measure progress

How to Measure Progress Without Using Numbers

How do you measure progress without numbers?

Isn’t it said of goals that they must be measurable? How do you know if you’re making progress, if you don’t have a way to measure?  

Weigh ins. Calories in, calories out. Running pace. Finish place. Bike miles. Followers and likes. Birthdays and anniversaries. We measure progress by numbers in so many areas of our lives. 

But numbers don’t tell us everything…about our body or our social media following.  

I’m not going to talk business or social media here, but I do want to address healthy living and how to measure progress without a focus on the number on the scale or a dress size or the nutrition label. 

Let’s first get one thing out of the way: Education is important. Our medical condition is important. There are likely a few times and circumstances when it’s necessary to educate yourself about the nutritional value of a food or when your doctor needs your weight to accurately prescribe a medication or treatment. Those situations are few and far between, but I’m not here to debate that. This is to help you get away from defining your worth by numbers and begin focusing on how healthy feels. 

It's time to shift away from how healthy looks to how healthy feels. This starts by learning to measure progress without using numbers. #faithandfitness #healthylife Share on X

So, how do we measure progress without numbers on our healthy living journey?

The first thing we must do is make a shift from thinking about what healthy looks like (or what we think healthy looks like) to how healthy feels.  

Your healthy living journey is your journey. This means you must keep your eyes on your own paper. Doing that helps us stop the comparison game. If we measure progress based on how we feel instead of numbers on a scale then we must get in tune with our body. This forces us to get to know ourselves. Making this shift takes time. It requires intention.  

Some questions to help measure progress without using numbers. #progressnotperfection #healthylivingjourney Share on X

The following questions can help you make this shift.

  • Did I sleep well?
  • How do my clothes fit?
  • How do I feel in my clothes?
  • Am I drinking enough water?
  • Did I move my body in a way that felt good?  
  • Do I have consistent energy throughout the day?
  • What am I thinking about?  
  • Did I go a day, or even a few hours, without thinking about your weight, your body, what you’ll  eat, when you’ll exercise?
  • What words do I use towards yourself?
  • How was my quiet time?
  • Am I eating to satisfaction and not feeling stuffed all the time?

When you can go through these questions and answer them in a positive way, you are making progress.  

Living a healthy life doesn’t mean achieving a certain dress size or number on a scale. Living a healthy life means that you can show up as the best version of yourself now, at this age and stage of life, and do what God has called you to do right now.

  • Are you a mom or a grandma? Can you care for your children and play with your grandchildren. Can you carry them when needed and get up and down from the floor when you play with them?
  • Are you a businesswoman? Can you get through your workday without needing a nap or three cups of coffee in the afternoon to survive?
  • Are you a wife? Can you go out with your husband and speak confidently to yourself without comparing with other women?  
Definition of a healthy life - showing up at this age and stage of life and being able to do what God has called you to do right now. #yourbestnow #bestversionofyou Share on X

Sometimes it seems like it might be easier to focus on the numbers to measure progress. Taking a “no numbers” approach to healthy living requires more of us than restricting food or increasing our exercise minutes. But, when we measure progress without numbers, we learn who we really are. We are able to make change and progress that is sustainable. When you’re feeling better inside, it naturally shows on the outside…in our countenance, in our interactions with others, and even in our body.  

I challenge you to ditch the numbers…the scale, the calorie counts, the tape measure…whatever it is that is driving you, even if for a week or two, and simply focus on you. Focus inward. Monitor how you’re feeling. Use this checklist at the end of each day.  

When you measure progress based on how you feel, it’ll change everything!  You’ll start living in freedom. You’ll become more confident in who you are and how you’re caring for yourself. As a result, you’ll become the best version of you, the you of this age and stage of life.

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