Tracking your progress

A HUGE mistake people make is being “confused” about how to achieve their goals.

This is just what your brain does. It freaks out when you want to do something new.

The best way to solve this confusion is to set up a system where you track your results.

It sounds kind of boring at first, but it’s the glue that holds each step together on your way to success.

When you track your goal progress, you’re clear about what’s working and what’s not. When you don’t, you waste so.much.time.

In this episode, I show you exactly how to track your progress so you can achieve your most impossible goals.

Here are my favorite resources to go with this podcast:

Full Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.

Hello, how are you? How is 2020 starting? I have to say, I just appreciate this time with you so much. I sit down and it is seriously one of my favorite times of the week. I just feel extra connected to you and I love you so much and I really just appreciate the time that you take listening to this and I’m just so grateful for all of it that I get to do this and I think it is so worth it for you to work on yourself and discover the wants and desires that you have so that you can also feel how I feel when you are working. It’s just a gift that I’ve given myself and it was not easy to get here but it’s so, so, so been worth it.

I want to update you on what is going on. It has been six months since I launched Grow You now. This podcast has been out for over a year and I created and launched Grow You after the podcast started. So, so much has happened and it’s crazy because I go back and sometimes listen to some of the old episodes just to kind of see how they’ve changed and the content is still so good. Even though I can tell personally that I’ve changed, my energy’s changed, just in my own growth I can notice that. I don’t know if you can notice it as well, but the content is still really good, which I’m really proud of and that is kind of how Grow You is. It is always good, great, amazing content, but I share in there everything that I am learning and growing, right? I’m so committed to helping everyone in Grow You achieve their goals and feel better and solve their biggest problems. It’s kind of like we say in, in coaching, you can’t read the label from inside the bottle, right? A coach helps you see what your brain is doing in a way that saves you so much time.

What I love about Grow You is that I created it for everyone, every woman who wants help in different ways. So if you know you’re really busy in your life right now, you can use Grow You to learn a new topic every month, watch a course, do the workbook and then do the written coaching. There is an Ask Natalie forum in Grow You, don’t even know if I’ve talked about it on the podcast, where you can get written coaching 24/7.

So I’m currently working with a Bev Aron who is one of the best coaches in the world in my opinion. I paid a lot of money to work with her. It was very, very worth it. It’s been worth it already. And I have to tell you that so far in my work with her, one of the most transformational lessons I’ve learned was in something that she taught me in the written coaching. So I meet with her weekly, we are live, and I get a lot of transformation in that way. And then there is a written forum where I can ask her questions or tell her what’s on my mind or something like that and she’ll reply and she’ll coach me through written coaching. And I have to say that the written coaching, you read it, you reread it and you’re like, your mind is just being blown and you’re in that transformation in a slower moment because the text is right in front of you.

So you know, that just goes to show you how powerful written coaching is. It’s something that I just didn’t really know about prior to my experience as a life coach. So in Grow You, I have live coaching calls that you can attend that people do attend and then the video replays are also very valuable, but some people just want to use the written coaching and there’s an Ask Natalie forum where you can get 24/7 written coaching and all you do is submit your question and then it’s published and it’s actually published in there for everyone to read, but they’re anonymous. So you can read what everyone else is asking and all of the replies and no one knows who they’re from and it is so powerful. It’s just something that I didn’t really know about. I don’t think I’ve talked about before.

So that’s been really fun for me to just see the evolution of Grow You and the results that everyone is getting. Um, whether it’s from doing the course work every month there is a new topic and that will continue forever. A lot of people will email and ask what’s next month’s topic because they want to know whether to join for next month or this month. And I always tell them that’s the wrong way to think about it. I want you to think about joining something like Grow You, if this is something that you’re even interested in as joining a gym. It’s kind of like, you know, you’re reading a book about how to exercise about how to barre class, about how to do burpees, about how to clean, you know about how to do hip hop class and you’re reading the book about it and you’re learning the steps and what you’re reading. That’s like the podcast, right? It’s the passive learning. And then you actually joined the gym and you go to the class, you go to hip hop, you go to the strength training class, you, you know do all of the exercises in the class that’s like Grow You.

