How do you know you’re making progress? The gurus tell you to set small milestones, take short steps, measure short-term goals. Long distance runners pick a spot in the next 50 yards and work to get there. Then, they pick another spot.
But when you start counting matters. Muhammad Ali was asked how many sit ups he did to prepare for a fight. His reply: “I don’t count my sit ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”
If you chart your progress too early, it looks like you’re making progress when you really aren’t. When you start from zero, three steps look like a mile. It’s the progress you make near the finish line that matters most.