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  • Goals & Performance Journals

    I've become obsessed with the idea of keeping a performance journal for some of my goals.

    I read an article in "Clean Run" magazine by a former olympic athlete--a magazine devoted to dog agility. He postulated that if you want to improve your performance, you must keep a performance journal. The article goes on to talk about "leveraging focus and vision" topics and how you use the performance journal to program success.

    I can see how to use a performance journal with my dog training and competitions. I can also see that it may be useful for some of my other goals.

    I'd like to read more about performance journalling and how one might use it in an NLP-like way to program the mind for success.

    The author of the article has a website www.mentalmanagement.com and I've ordered his "journal kit", but I'm thinking there must be more out there.

    Anyone have any references they could point me to? Websites, books, tapes, etc?

    Thanks!

    --Karen

  • #2
    More thoughts on how this might fit into GTD

    I've identified a couple of key goals in my life where journalling might apply: my health/fitness, Becoming Black Belt with GTD, Achieving a MACH with my agility dog (an advanced title).

    After posting previously, it came to mind that part of my struggle is not getting clear, therefore, step up a level.

    Take a really good fleshed out goal, "Achieve a MACH with a happy, healthy, fit dog." Flesh it out further--what does it look like?
    - Quivers with excitement at the start line
    - Consistent performance--always under course time, Jumps always cleared, etc.

    Identify some milestones:
    - Enthusiastic about training in class.
    - Enthusiastic about training in new environments.
    - Enthusiastic at competitions.
    - Achieve an AX (and an AXJ and a MX and an MXJ)--intermediate titles.

    Identify any supporting activies for this goal:
    - Weight at 27 pounds (she's currently about 31)
    - More speed and endurance
    - Enter more trials.

    Identify current areas for extra work:
    - Speed in weave poles
    - Jumping form when doing tight turns
    - Working away from me.
    - Enter more practice trials to give her experience away from home.
    - Attend trials without competing to get her more relaxed at trials.

    Establish a fleshed out 3 month goal (or several). These become projects.
    - Dog jumps 180 turns with 100% accuracy over the jumps.
    - 12 weave poles are performed quickly 100% of the time in class.
    - Dog enthusiastic 70% of the time in class.

    Pick your next actions, etc.

    So...how does this relate to journalling?

    By looking at my plan, I see some areas I can "measure":
    - speed in weave poles--how fast is she now? how fast is fast enough?
    - how enthusiastic is she in class (use a scale from 1 to 5)
    - her weight
    - the course time at a trial
    - Jumping tight turns
    - Things that I postulate may affect these things such as: type of equipment used, weather, other events of the day, day/night.

    It seems that a journal could be used to track these metrics and make my plan smarter. Also, it could be motivational because I can "see" my progress by achieving interim goals.

    So what are the sections of my training journal?

    - Goal & Vision (ultimate goal, milestone goals)
    - Project Plans (defined projects for the current milestone)
    - Metric Charts (speed, weight, competition results, whatever)
    - Daily Journal (document progress on plans and note any specific metrics)
    - 3x5 card with prompts for journal based on current milestone
    - Success Record (a list of goals accomplished and milestones met)

    Comment


    • #3
      The possibilities for performance journals are really unlimited. At the most basic, all you need is a dated record of what you did, perhaps with comments on how you felt about it:

      Monday: Ran three miles. Nearly died because of heat and humidity.
      Tuesday: Ran three miles. Much cooler, but tweaked my ankle in a pothole.
      and so on.

      On the other hand, I've seen exercise journal software that tracks a huge amount of additional information, from your weight to the number of miles on a particular pair of shoes, and lets you set targets and goals from "run three miles a day" all the way up to a full-fledged Olympic marathon training program.

      Personally, I fall at the simpler end of the spectrum. The simpler the tools, the more likely I am to actually use them. I'm also a firm believer in the value of consistent effort. For me, a tool that reminds me to do *something,* however small, every day is better than a tool that encourages me to set grandiose and ultimately unrealistic goals.

      Katherine

      Comment


      • #4
        Keep it simple

        I know what you mean!

        I think it is important to keep the training journal/diary simple. It has to be almost effortless to maintain or I won't do it.

        Thanks for the insight.

        Comment


        • #5
          Performance Journal

          Hello Karen nice post. I would like you to ask you if you could post a review of the performance journal after you receive it. I would like to hear about it myself.