And it’s a whole different level of learning because your body is not used to doing it. So you know you can read a book about how to do a hip hop routine but when you get in there and the gangster rap is on and you’re trying to remember the eight count, it’s a whole different level of learning. Side note, someone in my hip hop class recently told me that when I’m absent they get confused and frustrated because I’m not there for them to follow. I had a really proud moment. My 10 year old and 16 year old self is really proud that I am 33 and get to be in hip hop class. That’s one of the most fun classes for me at my gym. So just like you know the physical gym, is kind of like Grow You. Some people prefer the ask anatomy written forum. Some people prefer to rewatch the coaching replays and some people prefer to get coached live, right? It’s like at my gym. Some people prefer the hip hop, some people prefer not doing classes at all, some people get a personal trainer. There are so many different options so that you can decide what works best for you and what way you want to uplevel your life.

So I just want you to know that Grow You is something I’m so proud of and that will help you regardless of whether you want to make more money, whether you want a new job, whether you want to improve your relationships, whether you just want to feel better and you kind of feel stuck or busy or overwhelmed in your life and you’re just not really sure what to do next.

I have friends reach out to me in this way and um, I don’t really send them to Grow You because I kind of, I do a really good job of separating out that part of my life. But really what they need is Grow You. I just think that the value there is so great. So I really just want to encourage you to take a look at your life and decide, you know, what do you want to see at the end of this year that you don’t yet have and how do you want your life to be different?

And that kind of goes into what we’re going to talk about today, which is tracking your goal progress. The title of this podcast, in my opinion, is kind of dry and boring, but it is so interesting to me because in the boringness of your goal is where you will find the success. It’s not in the next new course. It’s not in the next new hot technology. It’s not in the next new book. It is in the daily ordinary grind of tracking your progress. You must track your progress towards your goal. I almost feel silly saying this because it’s so obvious. Like I doubt you’re listening to this thinking, oh, that’s like very new and different information. I didn’t know that. Thank you, Natalie. I’m going to start tracking it, but after coaching you all for over six months in Grow You, I am amazed at the confusion that you are indulging in that is distracting you from progressing on your goal.

Let me give you an example. So I will coach someone who wants to make money in her business. It will be a side business, right? It doesn’t necessarily have to be an online business. It can be anything, right? Just the side business. And the goal is let’s make money, right? And let’s just say the goal is let’s make six figures in one year. Let’s just use online business for right now. That’s the goal. And then I will say, okay, what are you doing? What’s your plan to achieve this goal? Now, you don’t need to know the exact steps, but you need to get started, right? You need to know the next step. And they’ll tell me, my students and clients will tell me all of the things they’re doing that actually have nothing to do with achieving the goal. It’s amazing. And I’m not just being hard on them because I do this too. I’ve found that I do this with my seven figure goal.

So they will say things like, oh, I am going to get certified. One of my beloved students said this to me recently when I was coaching her. She’s been working on getting to six figures for awhile and you know, I’m asking her like, what’s going on? What are you doing? What’s your goal? What’s, you know? Her goal is six figures from her online business, and I say, okay, like what’s your plan? What are you selling and how are you selling it? That’s what I teach an online business for her. I teach the who, the what, and the how method and basically there’s three parts to it and it will help you get to six figures. There’s a formula, just follow it and do it. So I said, what’s your plan? What are you selling? How are you selling it? Who are you selling it to? Are you positioned correctly? All of the things I’m asking her and she tells me, oh, I’m going to get certified and then I’m going to do a whole bunch of other things that were not related at all to money.

And it’s sneaky because your brain thinks that more prestige and more expertise and maybe more followers on Instagram will somehow correlate with money. And I have to teach a concept that I call math versus drama. There is the math and then there is the drama. The math is boring, the math is just a formula. The math is very simple. The math is where you will succeed. And then there is everything that your brain does to the math that I call drama and all of your thoughts about the math. So to make six figures in an online business, you could sell 10 programs for $833 per month. Okay? That would give you the 8,300 a month, which gives you, you know, the six figure number. That’s the math of it.

