuck. Inevitably, I’d just end up forgetting about it until my next burst of goal-setting came around.

Then, a couple years ago, I decided that I was going to try to eat healthy again. This time, I still didn’t meal prep or commit to the goal very seriously. But I did pull out a little notebook and start recording what I ate for every meal. I would record fruits and veggies with a green pen, grains and dairy with a yellow pen, and sweets or other super unhealthy snacks with a red pen.

That was all it took. I found myself leaning more towards healthier foods naturally, because I didn’t want to see the red color on my food log at the end of the day. At the end of the month, I was able to look back and see how my days got greener and greener over time. And when I had a day where I indulged in a lot of unhealthy foods, I forgave myself and moved forward.

See, I hadn’t committed to cutting out my favorite foods, or only eating healthy. I had just committed to writing down what I was eating every day. And that simple act of tracking had a huge effect on me achieving my goal! It was really surprising, to be honest.

From that day forwards, I’ve always focused more on tracking my progress as the first step to personal growth. Even though it sounds like a tiny thing to do, it can make such an important difference when it comes to your mindset!

tracking your progress achieving your goals

The Value of Tracking

Tracking is so valuable for two huge reasons. The first is the innate science behind it. Visually speaking, humans prefer some colors to others. We associate green with good and red with bad. So when we track things using colors, that subconsciously urges us to make more healthy and good choices during the day. Just use green or other “good” colors with your actions that you want to promote, and red or “bad” colors with your bad habits.

This works even if you don’t use colors! A lot of the time, I use a calendar as a habit tracker, listing all the days in a month and putting a checkbox next to a day once I’ve completed a certain habit in that day. In general, when people do this, they tend to like to keep their streaks going, instead of leaving a day unchecked. There’ve been plenty of days when I’ve forced myself to do something just so that I would have a checkmark in my calendar for that day.

In other words, tracking our progress can tap into parts of our subconsciousness and make it likelier for us to stick to a habit. It’s so wild how something so simple can have such an awesome affect on us! And it definitely makes tracking something that I want to recommend to all of my readers.

Additionally, tracking your progress gives you valuable data to look back on. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier every day, and you’re tracking your progress, you might be able to see at the end of the week that you never achieve your goal on Wednesdays – which happen to be the days that you tend to get a catered lunch at work. If you hadn’t been tracking your progress, you might not have made that connection!

Tracking your progress allows you to see how far you’ve come, and also helps you judge how well you’re doing. If you’re like me and you love your weekly reviews, going over your tracker progress from the week before can help you plan for the week ahead. It really gives you such great insight into yourself!

tracking your progress achieving your goals

So, How Do I Start Tracking My Progress Today?

There are tons of ways to track your progress towards your goals. My biggest piece of advice is to choose something that already fits well into your routine! If you check your phone last thing before you go to bed, maybe track your progress in a note, or in a habit-tracking app. If you already use a desk calendar at work, you could have that double as your habit tracker too

My favorite way of tracking is using a traditional pen and paper. There’s something about checking off a box on a piece of paper that just feels so right! And it’s so easy for you to get yourself a tracker like this too.

One option is to make one yourself. Just get a piece of paper or a journal and list all the days in the month on the left side of the page. Then, across the top of the paper, list all the habits you want to track. At the end of each day, make a check in the row for that day under each habit that you complete. That’s all you need to do! For something more complicated like food journaling, you can layout your pages any way you want and make something totally customizable that works for you!

An even easier option is to find a tracker online that works for you and print it out! I personally love Alexx Hames’ trackers over at Aesthetics By Alexx. Check out her Habit Tracker Printable over here – if you like it, you can use my code WORKONTHAT10 to save 10% on it or any product in her store! (Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate with Alexx, so I’ll make some money if you use my discount code. I wouldn’t recommend a product if I didn’t love it and didn’t think it was reasonably priced. I promise that I’m being 100% legit when I say that you’ll love using any of Alexx’s products!)

To Sum It All Up…

I hope this post showed you how helpful tracking your progress can be when it comes to achieving your goals! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. What’s your favorite way to track your progress? What are habits you’re trying to develop that you think you could track in the future?

