As I sat on my wind trainer today trying to get my post-ACL surgery knee to simply bend a little more than yesterday, I contemplated my back and forth motion. (A wind trainer, by the way, is a contraption upon which you can place a regular bike so you can “ride” it inside.) I had not yet managed to do anything but swing my leg forward and backward, forward and backward, never managing to get it all the way around in a complete circle. I don’t yet have that range of motion post surgery. However, being on the bike and going forwards and backwards is supposed to help. Today, I noticed that when I would go backwards, I was getting quite close to going all the way around; the physical therapists had said backwards would come first.
I kept “cycling” away, thinking about my motion along with other things, and, lo and behold, my leg went all the way around (backwards)! It felt like an accidental happening, so I tried it a few times consciously, and then I actually spun backwards for a minute or so for the sheer joy of being able to do so. Then I went back to my forwards (as far as I could go) and backwards (all the way around now) motion.
Progress. I had made progress. Yes, it was just a little bit of progress in my long post-op recovery process, but it was progress all the same. One small step forward.
This got me to thinking: What constitutes progress? Most of us are looking for large leaps and bounds. This is what we deem progress. However, we’d be much happier and more satisfied people if we saw every little step, every small hop, every inch forward as progress.
When I was at physical therapy on Thursday, the therapist kept making my inch my foot backwards just a little more as he measured the degree of bend in my knee. I was satisfied with 103 degrees – way better at two and a half weeks than the 90 degree protocol for four weeks post surgery. He kept pressing…a little more, a little more. I’d wiggle my foot just a tad. At 105 degrees, he let me off the hook. It was progress. Even though the measurement was better than my last visit (97 degrees), he wanted me to move forward – to bend – just a bit more.
What constitutes progress in your life? Making a dreaded phone call? Applying for a job? Rewriting a resume? Working on a proposal? Going on a date? Going for that first run after months of non-activity? Calling a friend? What small, baby step can you see as progress so you can see that you are actually making progress? What does it look like? Getting an interview for a job? Getting a B on a paper instead of a C? Having an amiable conversation with your husband rather than a fight? Losing half a pound? Being told you did a good job on a project? Checking two things off your to-do list?
Think about it…Make sure your definition of progress doesn’t prevent you from ever feel you are succeeding, achieving your goals or moving forward in some manner.