The importance of keeping score

It’s fun when you practice something and it turns out that there is science backing it! In this case, keeping an account of small accomplishments.

“[B]y keeping score during the most important periods of challenge and growth in your life, you’ll better remember exactly what you did to get stronger—making it more likely you’ll do it again in the future.”

– from the book “SuperBetter: How a gameful life can make you stronger, happier, braver and more resilient” by Jane McGonical (free preview at

This tactic can work on something as simple as finding motivation to stay on track for a fitness goal or business goal, but also has effect in more serious issues like recovering from a health problem. The author describes her personal experience:

“Just keeping score this way had a very interesting effect on me. Whenever I had a miserable migraine day, instead of slipping into depression and despair, I could look at the growing tally next to my bed and say, “Look at all those good days you’ve had. Statistically speaking, you are going to feel better tomorrow or at the very least the day after. This pain is not forever. Hang in there.” The tally turned into objective evidence that gave me hope for the future.”

As for my own score, today was a rare day for one of my counts: I’ve now run a 10K distance in 10 different countries (Greece, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Turkey, Denmark, Switzerland). As I almost exclusively travel on business, it’s not easy to increase this score, which only makes it more special. It’s taken more than three years to get here and obviously the end (193 countries in the world) is nowhere near :) For added fun, I need to start a separate count for 13K runs as well…

Also published on Medium.

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