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This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. This is a great post! Self awareness is the first step for any kind of growth and tracking is such a great way to become more aware of and intentional with your actions. I love that you color code! I’m also like you in that I still prefer to use pen and paper for things like this! 🙂

    1. Pen and paper just feels better – the physical act of checking something off is amaaaazing! Thanks for the comment, Anna <3

  2. This is so true! It’s hard to feel like you’re going anywhere unless you are aware of how far you’ve come!

    1. Exactly! Thanks so much for the comment, Sugi 😀

  3. I totally agree tracking your progress for goals definitely helps! Thins year I’ve started using a bullet journal to track goals and habits and I’m loving it!

    Andrea |

    1. Oooh I love bullet journals. They can be such great tools for tracking if you use them that way. Thanks for your comment, Andrea!

  4. I am definitely a big fan of tracking progress! I think some people get bogged down by it and think of it as a list of what they haven’t finished yet but I think the key lies in keeping some small as well as big tasks on there so you have those small things to check off and keep the motivation going. Very well written, I enjoyed it! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment, Amartia!

  5. I usually just use pencil but really I like the idea of adding color to mean something specific — not just to make a habit tracker pretty.

    1. Yes! For me personally, if I feel the need to make things beautiful, it feels like way too much effort. I only use color when there’s a purpose to it – and it works splendidly for me. Thanks for the comment, Lee!

  6. I like to color coding idea!! I need to stop eating junk and this is a great way to apply it indeed.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Rachel!

  7. Yes! I completely agree that tracking progress helps. It can make you notice the small improvements you otherwise wouldn’t realise. I’m a sucker for journalling and using apps to track my progress for all different things- weight loss, sleep, mood, books I’m reading, organising my blog posts, everything! X

    1. All of this is so true, Kayleigh! Thanks for the comment <3

  8. Tracking your food with colors is such a good idea! I can totally see that helping out a lot.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Lisa!

  9. Great post! Very useful and well written!

    1. Thanks, Roger!

  10. Such a good tip. I was using habit trackers in my bullet journal, and then got lazy and didn’t make one a few months ago and . . . well, it’s all slid. Gonna work on that by setting one up for March!

    1. You can do it, Kelly! Thanks for the comment 😀

  11. Nice Tips! I also love to track. My big thing was money. Once I started tracking my money daily I was blown away by how much I made and also spent.

    1. Ooh, yeah, tracking money is really important too! Thanks for the comment, Alicia!

  12. YES! Tracking your progress is KEY to reaching goals! I love this so much, and I have seen in over and over in my own life! I also prefer to track using pen and paper! It’s nice to see it, hold it and read it all at once!

    1. Same, Becky! Thanks for the comment 😀

  13. Thank you for this post!!! I believe in tracking habits and goal growth. It takes discipline and the reward at the end is always great. Cant wait to read more from you

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Adrianne!

  14. Just started blogging, I’ll definitely start tracking and goal setting!

    1. You can do it, Arianne! Thanks for the comment!

  15. I really wish I understood tracking a lot sooner. I spent too many times stressing that I “wasn’t making any improvements” instead of focusing on adding the small progress marks together into a clearer picture. My goal is to track small goals for my blog so that I can become more encouraged with even the smallest improvements!

    1. This is so real!! Thanks so much for this comment, Kyndall 😀

  16. I love the idea of using different colors to record food. The red pen idea would certainly work for me – I would want to see more green on the page! Thanks for a great read and great tips.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ashlea!

    1. Thank you so much, Laura! I love using colors – it’s a really simple way to reinforce the habits you want to develop. Thanks for the comment!

  17. I agree! Progress tracking is so important, but sometimes hard to keep up with.

    1. Hey Krista! It can be hard to keep up with, but remember that missing a day or two isn’t the end of the world! The goal isn’t to be perfect – it’s just to be better. Thanks for the comment!

  18. I saw a link to your blogg on Twitter – blogging tribe. This is (tracking) such a simple thing to do. I never thought of colour coding things. I do track a lot of what I’m doing. What handy hints.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment!

  19. This is a good reminder. I should track my progress for any goal I have. It can be exciting to realize how much I have accomplished instead of thinking about all I still have to do. I’m so jealous of your domain name, by the way. So catchy.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Julie! And I think your domain name is lovely <3

  20. I love the whole idea of tracking our progress. I just set some goals for March. Thanks!

    1. I’m rooting for you, Cheryl!! Let me know how those goals go when April comes around 😀

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