Keep Moving Forward: 7 Truths You Should Always Remember

keep moving forward

 

Being motivated all the time is simply impossible.

To be honest, as I’m writing this, I’m not even that motivated. Last night I was in high spirits, as if I could finish everything; I just needed to sleep eventually.

But this morning, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I hated the feeling. I could blame someone else so easily.

I forgot that it was best to simply keep moving forward.

The truth is, no matter how we prepare ourselves, or how we set things up for tomorrow, or how we get rid of distractions—we don’t have control over a lot of things, and most of the time, they can hold us back.

We can, however, control our mind. We can decide what state we’d want to be in almost anytime.

Let’s be honest here, though—external forces could be strong. They could come mighty to test just about any aspect of our life—mentally, emotionally, physically.

For example, you’re excited about a big project. It’s the time of your life. But one morning, some trouble just happens, and it may not be necessarily your fault. You get a fever, or you run out of cash, or you have a fight with one of the most important people in your life.

Yes, you do have control over your mind—but you’re also human.

What if you just happen to be the sickly or sensitive type? Or you’ve been dealing with a previous problem that you’re simply not ready to take on another one right now?

You are trying, but these external factors are just overwhelming.

That is what we generally call life.

At the end of the day, how those things hassled you does not matter—how you responded to them does. At the end of the day, you realize, once again, that another 24 hours will come to an end.

These are seven truths I discovered about moving forward.

1. Progress is inevitable.

Think about it: You could be lazy—doing only a small portion of what you should be doing every day.

But even so, you are still making progress.

Which makes a solid point: There is progress, no matter how fast or slow.

The question you should ask yourself is, “How much progress do I really want with this project that I’ve been aiming to accomplish for a long time?”

When you allow this truth to enlighten you, you’ll become more aware of your time. You’ll start setting your priorities straight, and crossing out activities that don’t serve you.

This is similar to saying “Life goes on.” A lot of people just take the idea the wrong way—by letting life pass them by without making the most out of the little time they’ve been blessed with, by not working hard for their goals. When you decide to finally keep moving forward, you’ll tend to do the opposite.

Write down your accomplishments at this point—even if they seem to be just small. You can’t accomplish big goals without accomplishing smaller goals (which come from the big ones, anyway). Be proud of yourself for such accomplishments.

Now, identify the parts of your routine that work for you the most, and those that seem to slow you down. Make necessary adjustments.

Get back to work, but this time keeping progress in mind.

The whole process only gets better and better every time.

2. You need to move forward.

And I mean that in any case.

Whenever we hear someone is “dwelling on the past,” we immediately think that they must be associated with some negative past. We know dwelling on the past is not a good thing, especially when studies say so.

Living in a bad past is linked to elevated levels of stress. It’s allowing ourselves to be imprisoned by it, when we know we have the choice to be free, to happily move forward.

A negative past, however, isn’t the only thing we should watch out for.

Reminiscing great memories is healthy, especially if we share them with the people we love. But did you know that living in a “positive” past could also be detrimental—especially if you can’t repeat that past? For example, you were happy with your significant other but eventually you had to break up.

You only have now to shape your future. That means you can only prepare yourself, make plans and execute them—right now.

Living in the past won’t generally help. Recognizing that this moment is already a great opportunity is a good way to keep moving forward—this moment is where you take your chances.

3. You need your support system.

It doesn’t matter whether your support system consists of a thousand people, or just one.

They are the people you’ll run to in times of need, especially during the times you simply need someone to talk to.

I can’t stress this enough. We are social creatures. We help each other. We build each other up.

The world simply works that way. If you don’t believe me, you are reading a blog that promotes just that. You’re probably even reading this because remotely in your mind, you are looking for some sort of support.

Now, you do have your support system—your loved ones, your friends. I can’t stress this enough, too: Take care of them. Respect them. Be there for them, even if they don’t necessarily need you to.

A lot of times this sounds like a “give and take” scheme. Arguably it is, but I believe that your true support system will be there for you no matter what happens. That’s the main reason I believe in the word “unconditional.”

4. Huge goals require sacrifice.

That would be whether time or money. Whether you have to skip going out with your best friends from time to time. Whether you have to stay up all night.

You may already know that your goals indeed need some sort of sacrifice. Oftentimes, though, decisions simply depend on whether you actually want to do it, whether you want to keep moving forward.

You may have envisioned yourself working hard, which you might already be doing now. But sometimes you won’t avoid asking whether it’s still worth continuing or not—especially if you’re not seeing results yet.

If you ask me, that’s the point of moving forward. It’s developing courage even though you can’t see any signs of the end goal yet.

Sacrifice is a double-edged sword. First, after you decide to finally take the plunge, you get out of your comfort zone—you stop doing things that only get in the way. Second, you take on an endeavor that you’re not even sure will be successful in the end.

