Progress Mapping

Man, am I exhausted. But somehow, I’ve also been feeling really inspired and motivated lately.

So today, I was thrilled to come across this article on Quartz about progress mapping. The title, “Coloring in this picture helped me erase $26,000 in debt,” seemed like click bait, but it worked–and I’m glad it did.

Basically, Amy Jones was in a lot of credit card debt, and she knew it was time to tackle it. So, inspired by an old practice of her mom’s, she put a doodle of a series of swirls on some canvas and colored each one in for every $100 she put toward her debt. The urge to color in the swirls combined with the urge to get out of debt were enough to motivate her to work at it. And it was a huge success.

I love this idea. As someone who’s always trying to reconcile my dominant right brain with my (sometimes loud) left brain, progress mapping makes so much sense to me. It’s rational, but artful. It has patterns, but they’re dynamic.

These maps can also be useful for a wide range of goal types: financial ones like paying off debt or saving for something big, fitness goals like losing weight or running a certain distance, school (58 days left!)–anything with the kind of progress that can be tracked.

While I plan to make my own, Amy Jones now sells progress maps of her signature swirls (not colored in–that’s your job). Some have themes (like a wedding dress or a dog), and you can get maps with different amounts of swirls (100, 365, etc.).

How do you track your progress? Is this something that would work for you?

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