There’s a hill behind the University of Portland that slopes downwards from the campus neighborhood, behind an industrial area, and into the Willamette River, just south of the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge and the St. John’s Bridge.
Chris and I have run it a few times because it’s a challenge, it’s close to home, and while we see the river pretty much on the daily around here, it never, ever gets old.
The last time we ran that route, we took a short break at the bottom of the hill. This marks the halfway point of the run, and starting up again means tackling the hill first.
Stretch, stretch. Breathe. Rest. Annnnd go. And off we went.
The first stretch wasn’t so bad. Invigorating, even. I was excited, motivated. Then I looked up towards the top and was immediately overwhelmed by how much farther we had to run. I started to rationalize with myself, “You know, you walked the last half last time. Anything you do today beyond half is progress. That will be OK.”
And I actually started to contemplate hitting that “this counts as progress” mark and walking the rest of the way, except it hit me that I self-talk like this in so many other things besides this running business. Personal projects and goals. Chores, even.
- Well, I did a load of laundry yesterday. I mean, that’s progress.
- I spent a couple of hours editing my photos for my Etsy shop. That’s more than I did last week. That’s progress.
- I had less sugar today than yesterday. That’s progress.
- I outlined [another] blog post. I’ll finish it later. I mean, just writing an outline is progress, right?
Every little baby step is progress.
Until it’s not.
Until one day, it’s time to just RUN up the hill. Finish the book. Launch the shop. PUBLISH the blog post.
So, that hit me as I hit that “this is progress” point on that hill. Today wasn’t the day for calling it early, phoning it in. Nope, today was the day to push myself a little, to work a little harder to reach a goal.
I did it. Of course I did it. I ran to the top, I walked the next couple of blocks to catch my breath, and then I ran the rest of the way home. And you know what? Now I know I can do that, so that next time when I’m looking to cop out on myself, at least I know that “progress” means AT LEAST running up the hill.
What hill are you baby-stepping that it’s just time to get up and run it already? What are you putting off?