Tracking Achievement Goals and Habit Goals

Transcript (edited from

Whenever I’m making a change, I want to keep track of both the lag metric or achievement metric towards my goals and the lead metric or habit metric and whether or not I’m practicing those habits towards my goals.

When we work together, we’re going to define an achievement metric. In my case I’m working to reduce my coffee consumption and the lag metric or achievement metric I’m using is just to make sure that my weight stays stable since my goal is actually a habit goal. I want to see whether the habit is going to support my weight staying stable.

I like to think of those habits as being more additive or replacement versus negating. When we define a habit, I’m looking for a replacement habit to drinking coffee.

In my case, my target is six eight-ounce glasses of water. Now that’s probably a little low. It doesn’t mean that’s the only beverages I’m drinking, but that’s what I’m targeting – six eight-ounce glasses of water.

If I get all six, I put a V in. If I’ve made at least a go of it, I’ll put in a P. When I’m feeling really motivated I can put in a comment.

Let’s say that on the 11th day I managed to get three glasses of water. I put in the p and then I can insert a comment so I can see how many I actually got that day from this information.

I created some dashboards. Here, we are looking at how many days I’ve managed to practice that habit and whether I’ve been more successful doing it partially or managing to get the entirety of the habit done.  I still want to give credit for the attempt. I think that’s really important.

If I refresh this, I can see that in month one I’ve done it six times all the way and then four times partially. I can also see the number of days practicing the habit.

I can look at trends. If I refresh this, I can see whether or not I’m being more or less successful.

If I’m having a harder time sometimes doing the habit in its entirety, we can then discuss where the struggle is or where the challenges and what we can do to mitigate that.

Then we can look at achievement habits or the achievement metric that we’ve set for ourselves and look at trend lines for that. I think really being able to see how you’re doing with your habits and how you’re doing towards your goals is really motivating. I hope this helps.


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I’m Writing a Book!

(Two actually….but this one will appear first.)

I’m writing Personal Change Planning – Deciding What to Pursue and Shrinking the Gap Between Desired State and Future State (working title).

Over the next month – I will be sharing case studies and facilitation techniques using the Change Planning Model I am developing.

The book promotion is from October 1 — October 30. My goal is 500 pre-orders.

More details on the book, an outline, progress, and a sample chapter will be available at starting 8am ET October 1, 2018. Check the link below.

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How to Measure the Life Impact of a Change

Transcript (edited from

Like most coaches, we’re going to work with the wheel of life.

There’s going to be a couple of key differences though between how you and I are going to work together with this versus other coaches.

First – I wanted to make sure you could see how whatever area you’re focusing on impacts the other areas of your life because it’s going to impact other areas of your life.

What we’re going to do is work together to define how you see the areas of your life. We’ll start with this rough template.

We’re going to wind up ultimately with between five and 10 areas. Then, we’re going to work together to define which area you’re going to focus on for the 12 weeks and also which area we need to keep an eye on to make sure that it at least stays stable. We don’t want that area impacted.

For instance, over the past three months, I’ve been working on putting together this coaching practice, so I’ve been very focused in this work and education area. It was important to me to not impact my relationships negatively. So the area I’m keeping an eye on is relationships.

I’m not working to improve them necessarily. I just don’t want them to get any worse. Thankfully I’ve got really solid relationships with my family and friends. I’m very grateful for that. Work and education has been my area of focus. Relationship is the thing I’m keeping an eye on to make sure that’s not negatively impacted, and then these other areas are going to improve or decrease depending on whatever else is happening. In the health and appearance area, my workout regimen hasn’t been terribly consistent because I’ve been spending more time on work and education.

These things happen. If you’re focusing on one area, other areas are going to be impacted. Hopefully not negatively, but that is a risk. You need to decide what you’re willing to tolerate. We’re going to make sure that all of that is very clear during the course of our engagement.

The other thing that we’re going to be keeping an eye on (and I’m going to click on this progress tab) is any trends because what we don’t want to have happen is, “I’ve been focusing on work to the complete detriment of my health and appearance.” You don’t want to go from a level four to level one, so we want to keep an eye on that.

