Mark Your Progress but Forget the Past

When it comes to goal setting, many of us struggle with setbacks. 

It happens to everyone. Sometimes we just don’t progress at the rate we anticipated, and we get discouraged.

My strategy to combat this is to mark the progress, but forget the past. 

When you measure how far you’ve come and note your improvement, pause and take that as your success. Look at the next day as if you’re starting again, rather than continuing from the previous day. 

We all need some kind of marker to track how we’re doing, but be careful that tracking your progress isn’t harming you. 

For example, maybe you were sober for 30 days and then had a drink. Instead of saying, “I just ruined everything, I made it 30 days and now it’s a waste” say “I made it 30 days. That’s amazing” and start again.

One of my resolutions last year was to read the Bible in a year. Through September, I missed at most 2 days, and I would always do 3 readings on the 3rd day to catch up. Then I moved, things were chaotic, I was stressed, and I didn’t read for a week. I kept trying to catch up, but it was too much reading for me to find time to do in a day, and I was always 5-7 days behind. It became too much of a chore, I was reading too fast just to complete the task rather than actually reading and taking in what was written. 

I spoke with a friend about it who asked me, “Who said you can’t skip a week?”

It was simple…but it never occurred to me. 

Instead of looking at the bigger picture, working to spend time with God daily, I looked at my task in its entirety for the year. If I missed a week, I failed my task. 

I should have skipped the week. God wouldn’t be angry at me for skipping a week, He would commend me for reading the word at all.

You can apply this to anything – maybe it’s fitness. If you want to workout 5 days a week and you only work out 2 days this week, that doesn’t mean you failed. 2 days was your progress. 

Now forget about it. 

If you look at the month saying, “I need to work out 20 days this month and I already lost 3 for not doing it this week” you’re beating yourself up and not allowing yourself to progress. 

Be kind to yourself. Don’t look at the month. Look at the week. Your goal was 5 days and you did 2. Great! Now it’s a new week. Work on your 5 days. 

You don’t have to wait until the first to create a new habit. Start today – and think of every day like your first day. You’ll get there! 

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