What’s The Score? | Keeping Track Of Personal Progress

Do you know this? Busy all day, tired in the evening (or around noon πŸ˜• ), next day the same, and the following day, and the day after…wondering WHY, because all that busy-ness never seems to lead to anything, at least not to anything of importance.

Dreams are lost on the way, occasional enthusiasm drowns in a workload which has only significance as far as quantity is concerned.

I have been living like this for years. No, not living. Existing. And it seemed normal to me, as most people around me existed the same way. It was so normal that I didn’t even question this lifestyle, until, well, until I couldn’t keep it up any longer. After several warnings (which I pushed aside, of course) I broke down completely. My strong will (or stubbornness, as I would call it) which used to supply me with sufficient energy to move from one day to the next was broken.

With the help of family and friends I recovered enough to decide on a radical change (in that case it was moving country and cutting off most connections to my former life – and no, I would NOT recommend it, there are much easier and more fun ways of turning one’s life around). This sudden change threw me off balance, but revived my stubbornness which resurfaced and kept me afloat. I began to heal.

Then just a few years later, I found myself in the same treadmill again, in a different country, with a different job, but nevertheless I recognized old patterns slowly reappearing.

And that was the point of change: This time I was conscious of what was happening.

Could I prevent my life from getting worse again? No, I couldn’t (although it didn’t get quite as bad). I was only aware of it, just enough to make me question and compare.

Eventually I began to connect the dots, and as I did other pieces started falling into place. I began to see my mistakes AND how to do it better, next time.

Β Progress consists, not in the increase of truth, but in freeing it from its wrappings. The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn’t gold.

Leo Tolstoy

“Next time” came. Did I manage? You bet πŸ™‚

I started creating my own toolbox, a collection of ideas,Β  techniques and reminders I came across (including other people’s experiences plus my own as a teacher), how I applied them, and what worked best in which situations. This toolbox, by the way, is my main source material for The Enermazing Project.

But despite this great variety, my three top “tools” were and still are:

  • Trust that the best possible will happen – whatever that may be
  • Replenishing my energy reservoirs with joy and fun – every day
  • Keeping trackΒ of my progress and relapses – a simple scorecard does the trick
dartboard with darts

what's the point of throwing darts at life when you don't keep track of your progress?

This last tool is what I had in mind when I started writing this post:

Keeping track – of life progress and relapses

  • of how weΒ  spend our time – not as a time card, noting activities and their duration, but how often our thoughts and actions refill our energy reservoir or contribute to our dreams
  • of how often we think the same thoughtsΒ – over and over again, without taking any action
  • of habitual behaviour – recurrent problems and actions and reactions which happen “automatically”
  • of what we wish for during a day
  • last but not least, of how often our trust in life is rewarded by “things” turning out right or even better than we expected

What are you favourite life tools? How do you keep track of your personal progress – or, how do you know you advance in the “right” direction?

Stay on track πŸ™‚

Maria

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13 responses to “What’s The Score? | Keeping Track Of Personal Progress

  1. Thanks for sharing! It’s an energizing post because it serves as reminder to stay concious of what is going on within and to keep track.

    The other day, I noticed I was in the exact pattern I had when working in the corporate world: putting pressure on myself to do a myriad of things at the same time. I stopped and saw how insane this was as I was feeling unbalanced, and we now work from home, so the pressure was not necesary; it was all mental. It took the noticing, to shift out of this unresourceful state.

  2. Oh no, Maria, I’m so worn out right now I can’t really respond…but I did get to watch myself get tired over the past 2 days, wanting to be able to do more than was realistic, hoping to help more kids than there was time for, not accepting limitations of time and energy…and progressing toward worn out…at least I saw it. Now to learn to shift out of that pattern…but seeing it’s a start… : ) I’m so thankful to be home for the next 3 days and to have time to restore energy and balance…

    • Enjoy your time-out! Relaxed and refreshed, you are much more likely to come up with creative ideas of “how to do it different next time” πŸ™‚

  3. john tugano

    I’ve been there and done that already.If you were not courageous enough to change what was going wrong in your life or in your lifestyle then it would just happen all over again..falling into the same mistake again..Sometimes we knew what was the root cause of our problem but in times we lose conviction to fight for it not to happen again..Good thing that at least you have now guidelines what to do if the same problem occur…

    nice post..

    • Thank you, John πŸ™‚ At the time (the first time), I don’t think I was courageous…it seemed more like the only option left – or rather, I had reached a point where nothing mattered. In hindsight, it was a good move, literally, but gentle changes are more easier to balance and manage. Unfortunately we often don’t see “it” coming, or don’t want to see πŸ˜‰

  4. Maria – that is a fantastic post – very honest and constructive – I love the idea of your toolbox. Often we create our own problems by how we approach the challenges life throws at us but sometimes I think we are faced with (buried under?) problems that arrive at our doorsteps either unforeseen or absolutely outside of our control. Viktor Frankl said – β€œWhen we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
    Which I think is amazing – and completely true – but I still find it a big struggle.

    At the back of the edition of Man’s Search for Meaning, that I read, Viktor Frankl talks about an elderly rabbi who was sent to consult with him after the death of his beloved wife.
    The old man was lonely and heartbroken and unable to recover from the loss of his wife. Viktor Frankl listened to him as he spoke about his long and happy marriage and then asked him what would have happened if he had died before his wife. The rabbi immediately answered that she would never have been able to cope alone.

    This realisation changed everything for the old man. His new perspective gave a purpose, a ‘meaning’, to his loneliness and sadness. Instead of just being sad he could from then on see his suffering as worthwhile as it spared his beloved the same pain.

    Life is complex and sometimes it’s complicated as well, so I think being able to get any perspective is vital. For me, as well, I think I always look for meaning – it isn’t always available but I do always try. I suppose that’s a ‘tool’ that I use.

    Well done.

    • The idea that we can “control” (as in “exerting power”) is, in my mind, one of the biggest and most basic problems of humans, as it inevitably leads to tension, struggle, anger, fear and so on.

      Whereas the idea of “managing” – by, for instance, changing perspective, attitude, approach/method – brings instant relief and opens the mind for alternatives, as well demonstrated by Frankl and the rabbi.

      Looking for meaning is one of the important life tools, and I agree, meaning can be pretty evasive. But seeing “things” in context helps a lot in finding one’s direction πŸ™‚

      Thank you for your deatailed comment πŸ™‚

  5. Your story told how throwing everything away and moving did not make a difference. It was only when you started acting differently that you started making a difference.

    By changing what we are doing right here and right now, (giving more, focusing on the positive, etc) we realize that we *do* have time to lead a better life.

    Kudos!

    • I can’t find the exact quote, but it’s something like “Whereever you go, you always take yourself with you”. What that means in practice I found out only years after I moved πŸ˜‰

      “Lack of time or money” is certainly not an excuse for lacking quality of life or happiness, as both depend on how we deal with lack, and what we do to overcome our other problems or challenges.

      Thank you, Eric πŸ™‚

  6. You moved countries too? I know this so well and my gauge or compass is always how I’m responding to events around me… As for the rest, I trust in effort=outcome=grace. πŸ™‚ Great post!

  7. Thank you, Eliz πŸ™‚
    According to my grandmother, I have been looking for “my own country” since I was four years old πŸ˜‰
    Your life tool is a great combination, as it works 3 x 3 times as well as each on its own!
    Btw, I don’t know if you noticed but I took your tip and have started adding links to the quotes. Thanks!

  8. Pingback: Positively Facing Fears | Purpose and Dream

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