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Goal gettingMindset Strategies

How to see progress, even if it feels like you haven’t made any!

By December 6, 20189 Comments

Hey champ,

Over the next few weeks, you’re gonna start seeing something.

Not, like, visions or ghosts or that kind of “seeing things” (I hope not, anyway ?) – what I think you’ll start seeing is lots of end-of-year reflection posts.

On social media and on the blogs you follow, people are gonna start looking back on 2018 – what they achieved, what they’re proud of etc.

I’ll probably do it too – it’s normal (and great!) to reflect back on your progress as the calendar year comes to an end.

But here’s what I want you to do this year.

If there’s a goal you’ve achieved – CONGRATULATIONS! That’s bloody epic.
Take time to celebrate your success.

But if where you are now (even if you did hit your goal) isn’t where you thought you would be – or if it looks different to how you imagined it would, I’ve got some advice for you.

I want you to remember this:
Change or progress isn’t always obvious.

Jon Acuff sums this up really well in his book Finish:

The problem is what I call the “candle effect.”
When you light a candle in a pitch-black room without windows, the effects are dramatic. Going from complete dark to light is substantial progress. The difference is obvious and immediately felt. Lighting a second candle has a big effect, too, albeit not as big. The third candle is still impressive, but not as impressive. This diminishing continues until the impact of a new candle is hardly noticed. The fifteenth candle would barely register on your brightness scale.

Do you get what he means?

Sometimes, all the little steps you’re taking don’t seem to have as dramatic an effect as you would like. They’re like adding candles to an already lit room.

So, it can be easy to feel underwhelmed when you’re putting in work, and “feel” like you’re not making any progress.

But here’s the thing: our emotions lie to us, but data doesn’t!

You have to train yourself to see progress by looking at the data!

For e.g. I’m currently training for the Kathmandu Coast to Coast Mountain Run, and some days it feels like I’m not getting anywhere with my training. So, on those days, I pull out my training plan from Week One, and the data is right there in front of me. I can clearly see how far I’ve come.

So, as NYE approaches, I want to challenge you to find other ways to track your progress with lots of different data.

For e.g. if your goal was to get healthier this year – what markers of progress can you look at? Can you walk or run further? Are you drinking more water? Eating home cooked meals more often? Do your clothes fit better? Are you more confident in yourself? Are you having more hours of sleep each night?

Or, if your goal was to improve your business – what data can you reflect on? Can you look back at new clients or opportunities gained? Better systems introduced? Products sold? Less staff turnover?

Remember – emotions lie, data doesn’t.

Now, I’d really like to know:

  • What progress you’ve made this year

  • What data you can look at to track that progress, and;

  • If looking at the data helps you to see whether you’ve made more progress than you realised?

Let me know, in the comments below.

Turia x

PS My wonderful team have told me that this is the last week to order copies of my books – if you want them in time for Christmas! I’ve got signed copies of my books Unmasked and Everything To Live For available here, if you are so inclined!


  • Aseel says:

    This year I got my dream job. I worked really hard to get it. Studied hard back when I was in college to get a high GPA and after graduation I studied even harder for the job’s exam and interview. And I did it! I’m so proud and grateful. ?

  • Rebecca says:

    After having two kids in under two years, my health and fitness just wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I found a gym that offered classes with a free crèche and started going to classes twice a week. Fast forward to three months later and I am attending six sessions a week and I have discovered a love for exercise. I am so much fitter, stronger and healthier. I have dropped 15kg and have my anxiety (mostly) under control. Can’t wait to keep smashing fitness goals in the new year!

  • Never fail to be elevated from reading your sensible uplifting words Turia. Thank you for all that you do for us. It is an honour to be included in your life’s journey.

  • Hi Turia — you are on point as always, your words are very encouraging. I lost weight this year, and am a really good weight now. But it is the holiday season and lots of changes are happening all around me that I have no control over. I’ve had a few days where I’ve gone back to old habits and binged on sweets etc. Instead of berating myself as I have in the past, I remind myself that all people have bad days, but the real measure of success is getting back up after falling and going back to eating healthy again. I remind myself that throughout life, failure is part of being human and handling failure in a kind and loving way with our inner voice is the best way to manage failures. My inner voice is kinder to me than in the past, less critical and more encouraging. Which your writings also emphasize — we have a choice in how we respond to situations in our own mind. Good luck with your training! And happy holidays to your beautiful family. Peace and love from NYC!

    • Ayobami abdulgafar-salako says:

      Hi turia, have learnt alot from your newsletters.

      I was able achieve part of goals this year. Thankful for achievements i did not even plan for .

      Then, restrategized on the goals i could not achieve and picked lessons from my mistake.

  • Angela Goldsmith says:

    Turia wise beyond your years, you are a true inspiration. If ever I get down in the dumps I think of you and your courage, positivity and grit.

    Thanks for your wonderful site. Love following your story, your honesty is so refreshing and unfiltered. Keep up the good work. Admire you so much.