Skip to main content

How to keep going when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere

By May 10, 201810 Comments

Hey champ,

If you’re an avid reader of my weekly letters, you’ll know that last week I talked about being gritty when it comes to self-improvement.

You can read that one again here if you like, but in a nutshell, this was my point:

If you want to improve something in your life, you’ve gotta do the work.

But how do you stay committed to doing the work, day after day, week after week, month after month – especially on the days when you seem to have slipped backwards?

You follow my Golden Ratio.

Now, now, if you’re a math nerd, settle down ?- I’m not talking about the mathematical Golden Ratio, it’s just the fancy name I gave my little rule about self-improvement.

Let’s dive in.

But first, a story.

After the fire, my physios had me use all kinds of different tools and machines to help me gain back flexibility and movement in my skin and muscles.

One of the machines was called a continuous passive motion machine.

Basically, I’d strap my arm into it, and the machine would move my elbow back and forth – with the aim to get more movement back into the joint every day.

Every day, I would strap my arm into that thing and sit there for hours as it whirred away.

I did this for months.

It was boring, annoying and frustrating. But I did it every day.

Now, here’s the important part to note:

My elbow didn’t get better quickly. It took years.

And although it did eventually improve, it wasn’t a linear improvement.

Some days, it would go really well and I’d feel awesome, and then the next day I just couldn’t do what I’d done the day before.

I think this is a really common misconception. People assume that when they work at something every day, they’ll get a bit better every day too. They assume that their improvement will just go smoothly UP, bit by bit, but always up.

But it doesn’t happen like that.

Improvement isn’t linear.

So, how do you deal with that?

That’s where my Golden Ratio comes in.

My golden ratio is this: when you’re working at something, every day of the week, two out of seven sessions will be AMAZING, three will be OK, and two will be SH*T.

As a ratio, it looks like this:

The Ratio

2: YAY
3: OK
2: NAY

Very scientific isn’t it?! ?

Part of doing the work is accepting that your track to success isn’t linear, and that some days you’ll go backwards. But, eventually, the yays will outstrip that nays.

The path to success is never a smooth ride, but consistency will oil the track. Tweet it!

Now, what do you do if your ratio shows more nays than yays? (Who else is sick of this rhyme?! ?) Well, I’ll dive into that next week.

And let me know how your ratio is stacking up, in the comments below.

Stay tuned!
Turia xx


PS – Building grit and resilience is something I think we should all be working on, but it’s especially important for kids and teens to learn.
That’s why I’m stoked to let you know that we’ve published a young readers edition of my memoir Unmasked. I’ve bundled it up with my eBook Good Selfie and, together this little book duo has stacks of strategies for kids and teens to use. Both books are here, if you know a family who would find them handy.


  • You are right.. Improvement isn’t linear! You truly are an inspiration to the world.
    Cheers to the yays outweighing the nays!

  • Chris O'Callaghan says:

    Hey Turia great piece this week absolutely on point as always. We all fall into the trap of thinking that everyday is going to be better than the next. Life is a work in progress and each day is different and challenging. Learning to live that day and appreciate all it has is an important lesson. 3 years sfter losing my beautiful wife to breast cancer teaching myself to understand this has been extremely difficult and still is some days. Love your weekly newsletters and admire your incredible strength.

  • This post came at a great time for me, I’m feeling overwhelmed everywhere in my life, dragging myself to the gym, domestic tasks piling up, my painting career on hold — although the painting is going great. Thanks for the reminder that accepting lousy days but not giving up is progress.

  • Butterfly says:

    Hi Turia!
    Thanks for all the great tipps in your newsletters. Ive struggling with difficult adhd symptoms and trying to find keys to stay focus at daily live doing tasks that Im expected to do. I try to keep positive and believe that I will find those keys that I need. Though I have had to admit that Ive failed in many thins do to my condition. I end up in a task that was too overwhelming to my condition. I got exhausted, and loose faith in my self. And failing doing my work. And others have had to suffer my lack of focus and memory difficulties. Now daily, I try to remind myself that I am capable and still good and I will find my place where I can use my strenghts and where I can manage with my adhd symptoms. And hope that one day I can say that things end up fine. And find a place where I can be myself and still good enough. That I dont have to feel Im failing all the time do to these symptoms that effect my thinking and the way I behave with others. I wish I had realise this sooner but this has still let me understand people more. We should always be patient with one another. We can not know other peoples lifes. Many people struggle with invisible difficulties. Lets walk together this journey of life!

  • Louise Tingate says:

    Happy mums Day. I was spoilt with your next book Unmasked today.
    Loving your blog too Turia and thanks for all your stories knowledge,motivation through such circumstances . Sure have learnt a lot about resilience . Thankyou

  • On the 8th April 2018 I completed the 5 Dams Challenge ride in 8:15:57. My aim is not to win marathons but to inspire others to take up challenges

  • Jenny Watts says:

    Timing is everything, and your message arrived in my inbox on a day when I was feeling particularly depressed about the huge journey ahead, and the little to no progress I had made in the five weeks since spinal surgeries.
    Constant chronic pain was making me negative and hopeless. Your golden ratio made me realise all is not lost if I apply it to my rehabilitation and recovery. Thanks, Turia.

  • Amy says:

    I have needed to read this, and have confirmation of this golden ratio theory, for probably 2 years now. I do believe in putting in the work, but when the success doesn’t just show up immediately, I get really discouraged and then it takes a while for me get back the oomph and vuma. By the time I get motivated again, I’m almost entirely back where I started. Utterly frustrating. When the key is to keep at it. Thank you for sharing this.