So when I ask someone, what’s your goal? And then what is the math to get there? Like it’s astounding how many people I coach with side businesses who have not thought of this at all. I was coaching someone about, I think it was music lessons and she was so wrapped up in the drama of her clients not being able to pay and the story of her not having enough money and not being able to create this money. And I just said, let’s just take a second and forget about that whole story about not enoughness with money and let’s talk about the math. So right now you’re selling a program for what? I don’t know what it was. I can’t remember. $20. So if your program is $20 how many programs do you need to sell per month to make $8,300 a month? And her face was like a deer in headlights, like she hadn’t even thought of this question at all. This is the most important question you guys.

You have to think of your goal, like what’s your main goal, what’s your impossible goal, and then break it down. And then what’s your goal for this month? Right? Now, you’re not going to achieve your impossible goal this month if you’re setting out to do it in a year or longer. But what’s your goal for this month and what do you need to do working backward? Just from the perspective of the math to get there. Now again, I don’t want to be hard on you or on my clients because I too am guilty of this. I do this all the time. I act very confused about how to make seven figures. The crazy part is I have the results of making multiple six figures online. So all I need to do is increase the math, right? It’s just math. So maybe I need to get more leads in, like more new, more strangers into my business.

So if I 10 times the amount of strangers into my business, then I would 10 times the amount of people in Grow You and then I would 10 times my income. Right? Like that’s kind of boring when I say it like that instead my brain goes to, I don’t know how I need to learn Facebook ads and I don’t know how to do that. And I need to improve my funnels and like my brain acts very confused about the how. And it’s okay if you don’t know the exact how, but I for sure know that if you start with your impossible goal and you work backward and you just do the math, it’s amazing how quickly you can come up with the numbers and it’s not just with money.

Think about weight loss. Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds, right? How do you want to lose the 50 pounds? How will you know if you lost 50 pounds? You’ll step on the scale and the number on the scale will be whatever you are minus 50 right? If you’re 200 pounds right now, you’ll know if you lost 50 pounds because you’ll get on the scale and it will say 150 pounds, right? It’s like, what’s your plan to do that? It’s not to read diet books and take a weight loss course and walk around the block. How you lose 50 pounds is you come up with a meal plan. Let’s say you’re going to do intermittent fasting and you’re going to eat two meals per day and cut out snacking. That’s super boring to talk about, right? It’s like that’s the math. The drama is everything else that comes up with it. It’s, I’ve never been successful at weight loss before. My family history is that everyone’s overweight. I don’t think that this is going to work for me. I’m not sure what to do if I plateau. Like all of that is just the drama.

Now that is where the coaching comes in, right? The math is kind of easy. It’s like, okay, I need to create a program. Sell it for 800 bucks, sell 10 of them a month, you know? That’s the math. The drama is I can’t do this. I don’t know how, no one’s going to pay for it. I need to take another course. That’s what I help people with. All the drama in Grow You. I hear this in areas of people who aren’t trying to make money online or even lose weight. It’ll be getting a new job and for some reason that’s the one that people think is something that’s not coachable or it’s like it’s more serious or it’s more corporate or something. It’s like, I want to get a new job and I want to make more money and I want to work fewer hours. Okay, that’s like the impossible goal and we’ll know that we’ve achieved it if we’re making more money in a new job working fewer hours and it’s like, okay, if that’s your goal, let’s work backward from there and come up with a plan to apply for jobs for one hour every single night. As simple as that. And we’re going to go on interviews and we’re going to track all of that progress.

The drama is the story that you’re telling. I’ll hear things like, no one will hire me because I’m too old. People will say that and I’ll coach them and they say it like it’s a fact. That is a thought, right? And as long as you have that thought, your brain is going to find evidence for it to prove that it’s true and you will make that true for you. Right? When the very opposite could be true. Or another story is I just got a new job and it’s not going to look good to, you know, other employers, if I’m job hopping. It’s like, well, not if you’re telling that story, right. How could it be the best thing ever? There’s nothing out there where I can actually work less and make more money based on my skillset. That’s one that I find the most mind blowing because I don’t know if you know a lot of millionaires are multimillionaires, but they’re not smarter than you. Let me say that again. They’re not smarter than you. There is not a direct correlation between intelligence and making money. I can assure you of that. The people in my life closest to me know that, you know, I frequently joke about my intelligence and just working really, really hard, right? Like I’m, I’m a little bit ditzy sometimes and I have to try pretty hard to get the results that I get. Whereas someone with a greater IQ probably would not have to try as hard, but it doesn’t affect my results at all. Like you do not have to be that smart to make a lot of money, really, I promise you.

