An interesting concept that I have come to realize about progress. When you are making progress, or forward momentum it does not happen in a straight line. Rather it it comes in wave form, crests and troughs.
What do I mean by this? Real progress is measure by how low your trough goes. If you have been struggling with trying to improve yourself you will immediately recognize that there are times when you have great days followed by some bad days. Ups and downs if you will, or better put Crests and Troughs. The trick is to get the troughs to not drop so low on the bad days. You effectively want your bad days to be not so bad as time progresses. Your low points are actually your old high points.
Example – when I run now – there are days when my low point is 2 miles. That is a bad day. It used to be 100 feet! So I have improved my trough. I am working my way up to the point where my bad days are at a minimum 4 miles in under 30 minutes. If I can get the trough to not fall lower then that mark – then I will truly be making progress.
What is your minimum now? What is your trough? Perhaps when you have a bad day, you just stay in bed all day, watch TV and only get up reluctantly to relieve yourself. I would say that is a pretty low trough, but I know the feeling. Is there something you can add to your everyday that makes the trough less low? For example, you might decide to read something uplifting everyday. Without fail, no matter what, you are going to read something uplifting. Now when you have a trough you will at least have that moment of reading some uplifting material. You have established a new low.
I believe this is the secret behind progress and why habits are absolutely critical to forward momentum. Without habits, the troughs will take you back to far and it will take you too long to recover the lost ground. Habits keep you at a certain minimum. Of course the crests, the up days will be the ones you look back on. You will remember those days. The day you ran a marathon, for example, might be the crest. Or perhaps they day you pushed yourself and achieved something great. It is just important to note that the NEXT day, the day after is always when the trough comes. After every peak there is a valley.
The point of this thought is to raise that valley so that next time you walk into it, it is more like a calm mountain meadow and not a miserable swamp of despair.
Guy Reams (277)