4 Benefits of Measuring Your Progress Regularly

Imagine you’re traveling to another country. Once you have set your destination and planned your trip (i.e. purchased your plane tickets, booked your hotel room, etc.), you start your journey towards your destination.

As part of your journey, you must first get to your car (no later than a set time) and drive to the airport. Once at the airport, you have a few places (e.g. luggage check-in, security gate, etc.) to stop by before you board the plane.

When you get off the plane, you grab a taxi to make it to your hotel room.

Throughout your journey, you would certainly use checkpoints to ensure you’re on track. For instance, you know that if you don’t make it to your car before the set time, or if you don’t make it to the airport before boarding time, or if your plane is delayed, you won’t make it to your final destination in time. What you’re doing here implicitly is measuring your progress: making sure that every step of the way, you’re progressing as planned.

As you journey towards your goal—whether your goal is to lose 25 pounds, obtaining your Bachelor’s degree, or building a house— you must measure your progress regularly, and here’s why.

1. You Can Course-Correct

The main benefit of measuring your progress regularly is that it gives you the information you need to determine if you’re on track and if not, you can course-correct. In fact, if, when you measure your progress, you realize that you’re starting to get off-course, you can take corrective actions before you’re too far off and it’s too late to get back on track.

For instance, if you’re working on a project and notice you don’t have enough resources (e.g. money and people) to reach your target, you can try to get additional resources. Conversely, if you have too many resources, you can reallocate them. Similarly, if you realize that you’re not going to meet your deadline, you can try to renegotiate it.

2. You Can Report on Your Progress

Say, while you’re riding in your car on your way to the airport, someone calls you on your cell phone to ask you where you are. You would tell them something like, “I’m 5 minutes away from the airport.” Again, you’re able to answer because you have a sense of your progress.

This is another benefit of measuring your progress regularly: you’re able to provide status updates to stakeholders.

For instance, when working on a project, you often have to inform various people of the state of the project. Measuring your progress regularly makes it easy for you to provide such updates.

3. You Can Test Your Attitude

This benefit is a little more subtle but just as important.

Your attitude is important to your journey. Thus, make sure you cultivate an attitude that supports your progress. And, believe it or not, measuring your progress can help you do that; the way you react to your progress reveals your attitude.

How do you react when you’re not progressing as fast as you’d like? Do you beat yourself down? Do you beat others down? If so, might be an indication that you must change your attitude. Instead of beating yourself or others, you can identify and analyze the causes for this lack of progress and find creative solutions to remedy the situation.

4. You Can Get Motivated

As you move forward on your journey, you get waves of motivation to keep moving forward. Progress is inspiring. Progress builds momentum. Motion begets motion. Action begets action. And when you keep track, you can see the results of your actions. And this is a powerful source of motivation.