A clear sense of progress

William Liao
1 min readFeb 13, 2024

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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.

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William Liao

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