It really sucks when you feel you are not making any progress at all. I’ve been there before. But what if you’re just being too hard on yourself?

A story to whet your appetite 

I was fetching water at our outside tap a few days ago when I noticed a snail a few inches away from my bucket. It reminded me of Gary in Spongebob Squarepants, the pet snail that could enter in for races (everything is upside down in Bikini Bottom, don’t be surprised). 

But unlike Gary, the little snail by my bucket was your average snail. It moved at its expected pace, which was slowly. When I observed the rate it moved, I had to ask myself, ‘will it ever get to its destination?’

I picked up my filled bucket and went inside. By the time I came out, sure enough, it was still there (it was no Gary, sadly). However, although it was still there, it had moved a few inches away from its initial position. 

Fine, the progress wasn’t that significant but it was no longer where it first was. A few more trips later and it had disappeared into the nearby shrubs (probably to meet Gary in Bikini Bottom, who knows? 😅😅) 

How today’s world contribute to the problem

In our fast-paced world with its fast foods, one-day deliveries and instant results, patience and perseverance are now rare virtues. We all want everything now, including a better version of ourselves. 

We forget that self-improvement is a marathon and not a sprint. And so when we fail to get the results we want when we want it, we become dissatisfied with ourselves—sometimes even hating ourselves. 

Because we are so embroiled in the quick and ready, the process of self-improvement looks like a herculean task. And just like I wondered about the snail, we constantly ask ourselves, “will I ever get there?”

Well, you probably know this but let me just remind you: stop being so hard on yourself. It might seem you’re not making progress but you are. All of the insignificant progress will eventually add up to make up for miles of improvement. 

You are being hard on yourself when you fail to appreciate that the ‘you’ yesterday is not the ‘you’ today. Share on X

Yes, the improvement is almost imperceptible but you, at least, are trying to be better than you were yesterday. You tried to wake up early and exercise today. You even did that work instead of putting it off.

This paradigm shift changes everything 

Another thing we don’t realise when our desired outcome seems so far away is that the process itself is the ultimate result. 

The person we hope to become, the dream we want to fulfill, the life we desire for ourselves is not some prize we receive at the end of a race. It’s in the process we go through—the process is what makes us who we are. 

Learn to embrace the journey, cherish the process and stop being afraid. The ‘you’ that you desire is not at the end, it is during. Share on X

Next time when it seems you’re not making progress, remind yourself that the feeling is false. Cut yourself some slack: you are a work in progress. However, like the little snail, don’t stop moving. Don’t lose your momentum. Continue to do the things that make you feel alive

Let me leave you with something I got from a series I’ve been watching. By the way, I don’t recommend it if you like straightforward movie plots that are not psychologically problematic. Here it is: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” — Elliot, Mr Robot.

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