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Tracking Your Growth: Tools and Strategies for a Successful New Year

Ever since I was a kid, I've always enjoyed being active. I liked playing outside. My curfew was when the sun started to go down. When I started learning how to swim as a child, I remember holding my breath and trying to swim underwater from one end of the pool to the other end without coming up for air. Eventually, I made it and each time I swam further and further underwater. I'm sure I thought I was just holding my breath longer, but probably it was that I had become a stronger swimmer.

The same was true in junior high and high school. I took track, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, weight training, and other sports. I was the kind of teen that would get up early in the morning to exercise before going to school. Maybe you enjoyed being outdoors too, playing sports, cycling, skating, or hiking.

As a reward in seventh grade, our coach would let the top runner rest on the sidelines, while the rest of the runners ran the track. My girlfriend, Minnie, and I would always compete against one another. We were strong runners. She and I and one other guy would take turns coming in first through third place, so you would see us alternate resting on the field. It was a great motivator to compete with my friend, as it made me want to go faster. Having someone to compete with, to cheer you on, or to hold you accountable is a great motivator to both staying on track and reaching your goals.

Any athlete will tell you it's important to measure your progress.

  • How far did you swim?

  • How fast did you throw the ball?

  • How far did you run?

  • How much progress did you make this past month or week?

Tools are important for measuring progress. They help us to focus, to stay motivated, and to keep us on course. It is an essential component of the S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, and Time-Sensitive)

What I like about the New Year is that it is a great time to hit "reset" to our dreams, our goals, and our amazing ideas and make them happen. Is there one thing that you would like to hit the reset button on? What is something you can do this year, this month, today?

Start with a specific plan. Visualize it. Write it down.

What are some tools you can use to measure your progress and achieve your goals?

Is it something that is relevant to you? Can you answer the "Why?" Why is it relevant? Why is reaching this goal important to you? If you don't know or you can't answer your why, you probably won't reach your goal.

Is this a short-term or long-term goal? When do you want to accomplish your goal by? Make a list of the tools that are available to you to track your progress. For example, some tracking tools may include:

  • Duolingo, to learn a language

  • YouVersion, for daily devotionals

  • Fitbit, to keep your health goals on track

  • CliftonStrengths, to bring you self awareness and help you toward your personal and professional goals

  • Toastmasters, to practice your public speaking skills, enhance your leadership skills, and develop better communication skills

  • Planner, journal, vision board, letter-to-self to open one year from now, lists, etc.

  • Join a professional network, a fitness class, a writing studio, take a course or workshop, and so much more

Make a list of the obstacles that may hinder your progress and how you will prevent them or overcome them when they arise. And most importantly, enlist your fan club, cheerleaders that will pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable.

Ready . . . Set:

  1. Create your action plan

  2. Measure your progress

  3. Reward yourself

You've heard the saying, "Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today." Dream it! Own it! Achieve it today!

It's a New Year. How will you grow?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?

Run in such a way as to take the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24


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