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Keeping Track by Looking Back

Keeping Track by Looking Back

They say that “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step”… but let’s be honest: there are a LOT of steps to take in order to reach that 1,000 mile marker. In the middle of a journey, things can get monotonous, repetitive, and discouraging. The novelty has worn off and you’re left to wonder if this was a good idea and if maybe you should just turn around and go back home.

One thing that can keep you motivated as you continue to change your life is documenting the process. Not keeping records of your changes is like going on this journey without keeping any measure of how far you’ve gone; you know that you have some miles under your belt, but you have no idea when you’ll reach the finish line (and, frankly, sometimes you suspect that you’re actually just walking in circles).

But finding some way to keep track of your progress will help break up the long trip. When you don’t keep track, it’s very easy to fool yourself into thinking that nothing’s really changed. You might even feel the same exact way as you did when you first started — or you think you do. The reality is is that when changes happen slowly over time, you can be oblivious to the ways in which you have transformed. But if you write it down — or at least find another way to document your progress — you can look back and see just how much ground you’ve covered. This is essential, especially when you are feeling defeated or unmotivated. Being able to tap into how you felt when you first decided to make the change can freshen your weary traveler’s spirit. You can also see how difficult certain things used to be for you and take comfort that parts of the process are now coming easily. Also, your perspective from a more distant point gives you the ability to appreciate the smaller changes that you were unaware of at the time. Sometimes changes are obvious, like fitting into a different clothing size — whereas others are more subtle, like changing the way you speak about yourself.

The truth that no one really wants to hear is that true change is difficult and happens slowly over time. As frustrating as that is — especially when you’re in the middle of what seems to be an endless journey — it’s not about the finish line. Everyday is a journey of its own and it’s important to appreciate it by taking the time to observe who you are in this moment — because that person may be unrecognizable 1,000 steps from now.

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Image Credit: Emma Larkins / Flickr

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Erika Oglesby

Erika Oglesby is a freelance writer and wandering nomad currently located in Grand Rapids, MI. She is dedicated to helping people better their lives through self-knowledge and alternative therapies -- especially women of color and women diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. Visit her website at http://www.erikaoglesby.com.

14 comments

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1:09PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

Thanks.

11:38AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

thanks

11:38AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

I've been keeping a diary at opendiary since 1999. I look back at times, by searching topics I wrote about and it showed me how far I have truly come in the years since. Its a great way, plus there are great friendships to be made, as well as read other journals and realize, you're not alone!

11:38AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

I've been keeping a diary at opendiary.com since 1999. I look back at times, by searching topics I wrote about and it showed me how far I have truly come in the years since. Its a great way, plus there are great friendships to be made, as well as read other journals and realize, you're not alone!

5:59AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

thanks

12:51PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

I'm terrible about journals. But I send emails about my day to my daughter from time to time. I save them and look back. It really does help me to see how far I've come and how well I'm actually doing.

10:32AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Thanks for the suggestion! will do

8:55PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

no thanks. do not want to "look back",,,you can't drive a car looking in the rear view mirror..

1:11PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

This reminds me, I need to write in my journal again. its been months again.

11:22AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

Thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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