How To Keep Progressing When Nothing Feels Easy

Katy-Rose, MSc
Mar 9, 2018 · 3 min read

As a ‘constant improver’ [or whatever term you wish to use], I am constantly driven to improve, to follow the fire inside me that pushes me to achieve. This is my purpose, and it motivates and fuels me to make progress.

But sometimes, we need more than just the jump-start. Especially once we hit a slump: some kind of obstacle or even just running out of that fuel.

Whether we seek to change a habit, make a transition, expand our horizons or follow the path forward, I often find myself repeating a six-word mantra to motivate myself to keep making some kind of progress.

It is not some untold secret, nor some great proverb.

It is the thing which I say to myself, or to anyone when it feels like we cannot make progress when it feels like we cannot make today’s change happen. When that habit is not yet formed, and we’re finding it hard to keep the momentum up. When you know this task will help you overall, but it’s difficult right now.

“Show up. Stay until the end.”

This is my mantra when the going gets tough. I am motivated by consistency, so I make the tiniest shuffle forward; even if that step is at a diagonal point from my path; it’s forwards.

It won’t make the day easier. It won’t cure depression. Saying these six words will not give you super-human strength.

But when the only options seem to be giving 100% or quitting for that day: I opt for a middle road. Show up, do what you can.

Once you’ve shown up, you’ve already passed the hard bit. You made it. You began. Give yourself a sticker. You’ve taken a step so that today wasn’t “pointless.” You’re not still at 0. You’ve made some kind of progress.

And that in itself can be a motivation for taking another baby step. If you made it to the start line, you may as well stay. Just be present. Be here. Sit at this moment.

This mantra is useful when we do not have the strength to workout. When we are on day 27 of a 40-day meditation challenge and are faced with Resistance. We can use it to push through writer’s block, when there is a deadline looming overhead, or when we cannot face another meeting at work.

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

On those days when continuing a change feels like climbing a mountain: I may not feel able to face the full workout, but I will do the beginner stretches and do some kind of movement for five minutes.

When you feel that maybe today you’ll just take the day off: show up anyway.
Show up and put your meditation track on, even if you lay down and fall asleep.

Some days, our ‘best’ is just showing up. And that’s okay. Keep the chain going.

Because taking a step is the only way to make progress, no matter how small that step is.

Originally published at mapyourpotential.co.uk, the previous home of RootedReinvention.com on March 9, 2018. It has been updated and expanded here.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Sign up for Top Stories

By Live Your Life On Purpose

A newsletter that delivers Live Your Life On Purpose's most popular stories to your inbox once a month.  Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Katy-Rose, MSc

Written by

Melding Neuroscience & self-help to teach curious lifelong learners to redefine their resilience, personal growth, and sense of control.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store