Even Little Steps Are Progress



Many of us often beat ourselves up for not making the progress that we want to, however even little steps need to be acknowledged as moving forward.  We also strive for perfection in a world that is far from it.  Today I will help you to learn how to focus on making progress versus perfection.

Little Steps, Always Moving Forward

With each little step we take we are one closer to our goals.

As I mentioned above, when taking even little steps you are still moving forward.  Think of it as the classic story of the tortoise and the hare.  While the hare was much faster, he was often distracted by things that were not important.  The tortoise meanwhile just kept taking step after step until he won the race.

A great movie that really digs into this concept is Meet the Robinsons.  I remember taking my kids to see the movie and while it was really entertaining, it also had a great message about keeping yourself moving in a positive direction.  If you haven’t already seen the movie I would definitely recommend it.

Another perspective to think about it is driving at nighttime.  Your headlights only shine so far ahead on the road, but we know that we can keep driving as there is more ahead.  Add in the road signs that help guide our way and you have a great metaphor for life.  We may not be able to see what lies ahead, but our lights and the signs will help to guide us along.

Progress Versus Perfection

Stop beating yourself up for what you haven’t done and start acknowledging what you have.

Then next thing to keep in mind is how much more important it is to have progress versus perfection.  This is a matter of where you are putting your focus and that my friend is the key to moving forward in a positive fashion.

There are two obvious places that you can place your attention, either on the things you have not yet accomplished or you can acknowledge what you have already completed.  If you beat yourself up over the things that you have not yet accomplished, you are only taking the focus away from all the stuff that you have.

Once you can learn to be aware of what needs done still and choose to focus on what you have already accomplished, you will start to see how much more progress you can then make.  Just like life in general it is always a balancing act, but one that can easily be won with a bit of mindfulness.

Article:  Mindfulness – Why it is Important

This is actually something that I myself have been working on for a long time.  When it comes to doing things I used to be held back by the idea of not being able to do it perfectly.  However, I have learned that only keeps me from learning how to do something in the first place.

This website is a perfect example.  When I first got into learning about website creation I did so because I wanted to make a one just like this.  However, not knowing what I was doing I decided to use a different topic to learn with the plan of coming back to doing this.

What I learned is that I only held myself up for two years worth of progress lost while I worked on my other website.  That site turned out to be a great site in it’s niche and has been a template that I have used for every each one I have created since then.  Had I started off with what I wanted to do in the first place I would have much more progress under my belt by now.

Each Lego piece is like taking one step forward.

One last example I would like to share with you is building something with Legos.  Let’s say you want to build a big castle and at first it can seem very daunting looking at all of those tiny little pieces.  However, each time you add a piece you are now closer to achieving your goal and you have made progress.  The castle can’t just be completed instantly, it needs each and every little step to bring it into life.

But What if I Fail?

Failure is a part of life and there is no getting around that.  As a matter of fact most of today’s successful people will tell you that they have failed more than they have ever succeeded.  You see with each failure comes knowledge of what does and doesn’t work.

Let’s take for example learning how to play baseball.  Between my own childhood and my oldest son’s career with the sport, I have never seen a new player come in and play perfectly.  Some may have more natural talent for the sport than others, but we all had to come in and make mistakes and learn from them.

With each swing and miss we learn.

With each swing and miss we learned how to better focus on the ball.  With each hit we knew what we did better and then incorporated it into our future attempts.  It is a process of trial and error, but both success and failures are learning moments to help us improve.

If you want to get a more in depth look at this perspective, check out my previous article:  The Importance of Learning from Mistakes. I would highly recommend it as it will help alleviate the fear of failure and help turn it into a motivating factor instead.

What are Your Thoughts?

As always I would like to encourage you to share your thoughts and perspective on the subject.  In doing so we can both learn more together and perhaps help someone else that happens by here.

If you enjoyed this article Here are some others that I have written that tie into this subject well:

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope that you were able to learn something and to get a better perspective on life.  Stop by any time!

James W D

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18 Replies to “Even Little Steps Are Progress”

  1. Coming to your post was prefect timing for me. We are starting a new home business as so many people are out there and we are just in the beginning stages. Of course that can be overwhelming as it is but we are working at looking at it just as you say, step by step and setting deadlines to meet to make sure we continue to process. I had set a goal for myself that ended last night and I came up short. Did not quite reach the goal I wanted, I was thinking in my very tired, frustrated state, maybe we can not do this, maybe it is too much. I should have been able to get that done. But after reading your article it helped a lot, I just swung and missed. I know now that our lifestyle with kids ect, does not allow for certain work habits, I need to change my ways to reach every goal going forward. Thank you for this post, it was a pleasure to read.

