Although you might not always feel like you’re moving forward, even small steps count as progress.
Do you ever feel like life just isn’t going anywhere, like you’re working as hard as you can without making any forward progress? Ashlee Cunningham’s Liahona article “How Do I Know If I’m Moving Forward on the Covenant Path?” talks about feeling stuck in the effort to become better. “I feel like I’m a board game piece that can’t move forward no matter how many times I roll the dice,” she writes. We’ve probably all felt that way at some point in our lives.
One fall afternoon, my dad decided we would hike a small mountain near our home. Unfortunately, we turned left a little too soon, and instead of hiking on the main path, we ended up walking straight up the main face of the mountain. The trail we took was so steep that soon, we were taking breaks every five or ten steps, completely winded. Luckily, we could see the top, so we couldn’t be that far! Or so we thought.
Twenty minutes went by, then forty, then an hour, and it didn’t seem like we were any closer to the top than before. I felt like I was walking in place, stuck forever on the side of this stupid mountain. I got more and more frustrated the longer we went without making it to the top. I seriously contemplated just giving up and going back, but my dad’s cheery attitude (or simple unwillingness to turn around) kept us going. Just one more step. Just to the next switchback.
I started focusing on taking small steps instead of focusing on the summit. Celebrating small victories—just to the stand of trees, just to the boulder—helped me realize I was making progress even if I wasn’t getting to the top as quickly as I wanted. And despite feeling totally stuck throughout the hike, we did eventually make it all the way to the top!
We all feel stuck at some point in our lives; it’s easy to feel like life is going nowhere fast. Still, as we make small steps and celebrate accomplishing small goals on the way to our big goals, we can see more progress in our lives. As Ashlee points out, “It’s truly in our everyday moments” that we continue pressing forward. Focusing on the here and now can help us avoid feeling frustrated as we remember our goals are accomplished step by step.
Read the full article by Ashlee Cunningham here.
—Susanna Bergeson, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY HOLLY MANDARICH
Find more insights
Read more about how to avoid progress paralysis in Mckenna Gustafson Clarke’s Latter-day Saint Insights article “Don’t Allow Mistakes to Paralyze Your Progress.”