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Measure for Mastery

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by David DeFord

A friend recently described how he and his friends dreamed of breaking the world’s pole-vaulting record. These eleven-year-olds retrieved the discarded, broken poles from the high school and practiced together.

They honed their skills until they could clear the bar at six feet. Not bad for boys their age using old, broken poles.

But then they made a decision that arrested their progress forever. They grew tired of landing on the fallen bar on their failed vaults—so they removed the bar. They continued to work on their form, but without the bar, they eliminated all possibility of progress.

Remove the measure and you remove the progress.

This principle applies to your goals. If you want to move in the direction of achieving your goals, you must continually measure your progress.

As you chart your progress, your excitement builds as you hit your targets. You also identify when you begin to hit a slump or begin to backslide. Lastly, in measuring you can know when you need to adjust your plan to get back on track.

As you measure your progress toward your goals, you can build a system that works best for you. Just remember to keep the recording of your progress simple—else you will not keep it up.

I like spreadsheets. I record my progress weekly on a spreadsheet I keep. But I also write my progress in my daily journal. This helps remind me of where I should place my focus.

I challenge you to begin to record your progress toward your goals today. Then as you clear one height, raise the bar and keep soaring higher.


You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own. Mark Victor Hansen

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Harold B. Melchart

If you focus on winning and attaining, you will win and attain. Brian Tracy

I strive to improve my writing by making it active. I strive to improve my life in the same way. David DeFord

My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out. Ronald Reagan

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To comment on this page, please email ddeford@ordinarypeoplecanwin.com

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