How to Measure Progress Towards a Goal

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The first step to finishing a project or improving the quality of something is setting goals. Goals should be directly aligned with project deliverables and should be agreed upon before the project begins. Making progress toward any goal also means developing a way to measure progress. The best performance indicators have both an efficiency and productivity component.

Develop two Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are great for determining a way to measure your progress. Common KPIs have time or distance as the denominator, but ultimately it depends on the goal.

Develop a goal statement. A goal statement will tell you what your ultimate goal is, as well as any other considerations such as time. For instance, let's say you have a goal to lose 20 pounds in six months.

Determine the denominator. The best denominator for a goal with a time frame is time. In this case we will use days.

Determine the numerator. The best numerator is a measure of the thing you are trying to measure. In this case, we can use pounds (lbs). So at least one of our KPIs will be pounds per day (lbs/day) or how many pounds are you losing per day.

Do a sanity check. While pounds per day is a way to measure weight loss, the number of pounds lost over the total cumulative number of days on the diet might be a more meaningful measure. Another KPI can look at calories burned per day. Another metric can be the number of pounds left to go (20 - "total pounds lost") or simply "total pounds lost". Select at least three metrics that you can track over time that will help to measure your progress.

Set regular intervals to re-calculate the metrics. In this case, you might want to check the metrics once a month for the next six months. Each month, state how far you are away from your goal, as well as how close you are to achieving your goal compared to your goal statement.


About the Author

Working as a full-time freelance writer/editor for the past two years, Bradley James Bryant has over 1500 publications on eHow, and other sites. She has worked for JPMorganChase, SunTrust Investment Bank, Intel Corporation and Harvard University. Bryant has a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Florida A&M University.

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