Benchmarking Our Lives

Companies use benchmarking to identify the weaknesses within an organization and improve upon them, with the idea of becoming the “best of the best.” A retail manager will analyze sales, returns, profit margins, cost per square foot, and return on investment, comparing them to established benchmarks in order to make decisions about which promotions they want to repeat. Similarly, in order to be successful in life, we need to continually measure our own progress or lack of progress as it relates to whatever goals we have set for ourselves. If you have never sat down and really analyzed where you are and what you want to accomplish, then it’s not too late to start right now!

The first thing you need to do is define what you need to support you as an individual in order to be happy and content. For example, maybe you want to start exercising to lose weight and improve your heart health. Make sure your goals are achievable, specific and measurable so that there is true potential to accomplish them. Using our example, write this down as the first goal on your list: “I want to exercise,” then beside that goal make a list of all the things you need to do that will move you closer to achieving that goal: “sign up for a gym membership, enter gym dates on my calendar, visit doctor to get a stress test, walk every day for 20 minutes, buy a pedometer, recruit my friends to start a walking club, join a sports league, play tennis with my son once a week.” You get the idea, just list whatever comes to mind and in no particular order – you can sort out the order later or just check them off as you get parts of your goal done.

By breaking down your goals into manageable steps you will have clear direction and be able to focus on the details. The act of setting goals will make you think about your priorities and personal desires, as well as take into consideration other people and how they might be affected. If you face challenges to your goals, list these as well along with any solutions you may think of. The simple effect of setting a goal can empower you to believe in the outcome. Give it a try!

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