Progress is Progress ~ IsleofAtlas
“Progress is progress”
Why Slow Is Better Than Never
Writing this from my bedroom and reflecting on the week I’ve had (the first week of 2020 huhhh…), I felt inclined to provide a little update on how I’ve been progressing with…progress. It never made sense for me to speak on ideologies and lifestyles I haven’t been working to build experience in.
“Reflection isn’t just reserved for the end of a process, but as frequently as you need it to be.”
First things first, I feel like it’s important to remind myself (and you guys, my faithful readers) that I don’t get everything in one go. What I have appreciated about this whole blogging experience is the ability to reflect when the journey isn’t over yet. And in finding myself doing so, I guess it could be said I’m taking a leaf out of my book and actively resting! Which is always a good sign.
What I’m about to share with you guys hit me on a bike ride. The revelation was sudden, but expected – I’d spent much of the day in reflection, completing daily tasks and being really in my mental bag. It also kept me out in the cold for an extra hour 🙁 but it was worth the chills!
“Sometimes it’s better to get off your bike and walk.”
Ever try to cycle up a large slope on a bike? Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. The only worse alternative to cycling up a hill on a bike is trying to do so with no momentum. Almost makes you want to give up. I sure have a couple of times. So now imagine the sinking feeling of watching other, more capable cyclists on better-built bikes fighting the gradient with ease. If you gave up then, I wouldn’t blame you.
This was another normal Tuesday for me. Some days, I feel motivated enough to cycle up the hill, bite through the pain and eventually make it to the top. But more than often, I’ve given up. I’ve felt overwhelmed by the steep gradient. I’ve cursed out my bike. I’ve wished I was in better shape. I’ve wished I could’ve been at the top without the struggle.
But there is no peak without a struggle. Pushing yourself in these less-than-optimal conditions guarantee an above-average painful experience. And that’s enough to make any normal person give up. And they should. Because I found out that even after I gave up, I was still able to achieve my objective of making it to the top. I just got up and walked.
There’s more than one way to make it to the top. If I wasn’t so concerned with making it to the top as quick a fashion as possible, I would’ve been patient enough to consider other alternatives to progress. And that’s when I realised. I’d confused fast progress for being the only progress that counts, but this is rather far from the truth.
Progress isn’t defined by the velocity, but the frequency. The only progress that doesn’t count is no progress!
“Slow progress is better than no progress.”
My main takeaway from a book that I read last year – Atomic Habits – that I can remember, was the importance of committing to small, scalable systems. It doesn’t matter how small you start, just be willing to take the first step.
And then do the same thing tomorrow.
And the next day after that.
Don’t let yourself be so concerned about pushing your limits every time you sit down to work. Life isn’t supposed to one stressful episode after another.
Instead, focus on achieving your step 1% better than the step you achieved yesterday.
Automate the process and repeat.
I think I’m going to have to revisit this book (would deffo recommend the read) because this year, I want to commit to establishing those lessons more, so I can share them with you guys!
I saw this message on a mutual’s Instagram last week which reminded me of this:
“Hard work is just small things you could’ve done earlier.”
And it made me chuckle because it’s so true! On many occasions, I’ve found myself having to test the bounds of my ability to prioritise, manage time, as well as testing my mental state because I shrugged off what could’ve been achieved yesterday. And where deadlines have presented themselves as immovable objects, I’ve had to (rather painfully) transform into the Super Saiyan unstoppable force to complete snowballing assignments.
As a result, I’ve adapted to producing mostly on impulse, and not from discipline.
But last year, when I made it a personal development goal of mine to not make less emotionally charged decisions, it included those which neglected duty to remain in the comfort zone.
Nothing in life is free. The cost of me choosing to hide in my comfort zones has left me frustrated on many occasions, limited by how much discipline and practise I could have achieved when no one else was watching. Rather than swallowing my frustrations and bulking on the same decisions, I’ve decided to invest in some smarter choices.
Everything in life has a price tag and I think I’m ready to try another sample.