I think by using a dashboard, it’s going to be easier for both of us to really see what’s going on. We can see trends and whether things are trending up or down. Also, we can see what the current overall changes are in the averages. This is one of the tools that we’ll be working with in the coaching practice. I hope this helps.

I have some free resources available that you may find useful. Each button will send you to a video and supporting PDF after requesting your email. Check “I would like to receive future communications” if you would also like to subscribe to my newsletter.

If you are looking for a safe space to practice new skills and you would like some help defining and creating a plan to implement important changes to the way you work or your career – go to  .

Following a North Star

The North Star analogy, to me, has two components.

The first component – an unattainable target.  One that, at least, has you walking in the right direction.

The second component – looking at your immediate environment to see how you can best walk in that direction.

Often, when I hear people talk of “Following their North Star,” I get an image of someone marching through a desert.

There are not many obstacles.  It’s pretty clear sailing. They can keep looking up at their star without the fear of walking into a wall or tripping on a curb.

The reality, in my experience, is more like navigating through varied terrain.

Yes, there are clear spots where you can keep looking up and not worry so much about falling or crashing into things.

But there are also areas where you need to bushwhack.

Or go east to find a clearer path. Or move west to find a better place to cross the raging river.

Navigating by using a North Star is an exercise in finding the star, looking at what is in front of you, maneuvering the next right step, finding the star again, looking at what is in front of you, maneuvering the next right step, rinse, repeat.

It winds up being more of a zig-zag path filled with backtracks and detours vs. a nice, linear multi-lane superhighway.

The journey demands a clear focus on the north star AND the agility to maneuver the terrain in front of us.

Focusing back and forth between near and far-sighted.

Stopping to evaluate and check our navigation occasionally.

#52books The 12 Week Year

#52 Books – The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Format: Hardcover

Brian Moran and Michael Lennington’s main argument is that we need to think in terms of quarters vs annually when it comes to evaluation and goal-setting.

It’s not the argument that is most compelling – any project manager or manager familiar with Agile, Scrum, and Sprints can tell you the power of thinking in small, achievable chunks.

What I find compelling in this book are Brian Moran and Michael Lennington’s choice of definition of accountability and their emphasis on the importance of aligning one’s business/career vision to their personal vision (and NOT the other way around – which is what most of us do), and their steps for creating a plan one can actually use.

  • Accountability – Moran and Lennington take their definition of accountability straight from Peter Kosterbaum and Peter Block’s Freedom and Accountability at Work: Applying Philosophic Insight to the Real World (Amazon affiliate link). Accountability = ownership.  Accountability = personal sovereignty.  Accountability, according to this definition, is NOT something someone else does to you or can do for you.  Your managers claim to “hold you accountable.” What they are doing is trying to motivate you to do something for them that you may or may not have taken ownership of.  This alternate definition forces one to look in the mirror and take responsibility for one’s choices.  I don’t know which is scarier.
  • The importance of aligning your business/career to your LIFE – If you are being externally motivated to do things, how close is the alignment of your job to how you want your life to look. If the business/career goal doesn’t align with your life vision, how inspired are you to work towards the goal?  How quickly are you going to give up, or do something else, or find another distraction?
  • Creating an actionable plan you have a fighting chance of following – As with many of the authors I’ve encountered of late, they insist on vision, focus, measurement, and getting VERY honest with yourself if you are not following the plan you laid out.

The first part of the book is theoretical.  The second part of the book is the step-by-step.

In the second part, they divide the practical application into individual and team considerations. For each, they include pitfalls and tips.  It’s obvious these two know what they are talking about from their troubleshooting tips.

This book nicely bridges the gap between The Perfect Day Formula, which is focused on defining the perfect day and week for individual execution, and The 4 Disciplines of Execution, which is more focused on team applications and longer-term execution.

#52books The Elite Consulting Mind

#52books The Elite Consulting Mind: 16 Proven Mindsets to Attract More Clients, Increase Your Income, and Achieve Meaningful Success (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Format: Kindle

I’m reading books on mindset these days.

I’m a firm believer in the adage that your environment and your life reflects you.

Now that I’m independent, the truth of that adage is even more evident.

It’s critical that I have my head screwed on straight.