So just be aware of the story that you’re telling. I want you to track your results for whatever it is that you want in your life. It’s going to be boring. It’s going to not be necessarily fun at first. You can choose to feel excited and energized and committed and fun, but it won’t be natural. So when a new course comes out or a new book comes out or there’s a new job fair or something like that, that seems really fun and interesting to you, your brain is going to be tempted to do the new and different and fun and interesting thing. And typically what I’ve found is that what gets you the results is the most boring thing. It is, you know, testing the new funnel. It’s reducing the amount of food you’re putting in your mouth. It is not the new book on the latest fad. And you can make reducing the amount of food you put in your mouth a positive experience, but it might not be natural for you.

So I want you to train your brain to constrain. So you’re going to ask yourself, what’s your goal, what’s your impossible goal? And then you’re going to work backward to decide what the math is and then you’re going to constrain everything else out. Constraint is just a limitation or restriction that you put on yourself intentionally. So you create a rule for that area of your life and you do this so that you can simplify and create amazing results. I am blown away at the simplification of my business and how that directly relates and correlates to the amount of money I make. The more money I make, the more simpler my business gets. In the very beginning when I was barely making any money, I had so much stuff going on. It was, I don’t want to say a mess, but it was like throwing all that spaghetti on the wall to see what works. And a part of that in the beginning is trial and error, but you have to keep going back to what’s my goal and work backwards.

So I will have people who I’m coaching in their online business and maybe they’re even at six figures already, or maybe they’ve lost 10 pounds or you know, they’ve had a little bit of success and they’re wondering what to do next. And they’ll do it from a place of moving forward. So they’ll take all these opportunities that come to them and say yes to them because it’s a quick win instead of working backward. For me, my decision to take off ads on my website, I used to have ads on them. I took them off, right? I lost revenue, thousands of dollars a month from that. But the reason I did it was because I thought about the end result that I wanted and how I wanted to create that result and my business model is one where I am not distracting my clients with ads, right? So I’m constantly thinking about the business model that I want to have and I work backwards from there.

Another example would be this podcast. So I don’t accept sponsorships on this podcast. I could and I could make some quick revenue that way, but that’s not my business model. I’m constantly looking at seven figures and working backward. So for you, yes you could eat the piece of cake or have the glass of wine tonight, but what is your goal and is that going to move you toward achieving your goal or move you away from it because it’s doing one of the two and it matters.

I had an Instagram post. If you don’t follow me, I’m @natalierbacon on Instagram. It was a little bit ago where I was talking about what I was doing on an ordinary Tuesday and it was very boring, but it was everything I needed to be doing to move me closer in the direction of achieving that business goal. Right? It’s a lot more fun to network and go to events. And do new and different things. But that is moving me further away from my goal and the tricky part is, is when it’s like really fun and sexy. So networking, right? It sounds like a good idea. And in the very, very beginning, if you haven’t made any money, it kind of is a good idea I think to kind of get your feet wet and get you kind of introduced to people in the same niche and what they’re doing. But hanging out with other people in your industry does not create revenue. Like getting certified as a coach does not create revenue. Right? I love that I got certified as a life coach because I’m a really good life coach now. I love that I know how to coach, but I was under no impression or delusion that my certification would somehow create the revenue. My business model and I create the revenue.

