One of the hardest things to measure is change. Whenever we are not happy with something in our life, we want to change it. But then, sometimes for years, we look in the mirror and we can’t notice the changes we go through. Only while looking at snapshots from last year do we notice the changes. We are different, but we feel the same.
Have you ever looked at photos of people from your high school reunion and through “They look the same, but somehow different”?
Gal (my husband) and I looked at some photos of our high school reunion (which we have missed – poor us!). Some of our friends had glasses, some were bold, some “grew sideways”, some looked older and we realized that we must look the same to them, the same but different.
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them
George Bernard Shaw
Before and After snapshots
It is the same with any change. We can only notice it when we compare the “before” and “after”. So a good way to notice change is to take “snapshots” of our life and compare them with older ones as we go along. Whenever you want to change something and you actively work towards it, it is a good idea to have a recording technique. This way, achievement is measurable and easier to reach.
Feelings are the hardest to measure. People say that measuring happiness is especially hard. Yes, it is hard, but not impossible.
The easiest and most effective way to measure the change in feelings, is to have a journal. In order to have a good “snapshots” of before and after, it is wise to start the journal before starting to change.
Dedicating 2-3 minutes a day to writing your thoughts, desires, successes and frustrations in a journal can give you an excellent overview of your mindset, vocabulary and thinking patterns. Write by hand, type and print, mark with colors, add drawings, paste stickers or do whatever you like, just keep your impressions of each “now”.
Many of our clients say that so many things changed in their thinking patterns after 1 session that they missed some of them by not starting the journal before coaching. After all, the greater the change, the bigger the celebration.
In education, “snapshots” are an essential tool in motivating children. Every child’s progress is measured relative to his or her previous achievements. Growth is the name of the game.
Brian Tracy emphasizes in his books, seminars and talks that if we are dedicated to improvement, as small is it may seem, when compounded over a month or a year, produces noticeable change in the results. He recommends setting daily progress goals in several areas, which we think will lead to our desired results.
So we need a separate “snapshots” for each area of life. Divide and conquer. For example, if you want to feel good about your work, split “work” into 5-10 sections that might influence your feeling, like: the hours of work, relationship with boss, relationship with colleagues, level of how interest, commuting, stress level, money/rewards, time off/flexibility, etc.
Track every aspect of your life
If you want to improve your relationships and the way you handle people, split that to: love life, parents, siblings, friends, children, boss, colleagues, employees, customers, suppliers, etc.
If each area seems too big and overwhelming still, break each of the sections into smaller ones. For example: when managing stress at work, you can monitor the number of times you ignored or deleted something.
You can monitor the number of times you delegated work, the number of times you did something important right away and did not procrastinate, the number of times you stopped to take a deep breath or look out the window, the length and quality of your lunch break, etc.
After “chunking down” the challenge, but before making any changes, score each “chunk” from 0 to 10. Ask yourself “How happy am I with my performance in this area?”
How happy I am with my hours of work? – 7
How happy I am with my relationship with my boss? – 10. I LOVE my boss (that’s me…)
This snapping technique is easy to use for comparison after making a change. All you need to do is score each area again and compare the “before” with “after”.
Remember, the changes you make should make you happy, so you will want to notice and monitor your success. Dedicate yourself to small improvements.
Every mountain is made from tiny grains of rock and soil. Every ocean is a collection of raindrops. As you take your steps to happiness, stop from time to time to take a snapshot of the scenery!
Be Happy in LIFE!