For the last month or so I have been doing yoga an average of twice a week. Today was my ninth class and it seemed particularly difficult- maybe even harder than my first time. It bothered me. I began asking myself all sorts of not so empowering questions: “Why is this so hard? When does this get easier? Why is this taking so long?”Various versions of:
“How come I haven’t made more progress!?!?” – One of the Voices in my Head
When it comes to learning a new skill, a new discipline, taking on a new initiative or letting go of a bad habit, progress can be elusive. After over 20 years of studying, applying, and teaching the pathways to personal potential, I have come to three conclusions about progress. While these may seem obvious, frustration can often cloud our perspective. Here are some thoughts on making progress.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
- Progress doesn’t always look or feel like progress. Realizing our personal definition of progress often takes longer than we expect. Progress sometimes means letting go of our preconceived notions of how far we should have come by now. To get where you want to go, understand where you are without delusion or self-judgement. Consider expanding your definition of progress. Look for victories, no matter how seemingly small, and acknowledge yourself for even slight movements forward.
- Progress is not always steady. You may fall before you rise. You may fail often to succeed only once. You may take two steps backward to take one step forward. Learn from each setback. Listen to coaches and mentors who have mastery in the area you are growing in. Raise your awareness. Gain distinctions. Ask yourself: What did I do right? What could I have done differently? Apply the lessons.
- Progress is often made simply by consistently showing up. You never know when and where significant progress will occur. Keep showing up, continue to practice, train consistently. This exponentially increases the opportunity for progress compared to dabbling in disciplines once in awhile. Relax. Be patient. A breakthrough is right around the corner.
“If I had permitted my failures, or what seemed to me at the time a lack of success, to discourage me I cannot see any way in which I would ever have made progress.” – Calvin Coolidge