Ed Koch, the former Mayor of New York City, would often begin his press conferences with, “So, how am I doing?” He was known for his willingness to consistently seek feedback from his constituency.

Constant feedback is critical to your long-term success. It helps you make minor adjustments today that will have a major impact tomorrow. Most of us don’t enjoy feedback because we take it too personally. The first rule to making all feedback constructive is, “Always be gentle with yourself.” It’s your internal representation of your present circumstances that impairs you from learning the lesson and keeps you dwelling on the mistake. Make it a habit of moving from frustration to fascination and replace thoughts of failure with feedback.

So, how are YOU doing? How are you doing in the areas of health, finance and relationships?

As a business coach, I devote the first Thursday of the month to helping my clients take a critical look at what’s working and what’s not working in their lives. I now offer you the opportunity to participate in this exercise.

The beginning of each month is an excellent time to survey your activities over the previous 30 days and determine if you moved closer to or further away from your goals. Remember, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Use this time to explore new strategies and don’t be afraid to change your goals.

Are you trying your best but it appears as if you are making the same mistakes again and again? If so, then you have developed a pattern of thinking and acting. This pattern is what’s really holding you back. Much like the grooves on a record, you keep producing the same old sad song. Turning up the volume and purchasing a better stereo will not change the song. Only you can change the record.

Forget what others will say about you. Just focus on what is right for you, your business and your family. I help my coaching clients to do this by applying an analytical benchmark to their business progress.

In each of the following categories, give yourself a score from 0 to 10. “0” indicates that no or very poor results were achieved and “10” indicates that you are doing better than Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey in that category.

Rank each category on a scale of zero to ten. In the last 30 days,

1. Customer Service – How well did you deliver on your business promise?
2. Training – Did you or a staff member learn a new skill or read a book?
3. Health – Did you exercise on a regular basis and eat healthier meals?
4. Relationships – Were you able to spend quality time with friends and family members?
5. Spiritual – Do you feel a closer level of connection with your Creator?
6. Finance – How close did you come to reaching your monthly income goals?
7. Marketing/PR – How effectively did you use the internet, public relations, seminars or any other marketing tools to improve your business?
8. Team Building – What did you do to recruit, retain or motivate team members?
9. Sales – Were you able to effectively utilize your sales focus days? How will did you handle objections? Are you using a contact management system to reach and close prospects on a regular basis?
10. Joy – Do you feel alive? Are you really happy?

Add up your scores. You are no longer in high school. A score of less than 65 does not mean that you are failing. Being deliberate about increasing your score each month is far more valuable than your present score.

Next, take a look at the categories that received the two lowest scores.

What will you do differently next month to raise your score in those areas?

Let me repeat that again, what will you do differently next month to raise your scores in the two lowest areas? Your response to this question is critical. Take the time to really explore new strategies.

If you don’t, you will always keep getting the same results. Life is truly that simple.

Have fun with this. Partner with a buddy and give yourself a prize if you can significantly increase your overall score.

Feel free to use my message board at www.SmallBusinessCamp.com to post your scores each month. You can get feedback from the Small Business Camp community and be held accountable to your action items.

Keeping monthly score and being held accountable is the best way to reach your long-term goals.

Andrew Morrison is the founder of Small Business Camp – an entrepreneurial training, coaching and marketing services firm. Previously he built a multi-million dollar direct marketing company. He was featured in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Visit www.SmallBusinessCamp.com to register for his FREE business building tele-seminar.