I used to question the management advice: "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it." It conflicts with a saying often attributed to Einstein*: "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."
As a user experience designer I appreciate the role data can play in better understanding user behavior, but I also believe that stats often mask the stories. Numbers don't fully capture what's happening.
Numbers often tell you what's happening, not why it's happening.
If you only measure your weight (or waist line) when trying to lose weight, you may be overlooking important factors effecting your weight-loss goals such as the quality of your sleep (not just the number of hours) and your mood (how do you even measure that!?).
But one thing I noticed about the value of measuring is that it helps you remember your goals, and to be more mindful of the behaviors that help (or hinder) your progress towards them.
I used to track some of my health habits in a weekly checklist, but thought I no longer needed to do that because I internalized the habits. It turned out that the routine of tracking was what led to sticking to those habits.
Therefore, measurement isn't simply about managing or improving, but acts as a mental anchor to remind us of the goals we want to achieve.
I'm going back to tracking my habits so I'm reminded of the goals I want to achieve and the daily commitment I need to make.
What goals do YOU want to achieve? And what measures can you take to help you remember what you need to do? #seewhatididthere
* I discovered a minute ago that it's a false attribution. Thanks Quote Investigator! https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/26/everything-counts-einstein/