Like all things in life, however, huge goals—great goals—don’t happen in “get rich quick” schemes. And I’m not talking about money only.

Do you want to develop deep relationships? Invest time. Want to be happier? Learn self-acceptance. Okay, want to have a million dollars? Study everything about your business.

All these examples take a part of you—you may not necessarily want to let it go, but you have to—because you know it’s for something better, bigger.

Your big goals won’t happen overnight. Do you know why many people fail? Yes, because they do want to see results overnight.

5. Strength and creativity pay.

They’re in that order, too.

I always try to think about myself in the third person. It’s a technique I use for self-awareness. Whenever I’m caught in a stressful undertaking, I pause for a moment and ask a question like “What should he do?” It definitely helps me to keep moving forward.

Allowing ourselves to get sucked into a stressful situation is so easy. We need not to take things too personally. We need to keep our judgment as sound as possible, every time. We need to learn how to compartmentalize.

I believe strength simply means just that. Aside from tolerance to some negative stimuli, strength is also about changing perspective about them.

When you develop and master your inner strength, creativity becomes easier as your mind becomes clearer, helping you become fair in weighing and assessing things.

Hone your creativity especially during pressing times. Tough times are an opportunity for you to grow.

As you move forward, you’ll discover different angles of attack to a problem—take note of them.

Most important, acknowledge your creativity. You are creative.

Strength and creativity could simply be the ones you need in finding the right solutions.

6. Most of the people who know you are happy to see you being stagnant.

They won’t admit it, but they’ll actually feel uncomfortable to see you moving forward, especially if by your own terms.

Don’t worry. The truth is, that’s just at the start—they won’t stop you when you’re already on your way to success.

This is precisely why you need to surround yourself with positive people. Better if they have the same or similar visions as yours.

Also, a wonderful thing about this is that your real friends will show up, believing in you, even if you’re taking the path alone, even if the path is against norms the whole world is telling you to follow.

If you’re sick of the norm, you may just be on the right path. Why? Take a look around. Think about what 99% of the people you know are doing today.

Are they comfortable with their dead-end jobs? Do they simply agree with what everybody else says? Are they afraid to undertake some unconventional work for a year or two to find the freedom they truly want?

People who’ll answer yes to just one of these questions are most probably a fan of the norm.

The norm that teaches you to give a hoot about what others would say. The norm that encourages you to fail. The norm that tells you to stop daring to try.

Don’t believe the norm. Don’t believe the people who love to be normal, who don’t want discover their greatness.

Instead, look for the 1% you know. The 1% of earth’s population who have become successful not only in terms of money, but also of happiness and purpose.

Stopping for the sake of comfort is easy to do—keep moving forward!

7. You will always go back to your why.

This is essentially your purpose in life.

You could basically have a lot of whys—they will matter.

You just have to choose the right whys. If you’re going to choose just one, you must think it through—it will basically guide you throughout your life.

Let’s say one of your whys is to get rich. What would you do to realize that? Would you watch out for your values? How much involved could you allow your family to be?

On the other hand, let’s say your other why is to raise your children to become the best they could be. What would you be willing to sacrifice? What would you hold on to? How would you balance work and family?

Identify your biggest why in life. Be aware that it could be so powerful however silent it could be.

Being able to adapt to change is a great skill, but stick with your biggest why, nonetheless. It could be the sole reason that’d keep you moving forward—despite any challenges you have to tackle.

It’s because of your why you make the right plans. It’s because of your why you seem to be able to overcome all obstacles. It’s because of your why you persevere.

And you become stronger than ever.

What is your one big why?

Think About It

There are a lot of instances wherein the only difference between success and failure is simply the decision to keep moving forward.

Successful people didn’t mind how long it took them. They didn’t listen to people who told them they should just remain safe, as the rest did. They were sure about what they wanted in life.

Sometimes it’s funny how we allow ourselves to get stuck because of some frustration or disappointment. Hurting or getting mad is fine—recognize that all of us feel down from time to time.

But try to be aware of yourself always.

Move on.

Think forward.

Ask the question “What would he or she do?” as objectively as you can, looking at the bigger picture—the time you have, and the things you could be productive with.

Remember these truths. You are powerful more than you know. You can move forward, but the moment you decide to do otherwise, you can, too.

Be wise.

Speak Your Mind

How do you keep moving forward during “stuck” times? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

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10 Comments

  1. Hi Ethan,

    Whenever I find myself not doing what I need to be I try to reconnect with my why. The reason I was going it in the first place is typically enough motivation to make a move.

    It’s probably safe to say that if that can’t get you started you probably don’t need to do it.

    ~Lea

    1. Hi Lea,

      Thanks for sharing your insight!

      Isn’t it amazing how our whys could push us to move? I also believe our whys should just come naturally … we don’t have to look for them real hard.

      You know, I agree with you–our whys should be enough to get us started.

