Why do I love personal best? It’s the best kind of competing, competition with past-Andy.
I want present-Andy to do more and be better every day. A mentor once described this as, “Strive to suck less each day.” I can identify with that sentiment! I prefer the positive motivation I get from measuring things like weight, steps, diet, exercise, and other health parameters (blood sugar, for me) with SMART goals applied.
I measure things like days-in-a-row I didn’t cheat on my diet. While this is particularly depressing when the number drops to 0, building that number back up to the previous personal best is powerful motivation to not cheat. This kind of goal provides both negative and positive reinforcement.
I can measure the results of remaining on my diet in other ways, too:
- My blood sugar returns to normal.
- I lose weight.
- I feel better.
- And – surprise benefit from the keto diet – I’m less tired.
There are things beyond my control and SMART goals help me recognize this fact of life. For example, I cannot change the fact that I am aging at a rate of 1 s/s (1 second per second). But I can change what I do with each second. I don’t always get it right. But that’s a key part of a philosophy of personal best: It’s no longer about a Boolean outcome, right (achieving a single metric) or wrong (missing that metric in any of a thousand different ways), it’s simply about improving over the past personal best. Does a single metric goal exist? Heck yeah! But that goal is now seen as a milestone on a trek of never-ending personal bests.
Each personal best is a win. Each personal best is cause for celebration. You can achieve a personal best today, I know you can!