          Sounds very interesting

          Thanks,

          Arthur

          Comment


          • #6
            In regard to the performance journal, I think that it is important to think about how and when you will use the information you record and when you will record it. At the most basic level, contemporaneous behavioral record keeping is "reactive", meaning, keeping track of a behavior throughout the time when it is likely to occur will influence the behavior's frequency. For many of us, that is the only way we intend to "harvest" the fruit of the journaling. We know if we write it down or count it, we will do more or less of it. If that is the case, some thought might go into whether it is better to track the behaviors that you are trying to do more of or the ones you need to reduce to enable what you want to acheieve. But sometimes, journaling is really done more to harvest the thought process and facilitate reflection or to capture the essence of an experience. Again, the "harvest" is reaped during the recording/reflecting process. There are other circumstances in which a lot of data is gathered and it is really analyzed only after a lot has been accumulated and patterns can be determined. But that takes a lot of committment!

            Comment


            • #7
              hello k2karen!

              This isn't the first time that you've posted something I've started thinking about on the same day!

              This morning, I began exploring a similar exercise around an aspect of my business that I am re-vamping, and I am having a difficult time getting my head around what it is that I have to do exactly.

              In the spirit of David's recent blog entry about journalling, and more specifically the way you have laid it out here is very close to how I am working on moving this project forward.

              Its amazing to be able to have the presence of mind, and focus to work on such interesting challenges, now that the email inbox lives at zero, and all the little 'noises' of the day-to-day grind stay well under control with proper processing, next action lists, weekly reviews, etc.

              The easy part of this project, similar to yours, are the obvious metrics - things that can be quantified, measured, and recorded.

              The challenge, for me, comes around the more qualitative aspects. In your situation, for example, how do you measure enthusiasm? The number of jumps made, or missed is readily quantifiable, your dog's weight, etc., but the qualitative aspects go right to the cruz of the matter, and this is where journalling is more usefull for me - as a means of trying to articulate my feelings, my experience of the situation, it brings me closer to getting a grip on what I need to do to move it all forward.

              Thanks again, k2karen!

              see you online soon...

              Jeff

              Comment


              • #8
                Quantifying Enthusiasm

                Hey Jeff. I'll have to go back and read David's blog.

                I quantify enthusiasm very simple. Scale of 1 to 5. In practice, I'm finding some fuzziness. For example, sometimes she'll start at a "3" and then the last run of the night is a "5". So I've been logging it that way: "3 to 5". Other nights, it might be "5 to 3".

                And that fuzziness is ok. In this very specific example, I'm just trying to get a more accurate picture of her level of enthusiasm now. Then, after implementing a training program focusing on enthusiasm, I can see if I've made progress.

                I'm off to dog class, so I have to go. More later!

                --Karen

                Comment


                • #9
                  How to define the successful completion of a qualitative goal?

                  Here I am again grappling with the question of how to define and assess the qualitative aspect of goals...

                  I'm thinking, for example, of a goal where one says that they "want to improve their public speaking skills". There are no obvious, direct quantitative measurements that I can think of to assess this outcome (unless someone has invented a "good-public-speech-ometer" that I'm not aware of?).

                  There are many obvious quantitative things which can be easily assessed and tracked, such as "I have a 3-month perfect attendance record at toastmasters", or "I consistently attract an audience of X or greater to my public speaking events" or "I have been invited by X groups in the past 12 months to be a conference keynote speaker" or "I can deliver a 30-minute speech entirely from memory", or "I earned $xxx,xxx in lecture fees this quarter" etc.

                  I can also think of some 'negative' ways to define the outcome, such as
                  "I completed a public speech without my knees shaking...
                  "without stuttering...
                  "without a dry mouth...
                  etc., but it is harder to define a positive outcome -
                  how about

                  "I felt good about the speech" (how good? how to measure?)
                  or
                  "the speech transformed the life of at least 1 audience member" (how would I know?)
                  or
                  "there was a standing ovation for more than 10 minutes" (this is quantitative)
                  or
                  "The core message of my speech was clearly understood by the majority of the audience" (again, how would I know? Use a Lecture feedback form? the nature of questions asked?)
                  or
                  "There was much smiling and head-nodding in the audience" (Because they were agreeing with me? being polite? Watching butterflies?)

