Home » 21 Day Mini-Course: Establish an Exercise Habit » Day 8: Measure Your Progress

Day 8: Measure Your Progress

measuring tape
“Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination.”
— Mark Twain

“If you look at a thing, the very fact of your looking changes it…if you think about yourself, that very fact changes you.”
— Robert Penn Warren


Another important aspect of successfully getting into a habit is measurement. What we measure, we improve. (Or “What gets measured gets done.”) For example, we know that when people weigh themselves every single day, they lose more weight than if they weigh themselves just once a week. This is because measurement drives awareness of behavior. For example, if you record everything you eat in a food journal, you’ll be much more aware of what you eat than if you weren’t diligently noticing and recording your food intake.

In this day and age, tracking or measuring our progress is easy. It’s so easy that we can sometimes get so caught up in the measurement of things that we spend more time playing with our recording devices than we do establishing our habits. Google the terms “quantified self” or “Health 2.0″ or “body-hacking” and you’ll find a huge amount of information about how people measure their every move. I like the apps Way of Life and TracknShare to track new habits, and I measure my walks and hikes (and all exercise) using an app called MapMyRun. If you find these techy ways to measure your progress fun, go for it. Otherwise, a piece of paper taped to the fridge will work!

HomeworkWhat To Do Today

Task #1: Use the page in your workbook called “Measure Your Progress” to set up a tracking system.

Task #2: Take your “Better Than Nothing” workout out for another spin. Does it feel ridiculously easy? If you really want to do more, go for it, but the very second that you feel any sort of resistance, please stop! Remember that you will eventually come to avoid what feels bad, and pursue what feels good. Keep your habit feeling good.

What’s next? We’ll work on ambition tomorrow.