Big progress from small progress

Training montages have deceived us.

Cover photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

Motivational quotes that actually stuck

We’re exposed to so many quotes throughout our lives that only exceptionally meaningful ones stick around for years. Looking back, several quotes that are important to me have the common theme of moving forward even when it’s hard. 

Even when a small task is all you can manage for now, it’s better than nothing at all. Tiny bits of progress can seem insignificant and “why did I even bother”, but they will build up.


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One step each day

I hate push-ups. In high school, there was a fitness test where a passing grade for push-ups was 20 in one minute. We had about two weeks to prepare. I started by doing 5 push-ups (which was my limit in the beginning) one evening and increased it day by day until I reached 20. Big progress comes from small, consistent, steps. This probably isn’t the best long-term example because I promptly dropped doing push-ups after that test.

Back then, one step a day was one extra push-up a day. One step a day could also be reading on chapter of a “how to be a better adult” book a day. It could be 5 minutes of stretching or meditation. It could be 15 minutes a day researching a major bucket list item. It could be packing your own lunch a couple times a week. It could be a certain amount put into savings each month.

I’m sure we’ve all pulled our share of cram sessions for tests and assignments. Unfortunately, achieving goals in real life doesn’t work like that. Goals are reached through consistent effort.


Take a break

While you’re making progress (it doesn’t matter how big or small), it’s important to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

Everyone needs time to recharge and treat them selves! But what if you don’t think you deserve it because you feel you’re still going nowhere or you haven’t done enough? Trust me, I get it. So here’s the counter argument. Even if you didn’t achieve A, B, or C, and some plans didn’t unfold the way you wanted them to….you still made progress and perhaps achieved X, Y, and Z without realizing it. So cut yourself some slack when you need it. Don’t lose your sanity.


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Getting derailed

Things don’t always work out. Life isn’t fair. Dreams get shattered. Sometimes, doors of opportunity slam in your face and you don’t know why. Sometimes, you realize your weight lifting form has been off the whole time and proper form is so much harder!

One of my problems is that I get demotivated if I don’t see results when I expect them. Reality is that setbacks happen. Sometimes, things take longer than we thought and we have to put in more work than anticipated.

If you get derailed, it’s okay. Just take the steps to get back on track. 



Hugs and kisses,

~ Jin

You can also find me on my personal blog








Author: Jin Cao

I am a multi-faceted designer, fashion blogger, makeup enthusiast, lover of cats, and connoisseur of ramen! Writer of Main fashion writer of Find my work at

10 thoughts

  1. I completely agree with your sentiment “I get demotivated if I don’t see results when I expect them”. So many times I dropped my planking exercise routine when my ab does not budge:)


  2. Great ideas here, Jin. I like the ‘baby steps’ method of moving forward. There is also ‘the two foot rule’ which is to take care of just two feet of a clean up of a room, your house, perhaps your life! Thanks


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