Track your progress(DW #830)

Do you wear a Fitbit? Or use a food journal?


If you do, you already know that tracking what you are trying to change or improve is a powerful way to set yourself up for success.


Well, hundreds of years before the invention of fitness- tracking devices, Ben Franklin came up with a self-improvement experiment that let him track his mind hacking progress in a measurable, scientific way.


As described in his autobiography, Franklin gave his experiment the lofty title of the ‘Moral Perfection Project.’ He began by laying out a set of thirteen virtues that he wished to develop in himself and then he found a way to track his progress on a daily basis with this method:


He writes in his autobiography:


  • "I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues."
  • "I ruled each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day."
  • "I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day."
While psychology has now discovered more powerful ways of succeeding without focusing on "every fault that we find upon examination" (don’t do this please!), the essence of the practice was tracking his progress and this is a very powerful way to supercharge your chances of successful change.

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