Progress is the essence of life. To live is to grow.
This means drastically different things to different people. Progress in your professional life, progress toward a higher spiritual cause, growing to improve in areas of your life that you deem lacking, fitness goals, none of the above, or all of the above and more. The specifics are less important than the commitment to grow.
"You're either growing or your dying, there ain't no third direction."
Whether consciously or not, we all constantly strive for improvement. Listen to any random conservation at a party or on the street (or better yet, take note of the topics of your interpersonal interactions over the next few days). I'll bet the topic of conversation is progress (either of the recently-accomplished or planned-for-the-future variety). I want to lose ten pounds. I'm working toward this promotion. I have this plan for the living room. Look what we've done with the backyard. Whatever.
So many of our conscious thoughts and plans are focused on our progress. This seems obvious. Why even write about it?
Be sure your focus and commitment to progress are aimed at meaningful pursuits. Point your focus toward what really matters and understand the changes required to get there.
Think about the kind of goals or changes you are constantly telling people about. I want to start stretching everyday. I want to start waking up earlier. I want to get my first pull-up. I want to get that raise. I really want to start a garden.
How long have you been proclaiming to want such things yet failing to act on them? What activities fill your time that do not contribute to the progress you desire?
Chances are that you diligently practice some daily tasks and have not taken a single step toward some of your goals (regardless of how often you think/talk/write about them). Which pursuits do you prioritize? Those that matter most or those that come easiest? Those that challenge you to make meaningful change or those that allow you to continue acting along comfortable establish patterns?
You are accomplishing things all the time. Which things are you choosing? Do you really aspire to be an accomplished internet surfer, TV watcher, or beer drinker? Or do you aspire towards other areas of progress?
You are always growing. On which areas have you focused this growth?
This essay is split into two parts for brevity and for effect. I think new ideas and hard truths are best received in small easily-digestible chunks. I want to give you the opportunity to ask yourself these questions and ponder your answers before I continue. Part 2 focuses on honing your growth toward more meaningful progress and how to make the requisite changes to begin moving in the direction.
For now, I'll leave you with this: Change is uncomfortable and easily avoided. However, if you are not getting what you want, change is a must.
Please share your thoughts below. One of the best ways to break the pattern of avoiding uncomfortable change is to acknowledge and address it. I would love to begin an open dialog about the things that you struggle with. Thank you for reading and please check out part 2:
Author's Note: Have I successfully managed to quote Tommy Boy while preserving the sapient tone of this essay? Probably not, but is was worth it haha.