Once you’ve committed to making a change, the next hurdle is staying committed. One of the best ways of doing so is by knowing how to assess, “Am I making progress?” If you don’t realize the progress you’re making, you’re far less likely to feel motivated or that your efforts are worth it. Here is one of my two primary go-to strategies, which I often share with clients.
Think of this as “Am I making a DIFference?” which stands for: Duration, Intensity, Frequency.
While we often expect to make progress very quickly or obsessively compare our current state with the end result, instead, change often happens in little ways over time. If not attentive, you’ll miss these critical moments of celebration and confirmation that you’re exactly where you need to be. Here’s what to start noticing.
DURATION: How long?
Is the uncomfortable feeling or urge going away more quickly?
Ex: Instead of feeling anxious for 5 hours, you now only feel anxious for 1 hour.
Are you getting faster at catching and redirecting yourself?
Ex: You procrastinate for less time before getting to the task.
INTENSITY: How severe?
Is the uncomfortable feeling or urge less intense than before?
Ex: Your anxiety lasts just as long but instead of it being at an 8/10 it’s now only a 5/10.
Is your desire to quit, avoid or procrastinate getting less intense? Or, maybe you notice a stronger desire to stick to your goal behavior.
Ex: Your avoidance is just as frequent but instead of it being an 8/10 now it’s only a 5/10.
FREQUENCY: How often?
Is the uncomfortable feeling or urge happening less often?
Ex: Instead of feeling anxious every day, now it’s only every other day.
How often are you sticking to your new habit or behavior?
Ex: It still feels just as hard to get started but you are sticking to it more often.
You will hopefully notice changes in one area or the other until over time, you see these small shifts have accumulated into big changes across all three areas. To help you keep track, you may also choose to use an Activity or Habit Tracker. Either way, consistency is key so keep your eyes open to your progress!
Ready for another tool? Click here to read Part 2: Stages of Change.