Scoring Your Way to Success
We talk a lot about setting goals because as the famous Ben Franklin quote goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." And we at BCR are passionate about helping people succeed! ®
Today, I want to talk about one of the tools that can help you track your progress toward any goal: a scorecard.
Why you need to keep score
If you've ever read a book on how to achieve things or worked with a personal or business coach, you are familiar with the concept of keeping up with a score of some sort. It's about breaking your goals down into specific actions that, if taken, will lead to the achievement of your goal, and tracking those actions.
When you have the right kind of scorecard, you can look at it at any time and know how well you're progressing toward reaching your goal. This kind of tracking can help you stay focused and motivated after the initial excitement of setting a great goal wears off. It can also help you identify the effects that making adjustments to the things you're tracking can have on your overall results.
For example, I want to get in better condition for a race I want to run, so I'm keeping up with a scorecard to track these things every day:
- how fast I run five miles
- my heart rate when I'm running
- how many steps I take
- how many hours I am active
- how much sleep I get
- what I eat and drink
Because I keep a fitness scorecard, I can see how it impacts my running performance if I get more or less sleep than usual, or eat more or less of certain foods or water, etc.
A financial scorecard
The same concept applies to planning for retirement. Your net worth and total value are important factors in being ready to retire. The way to score yourself, in this case, is to keep up with things like:
- how much you work and earn
- how much you save and spend on a monthly basis / quarterly basis
- how much debt you have
- how much you have saved for your goals
- what income will you receive in retirement
If you track these things on a financial scorecard, you can see how adjustments to each of these items impact your long-term results.
Let's look at net worth, for instance. While it's important to be debt-free at retirement, you can build a higher net worth over a period of time by investing properly rather than paying down low-interest debt. Being able to see how different courses of action will affect your outcome will help you make wise choices that will help you reach your overall retirement goal.
Scoring made easy
Whatever you want to score yourself on, there's (probably) an app for that! Apps like Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, and Weight Watchers are great ways to track your diet, health, and fitness. You can use Credit Karma to track your credit score, and any number of money management and budget apps to track your spending and saving.
In some cases, however, you also need the expert help of a coach if you want to understand the impact certain actions will have over the long term. For example, if you are a business owner or manager, a business coach like mine can help you develop a scorecard that will help you reach, and even exceed your business goals. If you want to be in the best possible shape for retirement, you'll need the help of a professional financial advisor to help you understand how the choices you make now will impact your retirement readiness.
Whatever goal you're working toward in any area of life, develop a method for tracking the individual metrics you must monitor to reach it. Keeping a scorecard can not only help you see how you're doing, but it can also keep you motivated when the going gets tough and the end result is hard to keep in focus. It's an indispensable tool in helping you maximize your results.