When we look to initiate change or growth, some sort of behavior shift is generally required. Want to sell more products? Probably involves making more cold calls, training more sales people, or improving marketing efforts. Looking to remain relevant in the workforce? This objective will likely require more learning, reading, or skill development.
Whether our objectives are business or personal, the odds of achieving success dramatically increase when we embrace two important steps in tandem:
1) Track and measure the specific behaviors needed to drive change. The simple act of measuring progress – or keeping score – is one of the most powerful ways to drive results. As they say, “what gets measured gets improved.”
About two years ago, I decided to improve my nutrition to boost my health, fitness, and vitality. This notion didn’t require genius; we all know we should eat more veggies and fewer French fries. We all already know the answer, yet so many of us fail to shift behavior. For me, the results were achieved by logging my food intake on a simple mobile app. Yes, it took some getting used to, but today my nutrition is better than ever. The consistency and results were greatly enhanced by tracking my behavior.
The same happened this year when I declared 2019 as a “year of learning.” I set a goal to read a minimum of 3.5 hours per week on a variety of topics to boost my knowledge, skills, and understanding of the world. Without tracking, it would have likely ended up like most New Year’s resolutions: dead on arrival. But since I track my reading on a simple mobile app in 20-minute segments, it’s helped me stay focused and on track.
2) Build in accountability. Measurement is only half the battle. To really drive change, you also need a mechanism to hold yourself accountable. The easiest approach for most people – an accountability buddy.
For my nutrition shift, I persuaded a friend who happens to be a metabolic doctor to let me email him my food intake report every day. The poor guy has received over 500 emails from me, but the fact that I have to send it each night keeps me accountable for my behavior commitments. For this year’s learning efforts, I teamed up with a colleague and we email each other our weekly “learning accountability” results. Seven months later, both of us are still on track.
Measurement plus accountability is the secret formula to achieve nearly any behavior change. One without the other is like Bert without Ernie; Garfunkel without Simon; Bonnie without Clyde. Yet when these two forces are combined, your chances of enacting long-term results skyrocket.
If you’re ready to make a long-awaiting change, embrace the one-two punch of measurement and accountability. The results will be a better fusion than peanut butter and chocolate, delivering you an absolutely delicious result.