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3 Signs You’re Making Progress, Despite What It May Seem

Are you feeling down and struggling to see any progress in your life? Are you not where you thought you would be by now? It's tough to keep going when it feels like you’re stuck, but don’t give up just yet.

Sometimes the progress you make is difficult to see, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Pay attention to the signs that things are moving in the right direction, even if they’re small.

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Here are three signs you’re making progress when you’ve hit a rough patch:

1. You feel more optimistic and hopeful about the future

It's hard to see beyond your circumstances if you’ve been struggling. But at some point, when you look around, you might notice that your perspective is changing.

Adult man raising two arm upward

  • You may feel more hopeful about the future, and your outlook on life becomes more positive. It is a sign that you’re making progress, even if things are still tough in the present.

  • How to maintain your optimism: Find things to be grateful for. When you’re feeling down, it's hard to see the positive things in your life. But if you take a step back and think about all the things that you’re grateful for, it can help shift your focus and improve your outlook.

  • Challenge negative thoughts. Ask yourself if they’re true and look for evidence that disproves them.

  • Focus on your goals. It's easy to lose sight of your goals when you’re in a difficult time. But if you focus on what you’re working towards, it can help you stay motivated and keep going.

2. You’re taking steps to improve your life

When you’re stuck, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to make things better. But even if you don’t see a way out right away, that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you’re taking steps to improve your life, even small ones, it’s a sign that you’re making progress.

 goals written in a notebook

  • To keep moving forward, you can do a few things. For example, set goals. When you have something to work towards, it can help you stay motivated and focused on improving your life. Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

  • Seek support. Having a strong support network can be critical when going through a hard time. Reach out to friends and family members who can offer encouragement and advice or connect with a therapist or other professional if needed.

  • Document your journey. Keeping a journal or blog about your journey can be a great way to track your progress and stay focused on your goals. Write what you’ve achieved, the challenges you’re facing, and any other thoughts or feelings that come up along the way.

3. You learn from tough experiences

No matter what challenges you face in life, it’s important to remember that you can learn from them. Every experience, good or bad, can teach you something about yourself and your world.

  • If you find you can take away lessons from complex backgrounds, it’s a sign that you’re making progress.

  • How to learn from difficult experiences. Identify the lessons: After going through a tough experience, take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned. What did you learn about yourself and others? How can you apply these lessons to your life from now on?

two females talking

  • Share your story. Sharing your story with others can help you process what you’ve been through and encourage others who might go through something similar. You can share your story in a blog post, podcast, video, or simply by talking to friends and family members.

  • Use your experiences to help others. Once you’ve learned from your own experiences, you might also find that you have something to offer others who might go through similar challenges. Consider volunteering, mentoring, or speaking at events to help others facing difficult times.

No matter what challenges you face in life, it’s important to remember that progress is possible. If you see any of the three signs above, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track. Keep one step at a time. Little progress is better than no progress.

Set specific, attainable goals, reach out for support when you need it, and never give up on yourself. You can achieve anything you set your mind to.

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