    • Michael, I am a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason and when we find things like this as you said at the perfect time, if it just life’s way of telling you that you are on the right path. So taking that into consideration, I am glad that I was able to post this road sign for you and to be able to help you on your journey. Keep taking those steps and pay attention to what does and doesn’t work. Refine your methods and just keep moving forward, step after step.

  2. Baby steps are better than no steps at all! Progression is progression no matter how fast or slow we move forward. We can’t be discouraged by other peoples progress we just have to stay in our own lane and trust the process. We could have a year of slow progress and then out of nowhere we make a major leap!

    • Very well said Chawn. Every day we make progress whether we admit it or not. We are gaining experience in life and that affects everything we do going forward. Also, like you said progress may be slow for a while, but then you have that “aha” moment and take a leap forward!

  3. As the great Chinese taoist Lao-Tzu once said: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Those first steps in a new direction are the most important and as we follow through the journey eventually is complete. Many people forget that life is a process and the direction we are moving in is more important than the speed at which we are moving or how many times we fall and rise again. If we persist then we will finally arrive.

    • Yes that is a great saying and I am thankful that you brought it up. The first steps can be the hardest, but also the most exciting too. The important part though is to believe in yourself enough to take them,

      Life is definitely a process and it is not about reaching that final destination as it is about the journey there. There is so much to learn in this life, so much to appreciate that it makes sense to take our time to travel through and to enjoy the ride.

  4. Thank you for this post! I like how you gave several different analogies to explain the importance of taking life one step at a time. This can indeed be difficult to remember as we have big hopes and dreams. For me these big plans can get very overwhelming if I don’t keep track of the importance of building with one lego at a time, as you say…
    Thanks! Great site!

    • Sarah, thanks for your kind words. Yes I have found analogies to be a very helpful way to explain things, especially in a text based format. When it comes to big dreams or other projects, it can definitely be overwhelming. This is why being aware of what needs done, but focusing on the progress can go a long way in keeping you motivated throughout the process of achieving your goals.

  5. Hey James I liked your post on making progress. Some of us just lose focus, and sometimes we forget to celebrate the little victories. I have a problem with this at times, and when that happens your never satisfied because nothing is perfect. Thank you for the article and keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for the compliment, it is truly appreciated. It is important to celebrate the little victories as well as just appreciate them as well. All to often we dwell on what hasn’t been done and that just holds us back. The best motivator is looking back and appreciating all of the progress you have made.

  6. Hey good article. Just realized I wanted to say that we are all being too busy these days to take any extra steps. Meaning most are not aware of the useless things we do that can wait, or be done later. While we take all important steps on what is important.

    Life is more than being busy. We need to remove some of the clutter from our time demanding busy bee attitudes and get to work on something that is going to make a difference!



    • I hear what you are saying Rick. Recently in life I have taken on the thought process of just staying productive and that has helped me tremendously. By focusing on all the productive things I have done it has helped me to be even more productive. It’s not always about just being busy, but rather taking those steps no matter how small or big as long as they take you forward.

  7. Hey, James! Always enjoy reading your posts and the great metaphors you manage to sneak in every one! And, this post is no exception; it’s loaded with ’em!! I especially love the headlights on the highway…which is also a reminder not to get too far ahead of yourself, stay focused on the stretch of road visible in the lights and don’t worry about what’s beyond that point until it’s in the light! 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping back by Barb, you always help bring my content to another level with your comments. I appreciate here how you took my metaphor and raised it up! That is just an awesome perspective. Thanks much for sharing it!

  8. Hi

    This is a very inspiring post, I like the focus being on moving forward and not trying to be perfect.

    Sometimes if people are too focused on every little details being perfect then they tend to not push on, just go for it if you make mistakes then guess what you’ve just learned something.

    • Ben, First thanks for stopping by. I am glad that you found inspiration in this post and I hope that it can help to carry you through the rest of your day in a positive fashion.

      Details are great, but at the same time if you worry about making every little one perfect, you may never accomplish whatever it is you set out to do in the first place. So go out and live, make mistakes and learn from them, but always keep moving forward.

  9. I totally agree with you in this post. I think that making progress is much more important than getting it perfect, no matter what it is we’re doing in life. I also think that it’s important to keep moving forward even if you’ve just hit a positive milestone, otherwise you can get too comfortable. Learning from failures is also helpful, but it’s also important to know that there WILL be failures and obstacles along the way that we will need focus to get past.
    Thanks for sharing this post, and keep up the good work.

    • Ian, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. yes there WILL always be failures and obstacles to overcome in life. However this is the spice of life and without them we would be pretty bored here. Taking the time though to learn from these challenges is what makes life great.

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