This is one of the main insights into success that people overlook.  Most have know that for a goal to be effective, one of the criteria is that it not be vague.  One of the ways this is accomplished is by putting a degree of measurement on what is trying to be achieved.  There are numerous instances where this is exemplified.

Visualize The End

The best way to alter your life is to look into the future and visualize the end that you want to achieve.  Many goal setting workshops begin with the idea of "starting with the end in mind".  This is another way of projecting yourself into the future to determine what it is you want.  Of course, this is where the components of useful goals enters.  Some of the highlights"

-goals must be in writing
-they must be in the positive
-they must be specific
-they must be measurable

By having a goal measurable, you can determine where you are as compared to where you would like to be.  Also, as progress is made, it is easy to decipher exactly where you stand.  Clarity is provided every step of the way.

Let us look at the example of weight loss.  How effective do you think the goal of "losing weight" is?  When someone says they want to lose weight, what do they mean?  In other words, what is considered success?  Losing weight can mean knocking off 1 pound in 6 months.  This accomplishment fits the goal of "losing weight".  However, we all know this is not what people mean.

Therefore, it is best to specify what is desired.  Instead of being general, a person can say "I want to weigh 150 pounds by June 1".  Notice how we suddenly have a measurable situation.  We know the time period (presuming we are aware of what today's date is).  In addition, once we determine the present weight, simple math enables us to find the weight amount needed to lose.  Then a plan can be structured to meet that goal.  As you can see, the effectiveness is greater when one takes the second  approach.

One tangent I want to make about weight loss.  Many people sabotage their chances of losing weight because they utilize the wrong thing to measure.  Weight is a mixed bag being comprised of a few different variables.  The most important aspect is that one is made up of both fat and muscle.  Obviously, one who wants to reduce weight means he or she is looking at dropping the amount of fat.  However, when working out, one often puts on muscle which will affect the total weight loss.  This is where the wrong variable is being measured.

Instead of opting for this path, a better metric to use is total inches.  Before starting your exercise program, measure yourself.  Get, in inches, the size of your waist, hips, arms, and legs.  Men can also measure their back and calves.  Then, at the proper intervals, remeasure to chart the progress.  Weight loss might not be occurring because muscle is added yet inches are falling off with the reduction of fat.  This will keep one motivated to continue.

Measure Everything

Weight loss is not the only area where this comes into play.  It is best to get in the habit of measuring everything.  I will state, that while some metrics are better than others, measure something is better than measuring nothing.  Even if we used the basic scale, at least there is some numerical significance to what is taking place.  Imagine if someone ignored it completely and just started working out.  How would he or she know what progress was being made.

People often wonder, how do I quantify improving my life.  To start, this is an abstract goal since it lacks specifics.  However, even using something like this is measurable.   One might start by writing up a list of all the different activities which would improve that said life.  Once the list is completed, let us say there are 100 items, a goal of when to complete them could be determined.  Again, simple math enables us to deduce what needs attention each day.  Perhaps one gives 20 days to complete the list.  That means 5 actions require completed every day.  If one skips a day, it is easy to recalculate how the future behavior must change.

Money is an area that almost everyone has desires for improvement.  Yet few, because of the emotional severity, are willing to look closely at where they are.  Individuals know they are in debt but rarely does one have the courage to figure out exactly how much.  This requires experiencing a great deal of pain.  An honest assessment of where you are at is the first step.  Finances are very simple to quantify since they are numbers.  There is no conversion necessary.  The accounting profession created a number of tools which enable you to map out your present situation (do any search of words such as cash flow, income statement, balance sheet).  Again, the task is nothing more than quantify where you stand and determine where you want to go.  Once this is accomplished, structure your actions to move from the first number to the second.  Quantifying makes life a lot easier.

Remember, anything that you are seeking to do requires that it be measurable.  This is one sure way to increase your chance of success.

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