So look at your goal and work backward and people will say, like I was giving a talk actually, and someone raised their hand and said, what measurements should I track? One of the OG original online marketers taught me about hits. And I think it was Gary Helper who said this “hits, how idiots track success”. And I think that’s a little bit harsh, but what he was referring to was on online business owners measuring their success based on website traffic. Meaning how many people you get to your website right? Now, certainly you want to be paying attention to people coming to you and your funnel, but the measurement of your success should be directly related to what you’re trying to accomplish. That means if you’re trying to make more money, you need to be measuring the things that create the money. So sales. Yeah? Clients. That’s what you need to be measuring. It’s not going to be website traffic, right? It might be, you know that you want to measure that, but don’t think that that directly correlates with revenue. Or you might want to measure your email list, but that doesn’t directly correlate either.

I know someone in particular who made two and a half million dollars this year, and I think her email list is like 7,000. So if you’re not an online business owner, that’s an online business example. But the same is true for weight loss, for relationships. It’s like decide what you want and want it badly. If you want to meet the right person, if you want to get married, decide to want that, commit to it and work backward. Okay, well the math is I need to get out there and meet humans and I need to go on dates with the humans and I need to do that a lot of times and then eventually I’ll end up in a relationship and get married. That’s the math of it.

Now, all the drama about your not good at relationships, your relationships have ended in the past or you’re divorced or you’re too old or whatever the story is. That’s the drama. You want to measure what’s going to get you the result and you need to know what that result is. So you have to be able to say, in one year, did I achieve it? Yes or no? It’s really easy. If it’s money, you know, based on the dollars. It’s really easy if it’s weight based on, you know, getting on the scale. Those are the important numbers that I want you to be tracking. And even if it’s something like a relationship, you can still track it. Are you going on dates consistently? Or are you telling yourself a story about why you’re not doing that? Whatever it is in your life, there’s always a way to track it, but I just want to make sure that you’re not indulging in confusion and saying like, oh, well this year I’m going to go to networking events and take a course and try to write blog posts and then somehow magically expect that at the end of the year you’re going to be at six figures.

Now you can do all those things. Just don’t be under the delusion that that’s what creates revenue in a business. It does not. And I teach that in Online Business For Her if you’re looking for the steps on how to create an online business. I’m using that as an example because that’s my personal experience. but this applies to everything. I am so like amazed, but also I shouldn’t be surprised at how our brains try to go down this rabbit hole of confusion. So remind yourself that you’re not confused. Just simply ask yourself, what’s my goal? Work backwards from there and decide what the key measurements will be.

If your goal is to make a more money, your measurement needs to be money, not a certification, not anything else. Website traffic, any like if the goal is money, be really clear that the goal is money and then you’re going to measure it based on money. It’s just amazing to me. People get really weirded out by money and I think one of the gifts that I’ve been given is that my journey out of scarcity and into abundance was first through money. And I love coaching on money and I love helping people with money and I love loving my money from a place of having enough. And I’m amazed at the amount of people who are really uncomfortable having a money goal.

Like if you want to make more money, make more money and want to make more money and like you don’t have to have any drama about it. You don’t have to have some noble purpose for the money. You can just have money to have it. Like, I love my money. I love having money. It’s totally available to you to create more money if that’s what you want. But if that’s what you want, commit to it, know your why, set that goal and then work backwards and track it.

Like it’s amazing to me where people will work on businesses for years and they have all of these thoughts and drama about the courses and the programs and the the stuff that’s like all the chatter, right? And what I want you to do is I want you to constrain and I want you to say, okay, last year, how much money did I make? This year, how much money do I plan to make? Next year, how much money do I plan to make? It’s very easy for me to see that I’m on my way to seven figures, right? I look at the revenue I’ve created in the last five years. If my revenue wasn’t increasing, if I was making less money, then I would be very concerned. I would see that I have a problem with what I’m doing and I would need to change course. That’s how I would know that what I’m doing isn’t working right. You don’t need another course. You need one course, one really good course and you need to commit to it.

Now it might be that you took one course, and it was a bust, so you take another one, right? My Online Business For Her one’s a great example. Commit to it for the year. That’s what I did. I commit and I constrain for as long as it takes me to get the result that that teacher is offering. So I constrain to one course. I constrain to one life coaching program. I constrain to one online business program and I am all in. And when you’re all in, you can track, you can simplify and then you do have to let go of all that chatter and your brain will have a little bit of the fear of missing out, right? Like it was hard for me to take ads off my site. It was hard for me to, you know, say no to all the sponsorships, but I, I go back to, okay, what do I want my business to look like in five years? What do I want my life to look like in five years?

