Roman legions were so organized that they created marching standards that their legionnaires would learn and be able to march in time and on course when in different conditions. A standard, or loaded march would be done at a certain pace and would prepare soldiers to march with full gear and to maintain a certain pace and with relative consistency. Romans could then predict and plan troop movements and with that be able to quickly assemble, defend and and attack enemy positions. They built road ways so that the troop and supply movements could be maintained and mobility would be guaranteed throughout the empire. This is the reason why the empire survived as long as it did.
During a standard loaded march, roman soldiers would place a stick in the ground every 1000 paces. A pace was measured after the left foot would hit the ground on the second fall. This would eventually become what we call a yard and the 1000 pace mark set by soldiers would become what we call the mile. The measurements all changed over time, but the concept of placing a mile marker stayed for a long time. Overtime and with repeated use these mile markers would become more ornate and decorative. Eventually, the mile marker become so standard that the romans would place a granite stone or obelisk at least mile location with a number indicating the mile that you were on. Thus was born the milestone. There are several Roman milestone still left dotting all of Europe, there is a society that tracks and preserves then now.
Nowadays we refer to milestones as events in our lives that we can reach for and upon achieving them can celebrate progress. My son for example hit his 18th birthday today, and that is considered in our society as a milestone in which we reach adulthood. Milestones indicate progress and give us a path to follow as we make our way through life. Many milestones are meaningless, significance only coming because we are inevitably propelled toward them by our very existence. Which leads me to a concept that I am thinking about. Setting meaningful milestones on a path to a goal that I would like to achieve. Careful consideration and planning of milestones that you will reach on a journey is an important part of progress.
Interesting to think that when we set goals, how rarely we consider the need to identify milestones a long the way. Hitting a milestone, on a journey that you have predefined, is rewarding and gives you key indicators that the path that you choose is the correct one. As a consequence, I think it is really important to carefully plan and prepare milestones that you can track your progress against when you set out to achieve an awesome goal.