I have written and deleted this post 4 times in the last week.
Here is what Progress means to me: It means you've reached a point where you can look back at where you were and feel like you can confidently give your past self a little advice. Here's mine...
Wow. Running sucks right now huh? You just ran 1 mile without stopping and it simultaneously feels like an accomplishment and a giant disappointment. But listen to me. Seriously. Pay attention. I KNOW today that 1 mile seems like the best you will ever be able to do. But it's 6 weeks later, and kiddo, you've run 10 miles this week already, and it's still only Friday night.
This isn't someone else saying, "Don't worry it'll get better!" I know you appreciate that encouragement (but ultimately discount it because you think other people don't know the future). Maybe 1 mile is the best you'll be able to do now. But I'm not other people. I'm you. I'm future you. And I'm telling you, you got this sh*t done. The extra 5lbs is still there, but seriously. Are you listening? I feel like you're not listening. You're running again. You're back. Here, where I am, in the future, you're back. It wasn't easy. But you did it.
So, to me, Progress means you've reached the other side of something. Anything. If you can think of a time when you were working on something that you're better at now... congratulations!!
[Total side story: We once threw a tiny dinner party for a friend who had completed her first day of a new career. We kept telling her congratulations. We explained to Sawyer (who is 3) that we were saying Congratulations because our friend had gone to her first day of work. When I got home from work the next night, Sawyer ran to me and said, "CONGRATULATIONS FOR GOING TO WORK MOMMY!!!" which was all sorts of awesome.]