That I’m congruent in my thoughts, words, and actions – to the best of my ability.

I’m open to any tools that will help.

Michael Zipursky has identified common mindset gaps he’s identified over the course of his consulting practice.

Everything from mistaking planning for action to undervaluing your experience to trying to do too much – he addresses the majority of the most common mistakes.  Those mistakes are a result of mindset.

I’ve personally fallen into all the traps.

The book is part of a sales funnel for his consulting business – the next step he wants you to take is joining his Accelerator Coaching Program.   I’ve used coaches myself and having that level of accountability is helpful, especially when trying to level-up or doing something new and scary.

The book, however, can stand alone as an introduction to common consulting traps.

#52books Born to Win

#52 Books – Born to Win: Find Your Success

Format: Softcover

Zig Ziglar is your classic, old-school sales trainer.  Get beneath the 70s era salesguy persona and the Southern Baptist preacher delivery and you find that there is a reason why his work remains a classic.

When I was growing up, Mom was a real estate agent, a broker, and telecommunications sales manager (beepers, anyone?). Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, and Dale Carnegie were all in heavy rotation in Mom’s cassette deck in the 80s and early 90s.  My younger brother took these involuntary lessons from our rides in the car and ran with them in his adulthood.

My natural state is reclusive academic, so it is only now that I am realizing how useful these teachings are.

Born to Win is Ziglar’s final book. This book distills the teachings from his entire career, with his son’s addition of a business model for entrepreneurs and business leaders.

I started to put together my Meaningful Flow service before I read this book. Seeing Ziglar’s model – plan to win by clarifying your objectives, prepare to win by increasing your skills and developing your map, and expect to win by doing the work and keeping your attitude positive – was incredibly validating.

The fundamentals of Ziglar’s work boils down to

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what THEY want.”

Everything Ziglar presents is to support you in helping others.

To successfully help others, Ziglar argues, you need to build a personally strong foundation of values and purpose. The values he recommends: honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty.  If you read across the spectrum of leadership literature – you will see variations on this theme.  Fundamentally, it helps to be strong and clear internally before one can truly make an impact on his or her environment.

Knowing my values and why I am doing something helps me make decisions. It helps me evaluate and reflect on my interactions.  Being able to ask – “Can I help them get what THEY want?  Did I succeed in doing so?” – provides a good metric for my performance with clients.

Underneath that question, “Can I help them get what THEY want?” is an evaluation of whether the client and I are a match.

– Do I understand what they want?

– Do we share values and purpose within that understanding?

– Do I have the skills to help them?

If all 3 are a resounding “yes” – then we are in for a great relationship.

If one is a “no” – the best thing I can do is try to point them in the right direction and see if I can find someone in my network who is a better fit.

Growing up, I saw Ziglar as the consummate salesman, teacher of closing techniques, and the type of guy to avoid like the plague. Ask my former co-workers about my reputation for terrorizing vendor reps.

After reading Born to Win, I’ve finally realized that there was more depth to Ziglar’s message than I ever gave him credit for.

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#52books Find Your Why

#52books Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Format: Kindle

This book is the “how-to” for Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker give incredibly detailed instructions for facilitating what they call “Why Discovery” and provide instructions for finding a personal “why” and finding a team/organizational “why.”

They talk in detail about potential pitfalls and failure points, particularly when trying to do this yourself (not recommended) or if you are working within an organization that is so dysfunctional that it is hard to have a civil conversation.

They also noted that directly asking for “why” may trigger emotional resistance.  Instead, it’s best to come at it sideways – asking more “what” and “how” questions.  Asking “why” tends to trigger an emotional, occasionally defensive, response.  I’ve seen that in my own practice, so it was nice to have that impression validated.

I’m impressed that they were willing to provide the entire how-to guide for their team workshop, including time codes facilitation tips, exercises, and question pools.

If you haven’t read or purchased Start With Why, I would recommend watching Sinek’s original TED talk, then purchase Find Your Why instead.  This book is the result of almost 10 years of practice in this space and provides everything you need for you and your team to determine your “why.”

Let me help you find your why!

Subscribe to the newsletter and I will send you a free PDF to help you with personal prioritization.

I hope you can join me on this journey!