You’re already making progress, you just don’t know it.
Feeling stuck? We all have at least one area in life that seems to not want to budge.
Career, relationships, finances, weight, fitness, happiness…pick your nemesis.
There’s no shortage of books, seminars, and blog posts that talk about all of these.
This post isn’t about telling you what to do to shake things up.
It’s not going to be about teaching you one simple secret that will make you instantly surpass all your goals.
This post is about helping you see you’re making progress even when you don’t see it.
Our big issues in life are multifaceted. There is rarely one simple ingredient that will make everything shift.
How does a forest come down? All at once or one tree at a time?
*No forests were harmed in the making of this post.
Think of the forest when you consider your life issues.
Trying to work through a problem? Trying to get to a destination? Think of the forest.
You clear the forest one tree at a time. If you take down one tree from the forest, you don’t even see the difference. Plus, it was damn hard work to take down that one tree! You may not even see the difference after you take down 100 trees.
Is all this hard work for nothing? Why do my friends seem to have no problems clearing their forests? Can people please stop asking me about my forest??
Eventually, the forest does get thinner. Some light starts to shine through. You can finally start to see the progress you've made.
It’s in our nature to want immediate results.
Maybe it’s human nature, or maybe it’s a side effect of society, but we want results and we want them now. We see what’s possible and we expect big changes.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Bill Gates
I’ve heard this quote from a few sources, but I’ll attribute it to Bill Gates this time. Every aspect of our lives is the result of tons of small steps that bring us to where we are now.
Think about where you were ten years ago.
Ten years ago I was a single mother struggling to hold on to our small house at least until my kids graduated high school. I was super stressed out at work and at home. I wanted to get out of my profession and transition into something new, and I had no idea how I was going to navigate that. At the moment, it seemed impossible that anything would change.
My life looks nothing like that today. And in ten more years, it will look different yet again.
You are making progress.
Recognize how far you've come in the past ten years. Be reasonable in your goals and expectations for the upcoming year.
Tons of speakers and writers put a heavy emphasis on setting high and lofty goals. With a high and lofty goal comes the need for time. I like to set many small and manageable goals. The small goals lead up to larger goals. You can see rapid progress in reaching small goals. Checking off small goals makes you excited and changes your mindset from feeling stuck to seeing progress. Seeing progress opens the way for more rapid progress.
When you drive in the dark you only see as far as your headlights can shine. You don’t see much of anything along the roadside to indicate your progress. You can get all the way from New York to California only seeing the 100–200 feet ahead of you that your headlights show you.
But you get there one small step at a time.