8 Reasons to Track Your Progress

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You’ve probably heard it before: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This truism also applies to arts like Tai Chi, Qigong, Kung Fu, and Meditation. If you aren’t measuring your progress, then you can’t manage your arts (or yourself!). 

In my classes and workshops, I repeatedly stress the importance of tracking progress.  I hand out a progress chart to every new student, and charts are always available in my studio. Here’s why tracking progress is so important:

1. Your Memory Is Bad

If you’re a healthcare practitioner, then you know that patients are notorious for forgetting important details about their health.  That why acupuncturists, chiropractors, and doctors keep detailed charts for each patient.  Charts enable doctors to accurately measure the changes that patients experience over time.   

With these arts, you become your own doctor.  You heal yourself.   So who will keep your chart?  If you don’t keep a chart, will you remember all the details 6 months down the road?  What about 6 years?  Keep a chart for yourself because if you don’t do it, no one will.

2. Progress Comes Gradually

Students practicing these arts often wonder if they are making progress. Like a child’s height, it’s hard to see growth when you’re too close.  Here’s an example.

I once taught a student who was very good with numbers.  He made his own progress chart out of an Excel spreadsheet.  With the chart, he measured his progress in 28 categories. Over a period of 6 weeks, he rated each category on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst, and 1 being the best). By the end of 6 weeks, he measured an average decrease of 1.3 points, which is fantastic progress for 6 weeks!

But here’s the kicker: If not for his chart, this student said he wouldn’t have noticed any progress whatsoever!  He was making great progress, but the changes were so gradual that he wouldn’t have seen them without the chart. 

3. Humans Focus on the Negative

It’s human nature.  We focus on the negative.  A non-toothache is a very pleasant feeling, but the toothache gets all the attention.  Over and over, I see students completely ignore positive results and instead focus on the negative.  The conversation typically goes something like this:

Student:  “Sifu, it’s been 2 months. My knee still hurts.”
Sifu: “What about your sleeping patterns?  Have they improved?”
Student:  “Yes, but my knee still hurts.”
Sifu:  “And your digestion?  Has that improved?”
Student: “Yes, but my knee still hurts.”
Sifu: “And your energy levels?  Aren’t those up?”
Student:  “Yes, but my knee still hurts.”

In a situation like this, I usually ask the student to show me his or her chart.  If he doesn’t have a chart…well…there’s the problem.  If he does, then we can look at it together and see the positive, not just the negative.

I’ve you had chronic knee pain for 5 years, and the pain drops 20% over a period of 2 months, that’s great!  At that pace, your knee pain will be gone in 8 months — but only if you keep at it! Meanwhile, you’re not just working on your knee pain.  You’re working on everything at once.  This brings us to…

4. Progress is Holistic

These arts work holistically.  We don’t just work on one specific part of the body.  In fact, with these arts, it’s impossible to do that.  

The human body is not a car.  We are not made of separate parts that can simply be replaced.  The human body is a complex, organic, interconnected matrix of trillions of cells. 

If you have a bad knee, then it’s tempting to think that the problem is in the knee.  But it’s not.  The problem is that your knee is not healing, which points to an energy blockage somewhere.  For example, that blockage might be in the Liver Meridian.  If you focus only on treating the knee, then you’ll never get to the root of the problem, which is in the Liver Meridian.

In this example, the Liver Meridian needs to heal before your knee can heal.  As your Liver Meridian heals, however, you’ll get other benefits, like improved energy levels, and better stress management.  Keeping a  chart helps to keep all of this holistic progress in perspective.

5. Self-Healing Is Different

Self-healing is inherently different than going to see a healer.  If you go to see an acupuncturist, like my lovely wife, then she will do a thorough diagnosis.  But with self-healing, who is doing the diagnosing?

With self-healing, you must resist the urge to self diagnose.  Why?  Because you are not qualified!  You are not a diagnostician, and even if you were, you would not be as intelligent as your body’s healing system. 

Trust your body’s healing ability. That’s the magic of self-healing.  If you want a diagnosis, then go see a qualified acupuncturist, chiropractor, medical doctor, or another healer.  Leave the diagnosis to the experts. 

6. Keeping Records is Good

I wish that I could look back on years and years of my progress charts.  Over the years, I’ve forgotten about as many issues as I’ve healed.  Had I kept better records, I would have a permanent testament to the healing that I’ve done over the years.

Learn from my mistakes. Get in the habit of keeping a progress chart.  And after you fill them, file them away someplace safe.

I’ve made things easier for you.  When I started practicing, there was no such thing as a progress chart.  Now you can just download my version for free, and print out a new one whenever you need.

7. You Need a Map

By using a chart, we can not only see where we’ve been, but where we’re going. In example #2 above, the student would have been discouraged had he not kept an Excel spreadsheet.  But by keeping a chart and seeing his progress over 6 weeks, he could easily project ahead to the future.

For example, if your pain starts at an 8 (10 being the worst), and it drops to a 7 after 1 month of practice, then you can do the math and predict that it will take roughly 7 more months to get rid of your pain.  If the pain has been there for 8 years, then this is amazing progress!  Keeping a detailed progress chart will help you to project ahead and predict future results. 

8.  It’s Fulfilling

The feeling that you get when you look at a chart and see obvious progress is indescribable.  It’s a feeling of pride and satisfaction that, unfortunately, is all too rare these days.  If you want to feel this for yourself, then keep a progress chart for yourself.  (Of course, you also have to practice!)


These are just a few reasons to keep a chart.  I’m sure there are more.  (If you can think of any, please add them to the comments below!)  The moral of the story is that keeping a progress chart is important.  It’s also easy, once you get in the habit.  I like to tape my charts to the wall of my practice room.  Do you have a method that works for you?  If so, please share it below.

You can download the progress chart here.

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Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

[hr] I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.
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One Response to 8 Reasons to Track Your Progress

  1. Marc May 4, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Can you post the original Word version as well for easier editing? Thanks!

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