Be better than you were yesterday: the secret to progress

Everyone has goals in life but achieving them is not always the easiest thing. This is particularly true for long-term goals, where it can be easy to lose sight of your goal, lose motivation, and feel bogged down by slow progress.

Progress can be slow and understanding fundamental tricks and tips to progress can help you to be more successful and reach your goals.

a woman running along the beach

Below is a closer look at some of the best-kept secrets to making progress, and how you can start implementing them into your day.

Everyone has their own unique goals and view of success. Learning tricks to help you progress towards those goals can be immensely helpful and allow you to live your best life.

Take care of yourself

One of the greatest misconceptions about achieving your goals concerns the workaholic daily grind mentality.

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself and working hard, but there does come a point where working too much can take away from other aspects of your life, like spending time with family, finding time for your health, and staying on top of your mental health.

Finding balance in your life is one of the most important secrets to consistently progressing toward your goals. Overworking yourself may yield short-term gains, but it could cause you to experience burnout in the long run. Finding balance helps you to make sustainable progress and continually improve.

Below is a closer look at how supporting life balance can help you too make more sustainable progress.

Rich social life

Goals tend to be individualistic, but it can be quite helpful to have social support for your aspirations. Having people that genuinely care can be immensely helpful in helping you progress toward your goals. Friends or family can help to keep you accountable. They can also act as a great support system to help you through your struggles and celebrate your victories.

It can also be helpful to have goals that pertain to things like your family. Taking the time to set family goals can help to strengthen the family unit and provide the entire family with fulfilling achievements.

Stay healthy

Everyone's goals are slightly different, but one thing that can help you in almost any endeavor is staying on top of your physical health. Whether you are looking to improve upon your physique, improve your mile time, or have career aspirations like becoming a lawyer, staying on top of your health can help you to achieve these goals.

Eating a well-balanced diet, taking nutrition seriously, and supporting your body’s functions at its core are essential for maintaining your health and empowering you to reach your goals.

Getting enough sleep and getting regular physical exercise also enables your body to perform at its very best, making a significant difference in your ability to achieve your dreams.

Working toward your goals is not something that is easy, and it requires you to exert time and energy to achieve them. Taking the time to keep your body healthy and running as efficiently as possible is a worthwhile investment because it can help to increase your stamina, boost mental clarity, and much more.

Prioritize mental wellbeing

One of the most important aspects of your health that you should consider when it comes to achieving your goals is your mental wellbeing.

A number of individuals ignore their mental well-being temporarily when working towards their goals, which comes to bite them later down the road. Working late nights, not pursuing outside pleasures, and taking on too much work (whether in the form of assignments and projects or physical hours put in) can result in a phenomenon known as burnout.

Burnout refers to a kind of mental exhaustion that can cause a decreased sense of energy, diminished motivation, isolation, and many other detrimental symptoms. Burnout is pervasive in many different lines of work. When it strikes, bouncing back can be difficult. Experiencing burnout when trying to achieve your goals can pose quite the setback to progressing.

Taking care of your mental wellbeing while working towards your goals can effectively mitigate the chances of burnout. Setting reasonable expectations, setting boundaries to retain life balance, and understanding the benefits of taking time off are great ways to effectively combat burnout and keep progressing toward your goals.

The secrets of goal setting

Being competitive with friends, family, and even neighbors is a tendency that most people have when it comes to material wealth, but many people do not realize that people tend to do the same thing with their goals.

If you find yourself constantly feeling like you are lagging behind in your goals, you may be inadvertently looking to those around you as a reference point for how you should be progressing.

The truth is that goals are individualistic. Even if two people have the same goal or dream, their journey to achieving them may look very different. One person may quickly progress, while the other individual may take longer (and may even end up outperforming the other person).

You simply cannot compare your situation to those around you.

Developing more realistic metrics for measuring success is an essential aspect of achieving your goals. Creating milestones, short-term targets, and well-thought-out goals can help you to be better than you were yesterday and achieve success.

Below is a closer look at some specific things you can do to make your goals better suited for you to progress through them.

SMART goals

SMART goals follow five distinct criteria. They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-restricted.

The problem with many people's off-the-cuff goals is that it’s difficult to truly define progress. Take having the goal of wanting to improve your physique as an example. With this goal, at what point would you have achieved your goal? If every day you aren’t ripped, are you not progressing?

The SMART goal methodology is a great way to beef up your goals and make them easier to track, stick with, and understand how they impact the bigger picture.

A SMART goal for improving your physique could be something like wanting to decrease your body fat by 1% at the end of each month. By making it more specific and adding a time factor into the equation, it is easier to understand your goals and progress towards them with a clear definition of what you are trying to achieve.

Write it down

In today's day and age, writing things down may seem a little old-fashioned, but one study from Dominican University in California found that participants were 42% more likely to achieve their goals just by writing them down.

Writing down your goals, the steps you need to make to achieve them, and how your goals contribute to the larger picture can be an excellent way to help solidify your goals and increase your chances of achieving them.

What to do when you fall short

An inevitable aspect of having and creating goals is that you may fall short at some point or another.

An important skill to develop to help you continue your progression is to take these shortcomings as learning opportunities and grow from them. Dwelling on your failure will only bog you down when you fall short.

The best way forward is to get back up, learn from the setbacks, and continue on.


In summary, the ultimate secret to progression is to stay on top of your health and to have good goal-setting techniques. Focusing on your health allows you to perform at your best while having good goal-oriented skills provides you with a game plan that is ideal for achieving your goals.

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