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Progress; The Before, After and In-Between

Progress is the act of moving towards a defined goal or destination. The word progress is a measurement used to recognize the process, acknowledging what successes it took to reach a set point. Making progress, we know, is not linear a road. It is not as straightforward, and it doesn't happen without intentional action, unintentional detours, and resilience development. Learning to overcome these obstacles and recalibrate our journey gives us the inner strength to keep going and ultimately achieve our goals. Progress is created in-between the progress points; it's where the process happens.

Having a reference point to look back on is empowering. It reminds us of how far we've come and how our actions move us towards our end goals by using the choices, sacrifices, discipline, and commitments we make. Some of these actions may feel inconsequential and mundane in our day-to-day living because success and progress are not always seen, felt, or happen on a set timetable. Even if we do everything right, we may not see progress. Our need to see concrete results can cause us to question our abilities and directions when they appear invisible.

These mindset setbacks can easily cause us to get discouraged, no matter the goal. Setbacks can also be challenging if we are comparing the indicators of our success to other people. Even if our destinations seem similar, we are not on the same journey. Our biology, experiences (successes and failures), temperaments, history, internal dialogs, self-esteem, and perspective influence the journey's tenacity. Even though we don't always see proof of progress, it doesn't mean it isn't happening. As the saying goes, "Trust the process."

An important reminder is that our progress, successes, failures, invisible processes, detours, and missed deadlines do not define our worth or our capability to succeed. Change and direction-related growth occur on different levels, internally and externally. It occurs within the mental, physical and emotional aspects of our lives. As long as we are trying, transformation is happening.

Progress be can be measured by meeting key milestones, but during the in-between times of the process, it may look like small, obscure movements, a pause or a complete stop, or even two steps backward before going forward again. Life is a continuous journey of evaluation and focused change. Continued commitment to the process leads to progress. Learning is lifelong, and because of that, we are constantly changing. The lessons we learn and the struggles we overcome, and our change in perspective help us navigate the journey and give us the ability to overcome many of life's challenges. Making progress, however, does not mean perfection.

Progress occurs during the continuous pursuit of our goals. Time is the variable on which we base our measurements. According to the Theoretical Physicist Carlo Rovelli, in The Order of Time (2018), he suggests that time is an illusion, not what it seems. He also alludes that our concept of time limits our participation and interactions within our lives. In my experience, our maturity, experiences, and our resources contribute to how we perceive time. Time is seen as a swinging pendulum from past time, dwindling current time, and an enormous amount of future time, in which we believe there will be more than enough.

Taking advantage of the time we have now, and the knowledge we gain by pursuing it is how we move towards achieving our goals and dreams. The amount of time we have to follow them is, at best, undetermined. Living in the construct of now, you will realize that there is enough time for you to become whatever you want to be, wherever you want to go, and the opportunity to make ongoing process adjustments. Once we reach our destination, there is additional time to reevaluate and evolve; the act of moving forward, gaining knowledge, and making adjustments.

Process and progress are defining points of a journey based on pursuing an individual's dreams and physiological constructs. Creating specific action gives clarity and direction in pursuing goal success. Both process undertakings and measured progress contribute to the overall wins. Here are some ideas to incorporate into our purpose-driven plans

· Set specific goals

· Identify short term measurable progress points- rewards optional

· Define personal actionable steps (decisions, choices, behaviors that you will follow) to support the progress and overall goal(s)

· Reinforce those actionable commitments even if you can't see or feel progress

· Realize that it is okay to readjust, refocus, or restart when you are off course or want to change direction

· Recognize that the learning process is not linear and the various experiences are part of the journey

· Feeling no progress or backsliding is part of the process; keep moving forward

· Obtain support from a friend, group, or counselor to help you navigate tricky circumstances and gather long term encouragement

· Remind yourself of your goals, reevaluate and redefine actionable steps towards your goals

· Give yourself grace for missteps; we are all imperfectly human

· Keep trying, even when you are struggling

· Remember that your worth is not dependent upon success or failure

· Not meeting a time deadline is not a failure. It will happen; keep going

· Be happy now. Don't wait until you reach a particular goal or milestone. Live in the moment

· "It's okay to be a work in progress and a masterpiece simultaneously."-Sophia Bush

It is your journey; live it. Living by other people's success ideas on a timeline set by others has nothing to do with your journey. Wherever you are right now is where you are supposed to be. You are not behind, and you are not too late. Wherever you want to go, you are capable and worthy of making the change,

Love and Positive Vibes

Lisa I @theresilientadvocate

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