“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” ~Walter Elliott
I often find myself impatient with the pace of my progress. Waiting for my life to move forward can sometimes feel like I’m watching paint dry.
There are so many moments when we feel like our life is at a standstill. This is generally where I double down with my intensity. I hit it with everything I can. The crash comes soon after from the inevitable violent collision of my mind, body, and spirit as they’re pushed beyond their limits.
The idea of having to wait for anything is a first-world problem. The thought that your cat’s costume might not arrive in time for Halloween is enough to bring some people to tears. Just thinking of Mr. Whiskers having to go out as a plain ol’ cat is a bloody crime.
And that’s waiting for a cat costume.
What about that book you wish would just write itself?
What about that scale that still shows you being forty pounds heavier than you want to be?
What about that bank account that still isn’t bigger than your credit card bill?
These are not things we want to wait for. We want the juice without the squeeze.
We’ve grown so impatient with the idea of waiting for results that we act like moving slowly is a poison to progress. We default to believing the antidote is a shot of intensity straight to the veins. But all that gives us is further frustration, anger, guilt that we’re not doing enough, and the feeling that we need to push harder.
It’s such a horrible way to approach life. Especially since the only finish line comes when you take your final breath. And I don’t know about you, but I’m in no rush to get there early.
It’s exhausting even thinking about that period of my life when I wanted to write a book, lose forty pounds, and stop feeling broke. Not a day would pass when I wouldn’t be consumed by feelings of doubt and hopelessness. I should have been pushing out diamonds with the amount of pressure I was putting on myself.
That struggle led to a life-changing aha moment for me. I realized that there are two ways to approach making progress. You can hit it hard with intensity. Or you can set a long-term aim with consistency.
Which of these do you think is sustainable for making progress?
Think back to the children’s story of the tortoise versus the hare. These are lessons worth revisiting for their simple and profound principles on approaching life.
We all overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in a year with steady momentum.
How do you write a book? By establishing a daily writing habit.
How do you lose forty pounds? By moving your body every day and eating less than you burn.
How do you get out of debt? By making a daily choice to spend less than you earn (and invest the difference).
You’re not going to write a book in a day, but there’s a damn good chance you’ll have one in a year.
You’re not going to lose forty pounds in a day, but you could in a year.
You won’t get out of debt in a day, but you’ll set a trajectory for wealth creation that lasts the rest of your life.
How different could your life be a year from now if you committed to something that’s important to you?
Sit with that idea for a moment. Soak it in.
What would it feel like to hold that book in your hands?
What would it feel like to look at that scale and see the number you want to see?
What would it feel like to be debt-free and investing in your future?
I’m serious. Feel it. Wait till you get goosebumps.
That is peace of mind, relief, and a sense of fulfillment tied up in a bow on Christmas morning. That is the realization that you can have almost anything you want in your life if you stay disciplined with your priorities. That is the power of consistent daily habits.
There’s a saying about hope not being a strategy for change. I do believe hope is a beautiful emotion. But I’ve seen myself get stuck for years waiting, wanting, and wishing for a better life. Hope didn’t give me a way out because it left me at the mercy of my current circumstances.
Writer Lu Xun said, “Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”
This is the power of action and putting one foot in front of the other.
Every action you take is a vote toward the person you want to be. The more we align the things we do on a daily basis with the person we want to become, the more fulfillment we feel in the little things that get us there.
What do you wish you could change if only it didn’t feel so hard? And what could it mean for your life if every day you prioritized this change and did one small thing to work toward it?
Make the decision to commit to a simple daily habit that reflects the person you want to be and the life you want to live. When you do this, you’re deciding to take back control of your life. You’re deciding to give yourself a better future. You’re deciding that you matter.
About Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson is a bipolar creative with a knack for personal development. He geeks out on productivity, minimalism, and enjoying life. He runs Simplify Your Why, where he shares lessons learned on overcoming his battles with depression, type II bipolar, and entrepreneurship. He created a free course for anyone who wants to lead a happier, more productive life of simplicity (with less stress). Click here to access it.