This past year, I’ve been more into fitness than ever before in my life. I love the feeling of incremental successes. Of slowly, gaining strength and endurance; being able to lift one more pound of weight or shaving one second off my mile.
I keep track of everything. Every workout documented, regular checkups from the doctor, and a strict diet.
It’s not so far off from the way I kept notes on my successes and failures with social intelligence. I had several notebooks full of research, questions, and field reports.
Without it – I wouldn’t have the understanding I do now. I also would not have progressed as fast as I did.
So, here’s a question for you: Do you track your progress?
If not, then it’s time to start because the people who became the best in the world at their sport did so because of how they practiced. When you train at a world-class level you track everything. You never know which adjustment is going to make the difference for you.
It’s the same with understanding the social dynamics. You don’t have to train as much as an Olympic athlete but putting some of their principles to use for you will definitely take you to another level.
Here are a few tips:
- Document when and how long you practiced. To track your progress you’ll need a timeline. Be sure to date each practice session and how long your practice session lasted.
- Set a specific goal before you go out. What are you working on? This means writing down a clear and achievable goal for the night. Many people go out with the intention of practicing social skills, but not the intention of practicing a piece of the skill set. Break it down, practice it in parts, and eventually, you’ll be better at the art form as a whole.
If I were going to the gym I might write, as a goal — 5 sets of 5 back squats @ 75% of my maximum weight. I wouldn’t write: Get stronger.
Similarly, as a social skills goal I might write: I am going to approach 4 mixed groups using the cashmere sweater opener. I wouldn’t write: find dream date.
Be specific. Work on what you know will push you out of your comfort zone but is still achievable.
- Write out your experience. This could range from a fully detailed field report, to bullet points about the experience. The goal is to sit down and rethink the entire night. The more you do this, the better your memory will be, and the more aware you’ll become.
- Write possible solutions to problems. After you’re done practicing, write down what problems you ran into. Next to the problems write down a few ideas you have for solving the problem. The next time you’re out practicing this material again, test one of your theories. If you succeed, you may have an answer. If you don’t, when you get home, think through the problem again.
- Write down the next date you’re going to practice. Always set up the next session when you get home. Putting it on paper will help motivate you to get out for your next practice session.
Tracking your progress will help make each practice session more efficient. As your practice becomes more efficient, success will become more regular and your confidence will go through the roof.
These small successes which will give you the confidence to reach your ultimate goals and become your absolute best at social interactions.
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