      Moreover, I think everybody has their one big why. People who say they don’t have one simply don’t acknowledge it.

  2. Hello Ethan!

    I enjoyed this article 🙂 I am one of those that feels really guilty on “lazy” days so it was comforting to hear that first statement. It doesn’t matter how small it is, I just have to be making progress.

    The support system though. I struggle on that part. It’s hard for me to keep positive and inspiring people by my side. I mean, most of the inspiration I get is from the internet and books. Am I in a vulnerable position by not having “real” people and friends to talk to? I don’t know.

    Once again, thanks for sharing these insights!

    Cheers!
    N. M.

    1. Hi N. M.,

      Thank you 🙂

      Yeah, progress is still progress. You just have to be aware of it and decide whether you’d jump all in for it … to make things even faster. At the end of the day, you may just ask yourself, “Was all that (laziness, or not) worth it?” It’s ultimately up to you if you’d allow time to work for you.

      I’m a bit more of an introvert. (Perhaps it’s also why I said support systems could consist of only one person!) But I find that I can’t just defy the law that says humans are social beings. Even if I’m an introvert, I can’t stand to not see my friends for weeks. I believe in-person interactions will still be the best.

      Gotta love books! 🙂

      I can’t really tell whether you’re in a vulnerable position. I just believe that support systems are a need. No man is an island, ever.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Hello Ethan,

    This was a thought evoking post indeed. Absolutely enjoyed reading as it was filled with spot on truths to remember for sure.

    I’ve been through quite a few tough situations in my life which have left scars. Not willing to move forward was screwing up my life big time.

    Then came the day when I asked, “Am I going to die being a victim or being a victor?”

    When I made my mind to be a victor, that was it!
    I never looked back. I do have days like every human being where I’m demotivated.
    But I try not to linger too much on the negative feelings. I surround myself with positive people and positive thoughts.

    I absolutely agree with all your points. They are so apt to today’s world where most of us love our comfort zone.

    I can also relate so much to #4 and #6.
    I am at a point in my life when I realize the goals I have set myself are going to take up a lot of my time. I am making the sacrifices.

    Funnily it seems to be offending those who want to see me stagnant 🙂

    I would also like to add whenever I feel stuck, Ted talks help get me unstuck. I’m a huge fan of podcasts so I spend a lot of time listening to audio books and motivational talks which gets me going.

    Thank you for a great post Ethan. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2016.

    Hema

    1. Hi Hema,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      You know, tough times won’t just go. I continuously learn this myself. The saying (to the lines of), “It’s not about your problems, it’s your attitude towards your problems” could be a cliche–but it’s just because it’s so true.

      There is truth in treating all tough times the same, whether they’re just *mildly* tough times or *really* tough times. And if you think about it, these troubles really do happen just to delay something great we ought to be doing.

      For some reason, comfort zone is a really complex zone–I do love but hate it at the same time. It makes you think whether your principles are worth standing by.

      I’m glad you also enjoy Ted Talks!

      I know this is an uber-late reply, but here’s to a victorious year ahead anyway! 🙂

  4. Hi Ethan,

    I am a medical student surrounded by extremely driven people but sometimes my laziness gets the better of me and the thought of others getting a little bit better in the seconds that I wasted makes me feel like a useless person.
    Like it was mentioned before, the thought of having made some progress did make me feel better but sometimes I wonder, what plan am I lacking here? What can I do better?

    1. Hi Amulya,

      First, thanks for sharing your experience.

      Second, I think you’re lucky to have such people around you. Sometimes I find myself looking for those kind of people!

      You know, three things came to mind:

      1. You’re simply learning and may find some things a bit overwhelming?

      2. Whether you do enjoy your chosen field.

      3. How you see others is with your own perspective. Do you really know what’s going on in their private life?

      Having said those, I think you should give yourself some slack. You’re being a bit hard on yourself by comparing yourself with others. I mean, stop comparing (if you are already)–with people “doing better” than you, even with those “doing worse.”

      I don’t know. To me, #1 and #2 may interchange in terms of what comes first.

      Maybe you’ll find somewhere between those lines why you’re being lazy.

      Or maybe you just need a break! Come on.

      Feeling “useless” at times is fine, I think. Living is about feeling, too, eh?

      So … I guess the advice I could give you are:

      a. Celebrate progress. You deserve it.

      b. Keep going. Don’t stop.

      c. Give it more time. I’ve found that some things in life aren’t “solved” by anything but time. Weird but true.

      d. And oh, let those driven people inspire you instead. It’s definitely a better paradigm than allowing yourself to feel useless because of them.

      I hope this helps.

      Good luck with your medical endeavors!

  5. Ethan,
    First of, thank you for the eye opener. I needed that. And plus, this is what I wanted to do in life it would suck if I let my strengths go waste just because of my delusional thoughts about not being capable of anything.
    Once again, this made my day.
    I could say I’m running at full throttle right now.

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