Checking your Progress

Dear MotionWorks Family,

It’s the middle of February folks!  Time to check in on those New Year’s Resolutions from 6 weeks ago.  Or maybe it’s some new goal or goals you set for yourself.  Or maybe even the BHAG I introduced last month.  No matter the method, it’s time to measure your accomplishments so far this year.

I know this is when it gets hard.  You don’t want to check your progress, because you are afraid of what you might find.  But it’s necessary.  For some goals, you might even need to ask the opinion of others- colleagues, co-workers, friends, and family, if your resolutions or BHAG required change in your interactions with others.  It’s our fear of failure and fear of evaluating what we really are made of that makes this task feel so difficult.  Yet it’s the honesty of assessment that gives us the feedback we need to effectively change so we can move forward towards the end BHAG.

Accuracy in this part of the process is essential.  Imagine if your goal was to lose some weight, and your measurement was looking in the mirror.  And for the past 6 weeks, you’ve chosen to avoid full body reflections of yourself.  Or you tell yourself, I’ll look in a full size mirror, but it’s a fun house mirror instead, distorting your reflection to the point that you can’t even tell it’s you, much less whether you have made progress toward your goal.  Choosing the best assessment method is critical to determining how you are doing.

Upon evaluation, what did you find?  Are you on your way without delay towards your self-chosen destination?  Have you completed one or two smaller steps necessary to achieve the goal or BHAG?  If so, congratulations!  Enjoy the victory of the journey day by day and continue the same way.

Have you done at least one thing to make progress in the past six weeks, but not exactly enough to be proud of?  I’m no psychologist, but I believe the most difficult part of life is showing grace to ourselves when we don’t live up to our own expectations.  It is shame of underperforming that weighs heavy on our heart and causes us to want to avoid assessment altogether simply to avoid this feeling.  But if we never self-assess, and we never determine where we are in the path toward achieving the goal, the passion and excitement of pursuing the BHAG runs out, and we are left with disappointment for what could have been.

So I’m going to encourage you to honestly assess, and then extend yourself some grace.  Note that I did not say to excuse yourself and your inaction.  This behavior is self-defeating.  Acknowledge the failure head-on, take responsibility for the lack of progress, and then examine closely the root of this lack of follow through.  Once the flaw in the process is discovered, rectify it.  Remove the barrier so progress can actually be made.  

During this self-inspection process, you might discover that you need some outside help.  A family member or friend to help keep you on task.  A life coach or counselor to help you identify barriers to forward progression, and then give ideas on how to overcome them.  Or maybe you know exactly what is lacking, and you know you can do better.  Forgive yourself and move on, but determine what different approach you will take to actually meet your goal this time.  Skipping the step of introspection and self-forgiveness causes one to wallow in the mire of his or her own failure.  It’s a detour that is hard to get out of and will cost much time and energy attempting to overcome.  We are all human.  None of us are perfect.  We all get sidetracked at times.  Forgive yourself and determine to press on.

Moving forward is hard.  You’ve already tried the road, and you’ve found there are potholes large enough to swallow you.  There may be dead ends, forcing you to turn around and re-trace your steps from the start.  There may be hills that turn into mountains just when you thought you had reached the top.  There will be surprise attacks from wild dogs, a pack of geese, and who knows what else.  It is during these times that you must remind yourself to keep going.  Nothing in life worth doing is easy for anyone.  Stop looking around and comparing yourself to others.  Put your blinders on and resolve to carry on.

You will get there.  One small step at a time.  I have every confidence in you.  While you are on that road, do look around for others on the road to assist on their journey as well (without getting distracted from yours).  When you lift others up and exhibit kindness even to strangers, you will gain joy, self-confidence, and a healthy self-worth that will give you the fuel you need the next time you get stalled on the path toward your goal.

Pressing on…

Dr. Jill Murphy
Owner, MotionWorks Physical Therapy