We need motivation to succeed at life. You will face many tests, but strong motivation will drive you to success no matter how tough times are. Whether you are losing weight, studying for exams, looking for work, or trying to earn more money, we need motivation to keep our eyes on the prize. This Motivation System is divided into seven weeks. Have you completed last week? This week we will focus on using progress reports as a valuable tool for self-motivation. Progress reports arouse and sustain motivation.
Progress reports show your journey to success from start to finish. You may update them as often as you wish – daily, weekly, monthly – to see a trend and identify what’s working and what isn’t. Reports are used by businesses to track profits and losses, websites to monitor visitors, and stores to determine which products are saleable. If reports work wonders for companies, why shouldn’t they work for people like you and me? We’re not creating billion dollar empires, but we’re still working towards success!
Here are three reasons why progress reports will maintain your motivation:
1. Trends and Accurate Predictions
The stock market shows the importance of trends when making a decision. You might be tempted to sell your shares if prices fall, but what if they rise afterwards? It would be better to assess historical reports before taking action.
People use trends to make accurate predictions. By looking at trends shown by reports, you’ll see the most likely outcome before you commit. This will keep you calm when the unexpected happens, for example, falling stocks could cause panic, but not if trends show the lows are followed by highs. These useful reminders to relax always sustain motivation when we’re tempted to give up and walk away.
2. Relive Successes
A progress report shows how far you’ve come. It doesn’t matter if your report is a basic graph or a motivation collage of photos. Either way, you’ll be reminded of the good times instead of the bad. When reports show great progress, look over your diary to see what method worked at the time. Even the smartest people don’t remember everything, so let your report remind you of effective means you’ve used to achieve success.
3. Deadline Reminders
The dates on your report show not only the past but the future. Seeing your achievements works well, but reminders of targets work even better. If you’re not on track to meet your goal date then you’ll know before it’s too late, and feel motivated to recommit.
Now you’ve decided to start your own progress reports, we must determine which type of report is suitable for your needs. Read the options below and see which one you prefer.
Here are some useful tools available to produce progress reports:
You’ll find commercial spreadsheet software (Microsoft Excel), free options (Open Office’s Calc), and on-line spreadsheets (GoogleDocs). Quality spreadsheets produce graphs (line/bar graphs, pie charts, etc). Look over these graphs to see trends and predict results. Always remember it’s just a prediction. If you prefer, join major websites to use their report software, for example, Sparkpeople stores your weight loss results automatically and lets you print them off. Check your favourite websites to see if they have similar software available.
Sometimes pictures have a greater impact than figures on a spreadsheet, for instance, seeing your weight loss on graphs is motivational, but seeing slimmer photos of you feels even better.
You could store progress pictures on your phone, computer, CDs, or use free on-line galleries like Photobucket. Be careful when you upload pictures to the internet. Unless you lock your galleries by making them password protected, everyone can access them. Everyone.
The easiest way to track progress is by keeping a diary. Diaries are more personal and heart-felt than reports and photos because they show the emotional, softer side of your journey. Graphs show the highs and lows, and photos are the Before and After, but your diary shows your thoughts progressing over time. The diary can be off-line and private or on-line and public. Restrict access to your diaries (on-line and off) unless you don’t mind having readers and possibly comments.
I know keeping a diary might seem hard, but it’s easier than you think. Add entries when you feel like it instead of sticking to a rigid schedule. You don’t have to write pages upon pages, just a paragraph or two for future reference is fine. If you’ve got writer’s block then leave the entry for now or look back over your previous entry. Update on the progress you’ve made since then. It’s motivating when your previous entry focused on a tough period you’ve overcome.
I suggest a combination of all three forms of progress reports. Combined, they stimulate your motivation in different ways: factually (spreadsheets), visually (photos), and emotionally (diaries). Update each report according to your mood, for example, if you’re not in the mood to write a diary entry then take a photo instead.
1. Progress Reports show trends, past successes, and deadlines.
2. Spreadsheet software is easy to use and widely available.
3. Picture galleries are visually stimulating motivation.
4. Diaries are emotional motivation.
5. Combine spreadsheets, photos, and diaries to boost motivation!
When you are ready, move on to next week.