London: Whether you are trying to lose weight or quit smoking, the more frequently you monitor progress, the greater the chances of attaining your goal, suggests new research.
If you report your progress publicly or physically record it, the chances of success get even greater, said the study.
"Monitoring goal progress is a crucial process that comes into play between setting and attaining a goal, ensuring that the goals are translated into action," said lead author Benjamin Harkin from University of Sheffield in England.
"This review suggests that prompting progress monitoring improves behavioural performance and the likelihood of attaining one's goals," Harkin noted.
The researchers conducted an analysis of 138 studies comprising 19,951 participants that looked at the effectiveness of an intervention or treatment designed to prompt participants to monitor their goal progress.
The studies focused primarily on personal health goals such as losing weight, quitting smoking, changing diet or lowering blood pressure.
They found that prompting participants to monitor their progress towards a goal increased the likelihood that the participants would achieve that goal.
Furthermore, the more frequent the monitoring, the greater the chance of success.
Additional analysis revealed that monitoring progress had an even greater effect if the information was physically recorded or publicly reported.
For example, people who belong to weight loss groups where they regularly weigh themselves in front of other members have a greater chance of achieving their weight loss goals, Harkin said.
The study appeared in the journal Psychological Bulletin.