A while back, I wrote a short thought about how life can be analogous to building a brick wall.
Let me quote it right here:
Progressing in life can be analogous to building a brick wall. There is only one way to build a brick wall, and that is one brick at a time. There is only one way to get fitter, and that is one workout at a time. The student who is learning at school can only get better one assignment at a time. Sometimes it can be disheartening to think of the long road ahead in any endeavor. The trick here is to focus on laying your brick for the day.
That last sentence is very important. If you want to improve your lot, then you need to focus on taking one step forward each day, no matter how small.
You may just pause for a few minutes to reflect on your life and where you are headed; that’s good enough.
But what is truly important is that you only live your life today. You can’t live it in the past, and the future is not guaranteed.
So today is your chance. Today is where you improve, or you don’t. Where you live a good life, or a bad one.
A really great way to motivate yourself to keep this type of behavior going is to make it trackable in some way. This could be as simple as putting a calendar on your wall and crossing off each day that you hit your goals, or it can be physically seeing the fruits of your labor come to be, like in the case of building an actual brick wall.
The awesome thing about tracking is that it makes behavior far more sticky because you consciously focus on trying to create a behavioral chain (i.e., lots of days of consistent behavior), and soon enough, that becomes as important a goal as the actual end goal. It can also become incredibly satisfying when you can look back and see your progress. It has this tendency to lift you up in the present moment, regardless of your circumstances.