June 26, 2007

Visualizing progress: expect fluctuation and watch the trendline

Progress hardly ever happens in a straight line. The picture to the left shows a real life example of an improvement process. The red line shows the actual values found. As you see, it constantly fluctuates. The blue line is the trend line which shows that over time there is a slow but steady improvement. The arrows show the following: Arrow 1: fast first results, quick progress. Arrow 2: rather heavy fall back. Arrow 3: quick improvement again. Arrow 4: serious fall back again after which improvement picks up again. It would be very easy to get discouraged when focusing too much on the fluctuations, at point 2 and 4 for instance. Two things are important to remember: 1) It is normal for progress to show this kind of fluctuation, and 2) The trendline is an important line to watch. This line shows you that there is actual growth overall. The trendline is a very motivating line to watch.


  1. Coert,

    How would you suggest a person chart their progress? Should they look at their progress daily and rate progress on a scale of 1-10 over time?

  2. Hm.. I don't know. Maybe that varies from person to person and may be it would depend on the type of change we were talking about?
    For instance, with weight loss, a daily measurement might work?
    I don't know how generally this question can be answered


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