Lifestyle

A rant about progress

Why do we only care about progression on a large scale? Or drastic change? Or material gain?

Having left my job to work in the school next door, I felt like I had to work hard to explain why I moved. Is it a lot more money? A different position? A promotion? Why are you leaving? And this caused me to question my choices, too.

And with having set a date for our wedding, some people weren’t that enthused. It’s not like the engagement, which is a big deal, or the wedding day itself. It’s just a date, not the main event.

But these things, though small, are progress!

Earning a little bit more money is progress. Working in a slightly better environment is progress. Meeting new people and having new challenges is progress. Setting a date and getting the dress is progress.

Why do we only celebrate or appreciate big changes or big steps?

And progression is relative, no? For example, if you are like me (sometimes anxious and neurotic) then changing jobs at all can be terrifying. Choosing to get married instead of constantly putting it off is terrifying. These may seem small on the outside looking in but for me personally, they are huge.

This may be true for you, too. People may look at your wins and not be very impressed. Sadly, it’s because to them it may not be such a hard thing to do. Getting on a plane to Edinburgh for a 40-minute flight was huge for me but to a seasoned traveller it’s easy-peasy!

Don’t compare successes, just celebrate all of yours!

Change the dialogue around the things you achieve.

“All I did today was plot the first half of my novel.”

Becomes “oh my god today I plotted the first half of my novel! I’m a step closer!”

“All I did today was a 10-minute low-intensity workout.”

Becomes “I worked out today when I didn’t want to which is showing up for myself and showing love for my body. I’m so proud of myself!”

It makes you want to take more steps. And in the long run, big success is made up of successful little steps along your journey.

It’s not about taking things easy and relaxing because you’re doing small things instead of big things. As I said, it’s the little things that add up to the big things anyway. And I have heard that you’re more likely to keep going on your journey to success when you do stop for a moment to cheer for yourself even after small achievements.

What is progress?

It’s having or doing something that wasn’t there before. It’s a step forwards rather than standing still or going backward. Heck, it can count as progress to go backwards, change direction, and then eventually move forwards! Progress isn’t linear, perfect, or huge. It’s a big squiggly line. It’s frustrating. But it’s worse if you don’t celebrate and recognise it for what it is, big or small.

Please, don’t undercut your progress by using the toxic phrase: but I still have far to go.

Urgh!

No!

Look back, smile, and see how far you’ve come. You’re allowed to do that. It doesn’t mean you won’t progress as fast or as well as others. It means you’ll be a much healthier and happier person on your road to “success” (it’s not a destination, but we seem to think it is…urgh toxic!). You should feel a sense of joy and pride along your way, to motivate you as well as feel happier.

Let’s be honest, it feels good to celebrate yourself! Why should that be reserved for big moments, special occasions, or some wonky societal version of success?

I’m proud of myself this year for the “small” wins, and that feels frickin amazing!

Sincerely,

S. xx

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