A clear sense of progress

William Liao
1 min readFeb 13, 2024


My new workout program has me doing one of my least favorite exercises every Monday: lunges.

I noticed this morning that where I look during the exercise makes a massive difference in how easy or difficult it feels.

If I look down at my feet, the exercise feels exceptionally difficult.

If I look directly in front of me, the exercise feels way easier.

Unlike when I look down, I can clearly see myself making progress — inching closer and closer from one end of the gym to the other — when I’m looking in front of me.

It turns out that establishing this perspective is a potent source of motivation and endurance.

If you find yourself having to endure a particularly challenging situation or project, try establishing some perspective to give you a boost:

Consider the progress you’ve made so far.

Consider the progress you’re making right now (even if it doesn't always feel like it).

A lack of a sense of progress will deflate you.

A clear sense of progress will enable you to push forward and push harder towards your goal.



William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)