Setting goals isn’t as simple as deciding what you’d like to accomplish, but analyzing your progress may be the trick you need to actually achieve them.
When you set a goal, it becomes like a living entity and your brain takes ownership of it. In fact, according to a scientific study on neuroplasticity—that is, your brain’s ability to reshape itself—your brain actually changes form as a result of taking ownership. It is this reshaping that makes your brain more effective for two reasons:
- Your brain attaches emotional significance to the goal.
- Your brain automatically gives precedence to stimuli that support that goal.
However, when you start to stray from the path you’ve set to complete a goal, your brain begins to slowly lose ownership of it.
Fortunately, you can get your brain back on track by checking your progress toward your goals with a gap analysis. Once you show your brain the tangible progress you’ve made, it will produce dopamine that helps it feel attached to the goal again. In The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula, we talk all about how to measure progress towards success with systems of measurement.
What Is a Gap Analysis?
A gap analysis is a tool you can use to evaluate where you are in relation to achieving your goal. It uses systems of measurement to compare your actual performance with your potential or desired performance.
Successful businesses should conduct gap analyses often to understand how their company can accomplish its goals. If they have a revenue goal but are consistently coming in under their targets, then the gap analysis will tell them exactly how much they need to make up. From there, they can begin forming a plan to close that gap.
But people can use gap analyses, too. Before conducting a gap analysis, it’s important that you ensure the goals you’ve set for yourself are actually measurable. Don’t just settle on making “increasing physical activity,” for example, instead set yourself a measurable goal for fitness.
To make sure your goals are measurable, ask yourself questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- Is it quantifiable?
- How will I know when it’s accomplished?
Once you have answers to these questions, you’ll be able to perform a gap analysis.
Creating Your Systems of Measurement
When considering your progress measurement for your gap analysis, you’ll need to decide on a system of measurement.
A system of measurement refers to the type of measurement you’ll use to count or calculate progress, whereas a unit of measurement refers to the scale for the system of measurement. For instance, if time is the system, then minutes is the unit.
Here are the elements you’ll need to begin measuring your progress:
The first step in the gap analysis process is evaluating where you currently are, your baseline. You may, for example, begin with the baseline of exercising one hour per week.
The next step is to decide on a target for this area/category. You may, for example, set a target to exercise three hours per week.
The gap is the difference between the current baseline and the target. Your goal is to close the gap. To do so, you’ll need to exercise two additional hours per week. Note that the goal is to get the additional two hours, not to hit the three-hour target.
A good way to make sure you’re setting the right goal is to make it a SMART goal. These goals are always specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.
Though only 3% of adults are in the practice of setting SMART goals, they accomplish 10 times as much as those who are not in the practice of setting goals. Without the specificity of SMART goals, your goals may become nothing more than forgotten resolutions.
How Do You Set SMART Goals?
- Be very Specific when writing out your goals.
- Have a specific Measurement to track progress.
- Set Attainable goals.
- Set Relevant goals that are in alignment with your mission.
- Give your goals deadlines; SMART goals are Time bound.
If you get into the practice of setting SMART goals in your personal life, you may exercise more. Meanwhile, a gap analysis can help you determine how far away you are from meeting your health or fitness goal, and this progress report may inspire you to make changes to your plan to help you meet that goal.
If you get into the habit of establishing SMART goals in your professional life, you may accomplish more in your career. They can encourage you to improve your communication practices around emails. They can help you complete massive projects, such as writing a book or creating a report. They can even help you set up better boundaries for a work-life balance.
Business SMART goals are essential for leaders who want to help their organizations reach new milestones. Leaders will need to understand the measurable specifics they need to increase revenue, improve KPIs, and create an effective team of people.
In both areas, identifying and developing specific and thorough systems of measurement to use in a gap analysis can help you reach your goals.
The Bottom Line
If you want to make progress toward your goals, gap analysis is not only essential, it also shapes your brain around the goal and the emotions you assign to it.
While evaluating how far away you are from achieving a goal requires some work and organization, the payoff is well worth it. It’s systems of success such as these that inspired us to create The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula. Download your free eBook here to keep all your success systems in one place.