Sometimes its hard to see if you are moving forward, especially when the changes you are making are hard to quantify. In the Buddhism I practice, there are conspicuous benefits that happen immediately and there are inconspicuous benefits that happen over time and suddenly you realize after years that you have evolved. Even- or perhaps especially- for artists, its really difficult to acknowledge growth when you are your own barometer of change.
In the absence of evidence of major progress, lots of people get frustrated and quit. Thta’s me with joining a gym. Three months at the same level and I’m bored, demoralized and pretty much done. And then, I’d go off and do no exercise except for running around town, only to realize I lost all the strength I had gained soon after.
A teacher suggested about 10 years ago to me that I should celebrate my victories along the road to a destination. That seemed ridiculous. Why celebrate before you get to the end? How would you have the motivation to move on if you were so happy with where you were? Well, celebrating big steps along the way really does something— it is a marker of progress. It is actually morale-building, not demoralizing. It took me a long time to realize this.
When I got crazy sick a few years ago, I couldn’t walk for a few weeks for more than a few steps. Every day I had to push myself a few steps farther, until I made it around the block. I ordered myself a gift online to celebrate! The little steps, the pound I gained, every landmark I reached…I celebrated. And I got well. And I stayed well. I became so grateful for my life, and understood, for the first time, truly, what it meant to take things step by step.
Perhaps if you are used to trying something and quitting soon after, this might be a notion that can help you look at new challenges a little differently. After all… if the path is fun, you might want to stay on it a little longer?!
Speaking of progress, I want to thank you all for helping me get into the Apartment Therapy Homie Awards as a Finalist!!! This was my third year nominated and never made it near the top. This time, I started and stayed at the top, even though there’s nothing short of a miracle that could help me to actually win this year 😉 And that is thanks to you! And that is huge progress to celebrate! Bob & I thank you! xoxo Dana