What Gets Measured Gets Managed

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

If a goal is important to you then you need to track your efforts in achieving it. It doesn't matter what the goal is. It can be as personal as making sure you're calling a relative once a week or as world-changing as winning a Nobel Prize.

Tracking your activity will keep you focused on the goal and keep you accountable during the inevitable ups and downs that come with the pursuit of any long term goal. 


The best tracking system is the one that works for you. Tracking helps you overcome a number of "cognitive biases" (see those here ----> "cognitive biases") that humans have and allows you to create data from the beautiful chaos that is daily life. It gives you an objective way to see if you are working on your goals.

Just like buying a gym membership doesn't get you in shape, writing down a goal doesn't accomplish that goal.

Let's stick with the gym membership analogy because being physically healthy is the one goal we believe everyone should have. If you've taken our course, Harness the Power of Planning, then you know that one of the things we work to do is to unwind all the "shoulding" that gets piled on caregivers from society/culture/our families, you name it! However, if you aren't healthy -- mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually -- it makes it hard to work on your other goals, which is why it's our only "should".

So back to the gym membership. Let's say you have a goal of running a marathon in the next two years and currently you are not doing any activity. Then this is what we'd recommend:

  • 24 months from now: do a marathon
  • 12 months from now: Join a marathon training group
  • 10 months from now: run a 10K
  • 6 months from now: run a 5K
  • 3 months from now: run a mile without stopping
  • This week and every week until the 3 month mark: At least 4 days a week go outside and jog until you can't jog anymore and then walk until you are breathing normally, and do that a few times until you are able to run a mile without stopping.

So what are you tracking in all this? How often you run every week with the goal of running at least 4 days a week. You might adjust this as your endurance improves or as your training changes.

Some goals require tracking on an almost daily basis. These include goals such as exercise, hydration, eating healthy, working on your business, wake up and sleep times, taking supplements, etc. Other goals might only need to be tracked on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis. These might include things like date night, self-care rituals, vacations, or going out with friends.

Only you can decide how often you want to do something.


Natascha and I use a variety of different tracking systems.

  • I use a weekly tracker to track daily activity for both business and personal goals. This is built into my planner's weekly pages. If your planner doesn't have one, it's easy to draw one in. It's simply a grid with the days of the week along the top and the things you want to track along the left-hand side. If you do an internet search for "weekly habit tracker" you'll find lots of examples, printables, and products. You can also search for monthly or annual habit tracker as well.
  • I track things like date nights, mommy/daughter days, and self-care things like acupuncture/Korean spa trips in my 4-year calendar. All I do is write the letter "K" on the day of the month when I go to the Korean spa, and since this is something I love doing, I don't need a reminder. I sort of have an internal alarm for when it's time to go. But if things get busy and I'm feeling out of sorts, it's nice to look at the 4-year calendar in the front of my planner and I can see when my last spa day was. Things like date nights and mommy/daughter days get planned far in advance to ensure they happen. Our family does this in November for the following year, so these dates gets locked down early and then as they happen, I make a little mark on my 4-year calendar. We aim for bi-monthly date nights and quarterly days where my partner and I spend quality time alone with our daughter.
  • Once a week conversations with out-of-town friends and family gets captured in my monthly course corrects. Some planners have monthly reviews built in. We have our own template that you can get here ----> course correct template. I will notate my phone conversations under achievements for the month. Why are they achievements? Because they support my life goal of being a great family member! 
  • I track my macronutrients (vegetables, protein, carbs, fruit, healthy fats) using a customized quarter-page that I made which I simply tape into my planner's weekly layout. It's based on this tracker here----> 21 Day Fix tracker. I can fold it back to see my appointments, etc. behind it, but it keeps it very present for me by having it on my weekly page since this is the page my planner is open to 90% of the time. Tracking my macros is my way of controlling portions, because while I eat very healthy food, I'm not always great at making sure I get the correct amount of each macro, so this helps.
  • Natascha uses a post-it to track personal care habits like taking her supplements and flossing and she leaves them where she does those activities so they serve as reminders as well as habit trackers.

If you keep experimenting, you'll find the best thing that works for you. The reason why I like the pie chart macronutrients tracking that I can just color is is because 1) I don't like counting calories and 2) I don't like keeping a food log, so this allows me to avoid those things. Some times knowing what DOESN'T work for you is just as important as what does.

Don't give up. Keep experimenting and let us know when you feel like you've landed on a system. We love learning from what you're doing!

(BTW, if you like the habit tracker pictured in the photo above, you can find it here.