                  What I'm getting at is that there is much important territory in the qualitative aspects of goals, but they are often elusive to pin down and measure. Also the problem of subjectivity, as in I self-evaluate differently when I'm in different moods

                  In GTD terms, I am grappling with defining certain projects of this nature in my life, and I would like to have more clarity about what "done" looks like in these projects.

                  Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences to share about how you've handled this qualitative side of goals?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Most of my qualitative goals are along the lines of lifelong projects. I don't ever expect to be "done." So I measure progress in terms of consistency of effort:

                    * Attend x aikido classes in August.
                    * Write y words per day.
                    * Practice Japanese z hours per week.

                    In all three cases I have milestones to show that I've progressed:

                    * Take my second degree black belt test.
                    * Complete revised draft of novel.
                    * Read a Japanese technology or business publication with ease.

                    But in all three cases, if I put in the consistent effort, the results pretty much take care of themselves.

                    Katherine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by K2Karen
                      I've become obsessed with the idea of keeping a performance journal for some of my goals.

                      The author of the article has a website www.mentalmanagement.com and I've ordered his "journal kit", but I'm thinking there must be more out there.
                      Karen,

                      How do you like the journal kit that you ordered? I took at look at it via the link. Looks interesting but what I don't like about it is that you can't see close ups of what the pages look like!

                      Can you tell us what the journal includes?

                      Thanks!

                      Sablouwho

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "In GTD terms, I am grappling with defining certain projects of this nature in my life, and I would like to have more clarity about what "done" looks like in these projects."

                        Similar to Katherine's previous post, you might consider public speaking as an "area of focus-20,000 foot level of work". From this level, you could develop more specific projects to measure things important to you. For example, to measure your audience reaction to your speeches, perhaps you could hand out surveys that measure audience feedback. Perhaps, the number of questions asked by your audience is a relevant metric.

                        To measure your own confort level in delivering speeches, you may wish to keep a journal to record your thoughts/feelings of speeches after you have delivered. The journal may reveal some projects related to your speeches.

                        Hope this helps.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jeff K
                          Here I am again grappling with the question of how to define and assess the qualitative aspect of goals...

                          I'm thinking, for example, of a goal where one says that they "want to improve their public speaking skills". There are no obvious, direct quantitative measurements that I can think of to assess this outcome (unless someone has invented a "good-public-speech-ometer" that I'm not aware of?).

                          There are many obvious quantitative things which can be easily assessed and tracked, such as "I have a 3-month perfect attendance record at toastmasters", or "I consistently attract an audience of X or greater to my public speaking events" or "I have been invited by X groups in the past 12 months to be a conference keynote speaker" or "I can deliver a 30-minute speech entirely from memory", or "I earned $xxx,xxx in lecture fees this quarter" etc.

                          I can also think of some 'negative' ways to define the outcome, such as
                          "I completed a public speech without my knees shaking...
                          "without stuttering...
                          "without a dry mouth...
                          etc., but it is harder to define a positive outcome -
                          I often find myself coming up with negatively worded goals first -- sometimes it's much easier to know what you DON'T want! It's actually kind of a fun exercise to take one of those and flip it to its literal opposite (thereby retaining the detail that's often present in negative goals):
                          e.g. "I complete a public speech while standing in a relaxed, centered posture."
                          "I completed a public speech with a clear, well-projected voice."
                          "I completed a public speech and took a drink of water if necessary while retaining my connection with the audience."

                          Just some thoughts...!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Successful outcomes should be positively worded.

                            Originally posted by CJSullivan
                            I often find myself coming up with negatively worded goals first -- sometimes it's much easier to know what you DON'T want! It's actually kind of a fun exercise to take one of those and flip it to its literal opposite (thereby retaining the detail that's often present in negative goals)
                            I totally agree with you.

                            I think that all successful outcomes should be positively worded.

                            As I learned during one of the seminars - human brain often does not notice negatives. So if you say "I will not do it tomorrow" it is often heard and remembered as "I will do it tomorrow". Strange but it happens all the time.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TesTeq
                              As I learned during one of the seminars - human brain often does not notice negatives. So if you say "I will not do it tomorrow" it is often heard and remembered as "I will do it tomorrow". Strange but it happens all the time.
                              Just curious, what seminar was this? What are the seminar leader's qualifications in the area of cognitive or brain sciences?

                              Comment

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