Focus on Progress

Focus on ProgressAlmost through January and it’s likely you will fit into one of three groups:

1.  Feeling happy that you are on target with your resolutions;

2.  Feeling frustrated at the lack of progress;

3.  You never made any resolutions, perhaps because of the frustration of previous failures.

Fair enough.  But what if you really want to change something in your life and you can’t?

It was Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and wanting a different result.

If you are struggling, it is likely because you are still making the same choices and doing the same habits as you were before.  That doesn’t help you create change.

You may have some great excuses.  Like it wasn’t the right time; life got in the way; you changed your mind; etc.  Changing your mind is usually code for ‘it was too difficult’.  Perhaps a sign that you have prioritised ease over progress. But excuses keep you stuck.  You might blame others for making it difficult for you.  But blame keeps you stuck too.

It takes work to make changes and it takes focus too.  But through this effort you can achieve results.  In time it will become easy and there is little that is more enjoyable than a sense of achievement.

There is a way to get unstuck, and that is to take responsibility.  And response-ability.  The ability to choose your response in any given situation.  No matter whether external factors can be blamed.  Because you can control you.  You can’t control external factors though you may be able to influence them.  But you can only control you.  It’s an inconvenient truth.  It is so much more comfortable to blame others, be the innocent party in all of this.  But we usually have some contribution to whatever problem we face and not taking responsibility and being response-able simply keeps you stuck.

This is beautifully illustrated in the following poem, An Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson.

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost …. I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I see it there.
I still fall in …. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It’s my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.


This is such a simple reflection of how we often are in the world.  We repeat the same mistakes without looking at what we can do about them. It seems easier to lay blame elsewhere.  Blame is a damaging habit because it robs us of learning and growth.

Eventually, we see that we don’t have to repeat the habit.  But instead, by creating greater awareness of what’s happening and being more mindful about the choices you make, change is possible.  Remember to focus on progress, not perfection.


If you want more help with your resolutions, you might find this article helpful.

In the meantime, remember that in every decision you make you are moving towards or away from your goals.  Make sure you are response-enabled rather than giving in to the moment and finding yourself in the same place next January.

If, after using these principles, you are still stuck, you may have secondary gains happening:  benefits to the unwanted behaviour that are unconscious.  If you think this may be true for you, having expert help can shift it for you.  Please contact me 0345 130 0854 if you feel this is right for you.


© Tricia Woolfrey 2020