Keep/Stop/Start – A Simple, Yet Effective, Tool for Improvement

We have all been there before – we identify a goal or an accomplishment we want to achieve, we take the time develop a plan of action (PoA), and then set-off on our goal-achievement journey by executing our PoA with great excitement and enthusiasm when, suddenly, an unexpected roadblock appears. We are faced with a decision at this exact moment – stubbornly move forward with our PoA even though it is not working, give up entirely on achieving said goal, or evaluate what is happening and make the necessary adjustments so we can continue our path of improvement/achievement! We all know that there is only one right answer in this scenario and here is a simple, yet effective, tool to help streamline the “evaluate and adjust” process!


The Keep/Stop/Start Method is a tool that helps us identify three key elements in our evaluation and refinement process: (1) what is working, (2) what is holding us back/blocking our progress, and (3) what are we going to do about it! It is important to be detailed and specific when executing the Keep/Stop/Start evaluation. The details will drive our ability to make impactful changes to our PoA which, in turn, determines how likely we are to achieve what we have set out to achieve!

  • KEEP: Identify the actions that have led to positive progress towards your goal achievement. These are the actions that we need to KEEP executing!
  • STOP: Identify both the internal ( in your control) and external (not in your control) factors that have led to actions and/or inactions that have served as barriers to your goal achievement. What do you need to do to STOP those actions/inactions from hindering your progress?
  • START: Identify new actions (or a whole new action plan if you missed the mark on your original PoA) you need to START implementing to make positive progress towards your goal achievement. 

Here’s a simple example that should help in your implementation of the Keep/Stop/Start method of evaluation.

  • My goal is to be able to be able to walk one mile in under 15 minutes by the end of April
  • KEEP: I’ve adjusted my work schedule to include 30 minutes for personal wellness activity. I am going to KEEP dedicating 30 minutes of personal wellness activity into my daily schedule.
  • STOP: I need to STOP scheduling lunch meetings right before or right after my scheduled personal wellness time because I have used those meetings as excuses to not do my 30 minutes of wellness activity. 
  • START: I am going to START scheduling my personal wellness activity time for the morning, before I go in to work, to avoid conflicts with any midday meetings.

If We Are Not Improving…

The Keep/Stop/Start Method of evaluation/reflection is a simple yet effective tool that can help us stay on track towards achieving all that we have set out to achieve. People, and the environment in which we live, work, study, and/or play, are ever changing and the only way to keep up with those changes is to evaluate and adapt. Remember, if we are not evaluating, we cannot adjust, if we are not adjusting, we cannot improve, and if we are not improving, we are falling behind!

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