Make Progress: Focus on What’s in Front of You

The other day I went on a hike with my family in the woods. On the way there, it was mostly downhill walking. That was the easy part. But I knew in the back of my mind that meant the return trip would be mostly uphill. On our way back, when I saw the path ahead was all uphill, I did not find that encouraging. In fact, it was downright discouraging—and painful to my knees. But I found I could make progress if I focused on what was in front of me.

You may have the same scenario. You know what you have to do, and it looks daunting. But if you just focus on the steps in front of you, then it can make the journey easier.

Here are three things to keep in mind to help you make progress and not get overwhelmed.


1. Know where you’re going.


When we went on our hike, we knew where we wanted to end up. We had planned the route and knew the way, so I knew I had to follow the plan.

It’s important for you to have a destination. Have a vision, make a plan, create a strategy. Then you know where you’re headed.


2. Break up the trip.


On the way back, my daughter helped me by encouraging me to stop every now and then to appreciate the beauty of the trail. That gave me the opportunity to give my knees a rest. When she saw something ahead that was interesting, it would motivate me to want to get to that point. That way I wasn’t overwhelmed by the entire trip.

For your efforts, it’s important to break up your ultimate objective into smaller goals. That way you can keep your outlook positive and not get overwhelmed by all that you have to do.


3. Just keep walking.


When I looked at those uphill stretches, I found the path daunting. But when I just kept looking at where I placed my feet, I could focus on taking only that next step. By focusing on taking the next step, I was able to make it—and not think about my knees as much.

In accomplishing your goals, it’s important to know where you’re headed. But it can be just as helpful to focus on doing the task that you have determined is the next step.

Doing what’s in front of you will help you not get overwhelmed. And in the process, you can make progress toward your ultimate objective.


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