This year, I’ve spent a bunch of time and effort trying different ways to maximize my awesomeness: everything from starting to time track to running a half marathon. These projects came out of the initial set of goals I created for this school year. With only 5 weeks until the end of this school year (the deadline for my goals), I have been thinking about the way I evaluate my progress. This is how I evaluate myself holistically to make sure that I am motivated for the next steps, but also proud of the progress I have made.
With all the running and weight lifting, I stopped stepping on the scale for a few weeks. This past week, I finally got on again and I had lost 10 pounds. I was excited, sure, but it really didn’t mean anything to me. I was way more excited about the new milage I reached this weekend (15!) and that I’ve been increasing the weights I’m using while lifting.
This was a surreal experience since it was the first time that the number on the scale didn’t mean anything to me. It made me think about all the other ways that I beat myself up over little things.
Be Hard on Yourself
I have a tendency to be pretty self-critical. I acknowledge that sometimes I can take this too far, and nitpick every portion of my life. If I overdo it, then this can put me into a really unhealthy line of thought.
However, in moderation, it constantly pushes me to be better. This year, I made a focused effort to find a healthy way to do this, and it has made all the difference. My grades are better. My relationships with my friends and family are healthier. I am able to take on more projects and succeed in them. I am happier.
I learned how to push myself in a healthy way.
Define Your Success
The best thing I did to get to this point was to define my own metrics of success. I did this by setting realistic goals for the school year. This let me look at all the areas of my life that I felt could be improved. Although I didn’t include it in the post, I also thought about the areas in my life I was succeeding and decided not to set goals for those areas.
I made the goals specific and manageable, so I knew how to accomplish them all. Every goal I chose was meaningful to me, and was in an area of my life that I cared about improving so I was motivated to succeed.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this process helped me replace the external standards of success I had been using to evaluate myself before. Of course, the goals I created were influenced by those external pressures, but once I had them written, the vaguer “be skinny” and “be smart” stopped influencing the way I felt about myself.
And Celebrate It
I know I talk a lot about how important it is for me to check in on my progress towards my goals regularly, but I cannot stress this enough. I rank my progress on a scale of 1-10 for the quarter, which I find helps me to see where I need to put more effort in. The ability to reexamine which goals are worth continuing to put time and effort into both made it easier for me to stick to them and stay excited about them.
When I go through and put the 8s, 9s, and 10s, it feels good. It makes all that hard work and stress worth it. Moreover, because I set these goals, I found it is so much more meaningful for me when I succeed.
Making these goals and following through on them has honestly made me feel like a new woman. I am stronger, happier, and healthier than I have ever been because I found a way to make changes in my life that encouraged this.
The flexibility of these goals also makes it easy for me to keep from beating myself up over them. I can push myself, but if I find that one goal really doesn’t appeal to me (I’m looking at you Yoga 1x/week), it is easily replaced or ignored.
How do you evaluate your progress? How do you keep yourself from beating yourself up when you stumble? Let me know in the comments!