The importance of tracking progress, success and even failure.
I was recently working with a young man who is trying to abstain from his pornography addiction as well as accomplish several other goals that will help him improve as a person. During our discussion, I asked if he marked his calendar everyday. He said no, and that it didn’t seem like it would help. After all, it’s just a number.
I hear this and other excuses often as I try to help young men improve in ways that are important to them. The most common excuses are:
- “I just forget about it.”
- “I don’t have a calendar to mark.”
- “It doesn’t help me win my battles.”
- “It takes too much effort.”
It seems like many of the young men that I work with don’t understand the purpose and power of keeping a daily calendar.
When I refer to keeping a daily calendar, I am talking about keeping track of your progress and success. For some, that means a normal monthly calendar. Others record their progress in their journals. Some fathers that I know have created a sticker chart that their children get to put stickers on when he (the dad) completes his goals. However you do it, keeping track of your progress and success is essential.
In other words, those who are marking their calendar every day are normally those who are winning their battles and progressing towards their goals.
I can’t say that I understand all of the reasons why consistent calendar marking leads to long-term success, but I wanted to share a few reasons.
First, it builds confidence.
Often times, we win far more battles than we lose. By keeping track of when we win and lose we can see that we are doing better than we think we are. You may have heard the saying, “Success breeds success” or “Success breeds confidence.” In this case, both phrases seem to be true.
Second, and more importantly, it helps us recognize patterns.
By keeping my own calendar I discovered a vulnerability in myself that many people share. Most of my own failings with my goals for improvement happen on the weekends when my normal schedule is thrown off. That pattern is something that I may not have recognized as quickly or as easily if I had not kept a consistent calendar. By recognizing that pattern, I was able to make plans and put tools in place that would help me win my battles on the weekends and other times when my schedule was disrupted.
Third, calendars create accountability.
One of the purposes of a calendar is to create a less confrontational way to check-in with those who want to know how you are doing. By posting your calendar in a public place (ex: on the fridge in the kitchen) anyone who wants to check up on your progress only has to wander to the kitchen.
Many who hear this idea instantly worry. They don’t want their children or younger siblings to know what they are struggling with. An easy way to work around this is to tell children or siblings that it is just a calendar for goals of personal improvement. Sometimes children enjoy each having their own “secret” calendar of goals that only they and their parents know.
Another form of accountability that calendars create is with yourself. One of the hardest parts about keeping a calendar is marking the days that you lose. However, you can’t have any accountability with yourself if you don’t mark those days that you lose.
After struggling to honestly keep my calendar for several years, I discovered that the reason I didn’t want to mark the days that I lost was because it hurt. I had to consciously acknowledge to myself that I had failed. And that hurts. But I found that acknowledging that pain can actually be a powerful motivator. When I acknowledge the pain that comes from failing, I gain a strong desire to not experience that again, which helps motivate me to do what I need to do to win.
This last principle is related to one I shared earlier. Those who mark their calendar honestly everyday tend to experience long term success. However, it seems to be that the number one sign that a successful warrior will begin losing battles again is when he stops marking his calendar.
Think about how much time, energy, and effort Satan puts into persuading you not to mark your calendar. Think about how hard he works to make you forget it, feel likes it’s worthless, persuade you that you don’t need it or that you can procrastinate starting one, or even that it’s just too hard. Now please consider, if Satan is working that hard to get you not to keep a daily calendar how powerful must this tool be and what can you accomplish if you harness that power?
This article was written by Bryton Peterson. Bryton is a Certified Personal Warrior Trainer and Life Coach at Life Changing Services and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling at Missouri State University. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Bryton for personal coaching you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Article originally posted at: https://fightinglikeadragon.blogspot.com/2019/06/its-just-number.html)