Improvement by Measuring

October 21, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

Some studies have shown that just about anything that you take time to measure or count on a regular basis tends to improve or get better.  If you keep track of and start measuring your financial net worth or you physical health for example, they will almost magically start to improve. Perhaps you’ve noticed this in your own life.  If you decide to lose a bit of weight and you write that goal down and start to track your progress on a daily or even just weekly basis you will probably see that you are making progress.

When I was just 27 years old I started calculating and measuring my financial net worth after setting a goal to hit a net worth of one million dollars by the time I was 30.  I began measuring my net worth every few months.  What happened?  Well, I must admit, that even though my measuring seemed to help lift my net worth I didn’t make the million by age 30.  I did, however, hit that magic million dollar mark by my 31st birthday. I didn’t think that was all too bad.

To test this theory of improving things by measuring, I recently bought a pedometer.  It’s a little inexpensive device that you can clip on your belt or pocket that counts every step you take. Then without even setting a goal for walking or running I starting observing how many steps I would take each day. I would then write down the total steps taken at the end of the day.  I was a little surprised that even without a goal, the total number of steps I took each day was generally greater than the previous day.  Wow.  That made me feel so good.  As most of us know, it’s critically important to stay active, even more so as you age. Movement is a kind of magic for the human body and essential if you care about staying young or at least feeling young.

The first few days I logged between 5,000 and 7,000 steps per day. But then, without consciously thinking about it, those steps per day increased to between 10,000 and 12,000 per day.  Wow. A couple weeks later I was stunned to see that I was consistently walking between 16,000 and 19,000 steps with some days hitting well over 20,000! And remember, most of that improvement, or maybe all of it, came from simply deciding to keep track. Perhaps it’s just being more aware of the activity—we already know awareness is a critical key to a successful life– or perhaps there’s some unconscious self-competitiveness going on or maybe a little of both, but whatever it is, it does work.

Why don’t you give it a try and see if it works for you?  Measure anything that’s important to you and those around you.  In fact for starters and as a way to prove the point to yourself, why don’t you go online right now and buy a pedometer and if you see that the simple measuring of steps, works then start measuring other things in your life. This whole concept brings to mind an old management saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. How true that turns out to be!