Progress. It’s a word I never thought much of until recently.
While sitting at a gymnastics private lesson, I was listening to my daughter’s coach work her through her vault. Vault is her worst event, and I say that because she hasn’t really improved her score in two years. She is good for a solid 8.5 every meet, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. She saw an 8.9 at one meet and I almost fell off my seat. She's kind of "stood still" with her technique. Nothing better, nothing worse.
After one of her many vaults that session, her coach pulled her aside and told her he saw progress. Truthfully I didn’t see too much of a difference in that particular vault, there was a smidge but not much.
But to him, that’s all that mattered.
He praised her for the progress, no matter how small. He reminded her that’s all he cares about. Progress. That’s it.
Lately I’ve been thinking about that concept. I realize how hard we all are on ourselves. We set these gigantic goals and we ride our kids hard about doing better. Imagine how much more fulfilled we’d be if we focused on the progress instead of the big picture? Leave the big picture for long run and let every day be about the progress.
It’s important to look at the journey, and I know I get too caught up in the end result. This week I started drinking that Detox Water. I eat like garbage, I know I do. And I decided that drinking a few liters of this water a day couldn’t hurt.
Here I am, four days in and I see so much progress. It all stemmed from deciding to drink Detox Water. I stuck with it and in one week I drank about 5 less cans of soda because of that dang water. One small change leads to another. And before you know it you’re accomplishing things.
The key is constantly stepping forward. If you step back twice, step forward three times. We may not see much of a difference, and some people may see nothing.
Remember the vault. I sat there, and my thoughts were “Eh, that was a little better…”
But my daughter’s coach? He pulled her aside and what I heard was, “NOW THAT’S PROGRESS! That’s what I’m looking for! That’s all I care about.”
Progress people. We don’t need to ban sugar and promise to exercise an hour a day til the end of time. We don't need to reorganize and restructure our houses and fight our kids about every little thing they aren't doing.
We need one less cookie every afternoon and a walk around the block every night. And when that’s natural? Take away another cookie and add another loop around the block. If your kids are struggling in something? Praise the smallest of accomplishments. If they left fifteen juice pouches in the living room last week focus on the five they cleaned up this week.
When you add up tons of small accomplishments over a stretch of time you see big changes. Focus on the progress, no matter how tiny and small and unnoticeable. Every night, let's hit the pillow and think about the small changes we made. Instead of thinking of what a miserable failure you were at something, think of what a kick ass job you did of turning down that cupcake.
Progress. It's a pretty cool concept.