Stuck in a rut: Incremental progress to become better

I get stuck in a rut sometimes when I feel like I am not improving. The longer I wait to take action the harder it gets. Then I get back to the basics by focusing on doing something better than the day before.

Doing better than yesterday doesn’t need to be anything significant. Anyone can be just a little better at anything. It’s when I look too far ahead that I get discouraged because I can’t see how to get there. I lose faith and actually stop making progress.

To make incremental improvements I:

  1. Pick one thing I want to improve about myself. It is pretty easy to pick the one thing I know I could be better at doing.
  2. I commit to focusing on improving in that one area for one week.
  3. I write one or two sentences every day to describe how I improved in a small way.
  4. At the end of the week I review my sentences to see how much I have improved.
  5. I pick a new “thing” to focus on for the next week and follow the same process again.

Here are some ideas to help you think of areas to make improvements.

  • Exercise: select just one activity like running, doing sit-ups, going to the gym more, doing one more exercise at the gym.
  • Performing: if you are a performer, pick just one aspect of your performance like articulation or expression.
  • Helping: pick someone you can help or a group. It might be making coffee for the office floor, picking up more trash when you see it, holding the door every time for someone else, etc.
  • Reading: pick something you have wanted to read and read one more paragraph than you did yesterday.

“Any success that you have, don’t let it be the best of your life. Use it to make something better.” – Mack Brown

How do you make incremental improvements?
What do you want to improve about yourself? 

2 comments to Stuck in a rut: Incremental progress to become better

  • The first few sentences really made my day. It reminded me of a book I’ve read where the author says “underachieve a little every day”. Now this might sound counter productive, but I feel like it’s the same thing. Set smaller goals so that you can reach them, celebrate that achievement, then move to the next attainable goal.
    ^^ Baby steps with a purpose.

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