If you feel like you’re never really making any progress toward your goal, you may have a hard time giving yourself credit.
Do you take time to celebrate your victories? You might downplay your accomplishments as insignificant and focus on the negative, the pessimistic, or the difficult side of everything.
Over the past few years of speaking and training at agencies and associations, I’ve stayed in touch with a number of people who have become serious about dealing with their fear and improving themselves in ways they hadn’t for years, perhaps ever. I love getting emails from them about their progress in changing their beliefs, actions, and, ultimately, their lives.
I met “Ann” in 2013, and she vowed to make changes. She had a couple of things in mind she wanted to pursue, one of which was weight loss. You and I know that people often proclaim they’re going to lose weight, but never do. Much to my delight, Ann was different. She got started and stuck to it.
Over the past seven months I’ve received the most wonderful emails from Ann telling me about her success.
- September 17, 2013: “Well, thus far I have lost 20 lbs.”
- March 5, 2014: “I have lost 35 lbs.”
- April 23, 2014: “I have now lost a total of 40 lbs.”
As you could imagine, those words made my day. She was doing it!
After each of these declarations of success, instead of talking about being happy or proud of her success and being excited about going forward, Ann would discount the monumental progress she’d made by focusing solely on the struggle.
She was disappointed in her slow progress and talked about how hard it was from day to day and would be for the rest of her life. Her words made it seem that she was expecting all her progress to go away, that she was inevitably going to fail. She looked at the big picture, and it was overwhelming to her.
Yes, change is difficult. Yes, some days—even some weeks—you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. This is the ebb and flow of life. It’s not going to be perfect every day. It’s not going to be easy every day. And that’s normal.
The shift needed in Ann’s case is simply one of focus. Focus on the progress made rather than the difficult road ahead. Focus on breathing in the victory, realizing that you are not the same person you were before, instead of possible failure.
Take a few minutes every day to celebrate how far you’ve come, how much success you have had, and then focus on today, not tomorrow, not next week or next month.
Congratulate yourself for the decision to start changing and the commitment to see it through. Decide. Commit. Succeed.