You're lying about your progress. (Probably)

goals mindset Sep 13, 2023

This month in the Q-Membership, we are talking about how we lie to ourselves when measuring our progress. The weird thing is, we don't lie to ourselves on purpose; we just aren't very honest about how we're doing.


For instance, we are much harder on ourselves than the facts show. We let our emotions run and use colorful (aka dramatic) language to describe runs with mistakes. "It was a disaster!" "The wheels flew off!" "We're never going to get it."


The thing is, seldom is this really true. If we only looked at the facts of the run or focused on our process goals, we would see a different result. A disaster becomes a handling error. Wheels coming off becomes a mistake, followed by giving up on the run. Never becomes not yet.


Sure, you can brush this off to perspective or even joking, but words matter - our self-talk matters a LOT! Therefore, when we measure our progress this way, we do ourselves a massive disservice.


When I coach handlers, and we get into these conversations, I ask them to look at the data - just the facts. How often does this issue occur? Are we dealing with a one-in-ten thing or every time? We first need to strip out the emotion so we can see what's really going on.


Conversely, we also don't give ourselves enough credit. For whatever weird societal reason, it's normal for a group of handlers to stand around complaining about their runs instead of celebrating. I've done it too. But when we engage in this thinking, we look for the negative even more. As a result, we ignore our progress and, therefore, forget to build on our strengths.


This is a different type of lie, but it is just as harmful to our mindset and desire to progress in a sport we love. When we set goals at the beginning of the year and set off to achieve them, we must commit to being honest in measuring progress or lack thereof. Letting our emotions do the tracking doesn't do us any favors.


One of the fastest ways to get to what's really happening is to ask yourself, "Is this really true?" If your knee-jerk reaction is to call your run a "disaster," ask yourself if that's really true. Most likely, there was a mistake you feel bad about, but getting honest will lead you to lasting improvement instead of the bottom of a carton of Ben & Jerry's.


Take a good look at how you measure progress and commit to being more honest - good and bad. Celebrate more. Build on your strengths. Get clear on what specifically needs work based on facts. Save the emotion for loving on your dogs.

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