Using Benchmarks to Find Success
Whenever I think about benchmarks, it takes me back several years to a time when I was determined to set and reach some solid personal goals.
For ten plus years, each winter I would design and create a convention booth for the annual homeschool circuit. Planning began right after the Christmas holidays, and by February we would hit the road for a season of travel.
Some years, I packed up the entire family, and we traveled to over forty states. Other years, as conventions waned in size, I’ve traveled alone or with just my husband or a child.
Life on the road can be fun, but year after year I grow older, and sitting in a car for three days out of the week has taken its toll. Eating out for months on end, high sodium and high fat, as well as late-night eating and dehydration are common themes among vendors.
One year, I decided to take the year off, and I was thrilled! I was able to spend time with my grandbabies, my kids, and my garden, as well as time with my most amazing husband!
With full enthusiasm, I began making goals. Yard projects, healthy eating, and getting sun on a daily basis. This was going to be a great year.
Creating goals of a beautiful manicured lawn or dropping two dress sizes is great, but for me, it would end there if I didn’t create a plan of action. And you know what a plan of action needs? Solid benchmarks.
Creating Benchmarks for Reaching My Goal
Each of us has a system that works best for us, and when an idea or a need comes about, we take the initial goal and begin a plan of action.
For some of us, this plan of action is a simple checklist of the largest bullet points; for others it’s a detailed hourly or daily list to achieve a goal.
For me, I found that writing down a goal is helpful, but unless I write down benchmarks that keep me on track to obtain the goal, I rarely remember to follow through.
When I attempt to drink eight glasses of water each day, along with daily yoga, cardio, and weights, I find success when I write down weekly benchmarks. From there, I create each day’s regime, established to help me reach my weekly benchmarks, and cross each item out as I complete it. This allows me to review at the end of the week and see where I was successful and where I struggled.
For projects like the yard and gardening, I can create also break the big goal down into weekly benchmarks that ensure I’m making progress. Then, I lay out a step-by-step to-do, planning out about a week at a time. The key is being realistic about how much can be accomplished in a day and then scheduling appropriately, similar to planning for school!
When it comes to taking time for myself, I try to plan at least one thing a week that is just for me. A movie, reading forty minutes a day while getting a little sun, taking time to shop alone, or enjoying a coffee shop visit to read or catch up on social media. Taking time for me has proven beneficial for the whole family.
Finding what works is as individual as our fingerprints! The methods we use to create benchmarks are not a one-size-fits-all ideal. Instead, it’s “try and see how it goes.” If it works, great! If not, try something different. Perhaps the refrigerator post-it notes or alerts on your phone work; whichever works best, do what works for you!
And don’t forget about double duty. While planting in the yard, I can get sun!
When you add benchmarks to your goals, it’s amazing how much more you can accomplish and see things progress. I’m seeing it in my yard every day this spring, and that makes my heart happy!
Turning goals into action through benchmarks comes naturally to some but can be more of a challenge for others. Which is it for you? Wherever you fall on the spectrum, our Planner Personality Quiz can help you discover the best way to capitalize on your planner personality strengths and turn goals into manageable actions!