Forecasting involves making projections about future performance on the basis of historical and current data - from "Time series Forecasting using Holt-Winters Exponential Smoothing,"
Without current data and past performance data, no forecast of future data can be credible. Current data alone is of no use with knowing what this data should be representing at a performance level. This is the core paradigm of closed loop control. Simply taking samples and assuming these samples represent information to the decision makers is ignoring the underlying system that generated those samples. Without the reference point (goal) the feedback has no way of generating the measurement error and therefore no way of providing input to the system to produce the desired output.
All sampled data from the system, needs to be placed in the context of how those numbers came about, how they were generated, and what possible ranges those numbers could have taken on - not just the current set of numbers.
For example writing down your running times for the past 6 weeks over a trail is useful, but without knowing your capacity for how fast you could run, they are of little use in improving your times over the same or similar courses. The only way to know is to go out an try to run faster.
This is fine. But if you earn your living by running, as a few do in our neighborhood, the goal setting process is missing. Knowing how fast you need to run to win the Bolder Boulder in a Professional category is set before training starts in the winter. It's a training to goal. Amateurs don't usually do this in the Citizen category. But every A runner I know, has a target goal for the 10K before the season starts, a plan to reach that target goal by the May 30th race.
As rank amateurs we are lucking just to finish. But when we see Uta Pipping on the open space trail, she is always looking at her watch, she runs to a goal, we run for a different reason. Same for the pro cyclist on the road, always peddling to a pace needed to maintain their goal.
As Yogu says If you don't know where you're going, you'll wind up somewhere else