What size are your jeans?
(how do you feel in those jeans?)
What does the scale say?
(why does it matter?)
How many miles did you run – today? this week? this month? this year? Ever?
(or, how alive did you feel on that run?)
How much site traffic does your blog get?
(how much did that insightful and perceptive blog comment from a friend mean to you?)
How fast did you run/bike/swim that race?
(how proud were you to simply cross that finish line?)
They make the world go ’round.
…or do they? should they? why do they?
We are surrounded by numbers. Blog stats. Workouts completed. Miles run. Comments given. Comments received. Blogs in your RSS reader or on your blogroll. Sizes of your jeans, number on that scale.
…you get my point.
Numbers can be all-consuming. I’ve made it no secret that I can get a little crazy by numbers. Which is why I stopped keeping a workout log. And why I stopped food logging (yes, I log now, but more on that in a minute). And why I don’t closely track my run mileage week-to-week right down to the last decimal point (hence no “junk miles” up in here).
Numbers can also be an excellent tool – a progress report of sorts when working towards a specific goal. And that’s when I think numbers can be invaluable. When they’re used to track progress – but not to gauge success/failure. It’s a fine line, but an important one. Tracking progress means you’re working towards a goal and seeing positive changes that are pushing you closer and closer towards that magical finish line. Using numbers as the one, the only, indicator of success? I think that can quickly become a negative mind game.
Let’s take that food log thing as an example. For me – I started using the food log as a way to help me stay accountable as I worked towards the goal of completing the barre n9ne 60-day challenge. It was my measuring stick to help me figure out how to (successfully) eat for my (caloric) number and it helped me reach very important qualitative and quantitative goals.
…yes – I’ve lost two pants sizes and many inches since starting that challenge last May.
…but the more important goal for me – way beyond the size of those jeans?
…that I am confident and strong and sure of myself. Things you can’t measure with a scale or a measuring stick. Priceless in my book.
So what am I getting at with all of this numbers talk? I urge you all to take a really close look at how you track progress. Does everything *have* to be tied to numbers? Are there any progress reports you can gauge that take a more qualitative approach than quantitative? Hey – I’m not saying everyone needs to be just like me in their approach to numbers, I just think that we could all benefit from stepping back and re-evaluating now and then, yeah? Trust me, I know I’m not perfect and definitely no expert — I’m just sharing what’s been working really well for me…y’know, in case you’re looking for ideas. 😉
…and if you dig this topic as much as I do (based on the length of this blog post, clearly I do!), I’d love it if you’d join me for next Tuesday’s (Feb 7) FitBlog chat at 9pm ET. I’m moderating the discussion and am super excited to hear what you all have to say!