Progress matters. Doing the best next thing matters. Taking small steps matters.

How many of us feel stuck? Or stagnant, like we’re not making any progress anymore? It’s like we just stopped because we weren’t sure of what to do, how to do it or when to do it. Then, one day we look up, and wonder: “what happened to that goal?” or “when did I stop dreaming?” Sometimes it feels overwhelming or even scary to start again but here is what you need to remember. It doesn’t take a ton of movement to make an extraordinary difference. Tiny movements, done over a long period of time, can change anything… and, everything. If you have to slow down, ok. If you have to take a step back so you can take 5 steps forward, ok. Just don’t stop. Don’t give up on your dreams. Baby steps, you got this.

Making the decision is many times the hardest step.

Your dreams (or goals) are a lot like going to the gym. It’s never convenient. We have lots of excuses. We would rather do something else. It’s emotionally tiring convincing of yourself to go. But… once you get there you feel so much better. Once you are there you get stuff done. You are so happy you went. You start seeing progress. I could keep going but I think you get my point. You have to spend less time on the decision “should” and more time on the “how”! What decision can you make today to get closer to your goals?

Consistency can take you from stuck, to powerful.

I run this trail several times a week. And today, I noticed something. A stagnant green smelly pond right next to this beautiful lake. Looking at both of these images was kind of surreal, and something hit me — one had subtle movement and the other did not. Let’s not get too sciencey (new word) but this was a major moment for me. With slight movement, everything changes. This gross little frog pond pond covered with green scum becomes this magnificent body of water … with the slightest movement. That’s the power of progress. Taking action. Moving forward. Doing something … it made me wonder, how many of our professional lives, personal lives, relationships or dreams could go from stagnant to vibrant with some consistent effort. Just a little every day. What is one thing you could do today to start making progress to that dream you stuck on the shelf way back when?

Are you stuck?

Or, better yet, where are you stuck? We all get stuck sometimes. We get stuck because there is so much to do. So many ways to do it. We get conflicting advice. We have haters telling us we shouldn’t, can’t or don’t have the ability to do it. Phewey. Shut that nonsense off. Pick a lane, make a decision and go. You can detour en route. The only thing holding you back is you. Only you can change that. Change your thinking. Change your friends. Change your surroundings. If you want it, start working towards it. Stuck is no place to be. That is a choice filled with lost dreams and lots of regret. You will make mistakes. That is ok. You will learn and adjust. It won’t always work out. That is ok. You will be better for it. Make a decision. Take the first step. Get unstuck.

AJ Vaden is the Co-founder of Brand Builders Group, international speaker, million-dollar consultant and host of the Influential Personal Brand Podcast.