Make your own mountain - complete with motivating checkpoints
For any endeavor, there needs to be positive feedback in order to keep you moving forward. Comparing yourself against others will only lead to negative feelings and not a useful marker of your pursuit. Think of your journey as a long expedition and hike up a mountain path. You know where you want to go, but focusing on the peak will get you no where. You can neither see it or have a sense of where it actually is. All you know is the focus is on every step. Each step is a tiny accomplishment towards the peak, but if there are no indications along the way that these steps are actually moving you towards the peak, it can feel like a fools errand. If you establish specific checkpoints along the way, meeting them will give you the motivation to keep going. The good thing is that you created this mountain and mountain path, you define what the peak is and what the checkpoints are.
In the book "The power of moments" by the Heath brothers, they talk about the idea of milestones and how their celebration will etch in your mind their significance. This significance will continue to propel you forward. For example, if you are focused on learning a new language, stay away from boring and emotionless checkpoints like:
- Complete an online Spanish course in a month
- Complete the advanced Spanish course in 2 months
- Able to read and understand an elementary Spanish book in 3 months
The problem with most milestones is that they can start to feel like a chore. Routines are the chore, but let's celebrate and put in place more exciting milestones!
Routine: Daily online Spanish course
- Order a meal completely in Spanish at a restaurant in a month
- Watch a Spanish movie without Sub-titles and blog about it in Spanish in 3 months
- Go to Spain and spend a week speaking nothing but Spanish in a year
These milestones and mountain top goals are completely yours, no one understands them better than you and most people do not have a clue what they are. And that's ok. Once you understand that everyone is climbing their own mountain, you'll realize that comparing your life with someone else's is not only unfair, it's useless.
Do you. You're already great at it.