This even goes to, if you haven’t listened to the podcast episode on direction versus intention, it’s a really good one to listen to, kind of related to this. Like I stopped drinking, right? I constrained that, that chapter is closed and now I have opened up an entirely new chapter for myself and I can see my results are more aligned with what I want to create in the next chapter of my life in the next year, in the next five years, in the next decade. And I’m able to track that progress, right? I, um, am living in Chicago, I have a puppy, I cook more now, I have an amazing boyfriend, right? I’m so in love with him and I created that and that is the life that I want to create and I’m able to see that in the results. The results will not lie.

So if you are making less money or the same amount of money that you made last year and your goal is to make more money that’s on you and there’s no reason to be hard on yourself or beat yourself up, but I want you to take responsibility for that and say, okay, how can I do a better job or do something differently this year to get a different result? I need to track my progress, track it weekly, get obsessed with the numbers. That was a mistake that I made early on was that I didn’t track my progress because I hated the numbers, right? It’s not as fun to track the data. It’s not as fun and now I’m obsessed with it.

It takes a little getting used to, it’s a little boring at first, but get obsessed with the scale. Get obsessed with tracking your dates, got obsessed with tracking your sales and your revenue. It might be a little less fun. It might even be boring for you at first, but that’s where your success is and remind yourself why you’re doing it. That’s why I had the episode on Multiple Why’s. Remind yourself that you want to like have a certain result at the end of the year and the way that you get it is by tracking these specific numbers.

And you’ll know if you’re doing this right because you can say, okay, if I keep tracking the numbers I’m tracking at the end of the year, will I have the result I want? So people will track like website traffic and email numbers and they’re really obsessed with a lot of the data or podcasts downloads and I say, okay, if you want to track those, fine, but if that’s all you’re tracking at the end of the year, will you know you’ve achieved your goal? No. The goal is revenue. I have to remind students of this so much. So you can track those if you’re just curious and interested, like I look and see how many thousands of people download, you know, this podcast, it’s super fun, but I’m like under no delusion that that’s what creates revenue. Now that might be part of my marketing funnel and how I try to attract new people to get to know me, so I might want to track that stat as part of one of the measurements, but it’s not the measurement that gets me the result. The result is revenue, seven figures. What do I need to do to get the seven figures? Well, I need to either raise my prices and have the same amount of people or I need to get more people in, right? So I figure out those numbers times what I’m selling, and that’s the seven figures and that’s all it is. So simple, all of the other stuff in my head is just the drama.

So what I want you to do is I want you to think about what you want in this next to year, the result that you want. And I want you to think about how you’ll know you’ll have achieved it. So you’re going to know that based on a measurement, whether it’s money, whether it’s a status, like a relationship status, whether it’s weight loss, and then I want you to work backwards from there and figure out the math of it. And then come up with a plan and your plan might not be the exact plan that gets you there, but it at least is the plan to get started.

So I can tell you for sure what I’m doing now is helping me get to seven figures. So you start doing these actions, you know what to do next and then you measure every single week. Okay, did I get more people in this week? Did that work? Oh no, it didn’t. Okay, now I need to do 10 times that. And you can only know what’s working and what’s not working if you are tracking your progress. This is something that I just didn’t do enough of in the beginning because it’s not that sexy and it’s not that fun, but where the boring and the simple and the steady is, is where the success is.

So I want you to come up with a system to track. Give yourself an hour sometime this week, put it on your calendar that you’re going to spend the time, that one hour figuring out what measurements you need to track so that at the end of the year you’ll know you’ll have achieved your impossible goal or not. And then create that check in every single week so you’re measuring what you’re tracking so that you know if you’re in the right direction. If you, you know, need to change course or what you need to do next. Get really curious about your results and get obsessed. All right, I love you and I will talk to you next week. Bye bye.

Hey, if you liked this podcast and really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.