Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Speaking from experience, I know how true this statement is. Actually, sometimes you feel like you’re going one step forward and two steps back.

It can feel really discouraging and frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re just starting to build some momentum and get somewhere, you regress and are suddenly a few steps behind where you’ve worked so hard to get to.

I wish there was some way I could sugarcoat this. I wish I had a secret formula to just go forward without having to go back a few steps now and again.

But there’s not. Or at least not one that I know of.

I’m not telling you this to become morbid or tell you to give up hope. I’m not telling you that there’s not point in trying. In fact, I actually want to tell you the opposite.

I want you to look at your life as a journey. No matter what or where you’re current destination is, I want you to approach this next part of your journey knowing that you will go two steps forward and one step back.

Let me explain why.

For the sake of ease of explanation, let’s say you’re currently starting from square one. Maybe you know that your goal in life is to get to square 10 or perhaps you just know it’s a certain number of steps in front of where you currently are. If could be five steps, or it could be 50.

Let’s say you decide to take this journey knowing full well that there will be times when you succeed and make progress (two steps forward) and there will also be times that you will make mistakes, learn lessons and course-correct, AKA ‘fail‘ (one step back).

One month from now, you make a bit of progress and take two steps forward. You’re now standing on square three.
One month on from that, for whatever reason, you take one step back and you’re now standing on square two.
Another month passes by and you make some more progress and take two steps forward onto square four.
Again, after some time, you find yourself back a step onto square three.
Then again, you find yourself creating a little momentum and suddenly you’re at square five.

It wasn’t really too long ago that you started on square one, and now you’ve made some real progress from where you once stood and you’ve made some mistakes and learned some valuable lessons along the way for the future too.

Now imagine if you’d never have tried. you would still be standing on square one and moaning about it. You can understand, then, why they say:

The only time you ‘fail‘ is when you don’t even try.

I’m learning to embrace my set backs and look at them as way I can either improve upon or learn from even more.

If you’re loving life one day on cloud 9, I mean square 9, and the next day you find yourself on square four, don’t sweat it. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not an opportunity to discount everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve and it’s not the time to reject yourself. It’s a a chance to redirect yourself. The good news is that you already know how to get to square 9, because you’ve done it before. This might just be an opportunity to find a more sustainable way there.

You’ve overcome and managed to get through every single one of your bad days. You’re a pretty big deal! Stop trying to be perfect and acknowledge right now that life isn’t linear. We all have to take two steps forward and one step back.

What have you been putting off in your life because you’ve been too afraid to even start?
Is it to learn a new skill or habit?
Is it to confront some difficult emotions?
Is it to have the courage to admit what you want in life?
Whatever your heart is calling for, write it down now and brainstorm some ways that you can make it happen.

Then, I want you to brainstorm some possible back steps and for each back step, look at ways to either prevent it happening or a solution to bounce-back from it.

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