How to Make Progress When You Want to Give Up

Creating The Impossible, Inspiration, Personal Story

I’m currently stuffed into a sunken arm chair facing shelves and shelves of books. They’re faded and worn, some crumpled and torn at the edges.

If I’m lucky, a soft, cool breeze floats in through the window to my left. It carries with it conversation and a tinkle of silverware from the tables below. If I listen hard enough, I can hear the Sawmill River rushing over its rocky bed.

For quite some time now, I’ve wanted to visit the Book Mill. It’s quaint allure has called me closer and as I sit here, finally here, I can feel the magic and the charm I hoped it would have.

In large part, it comes from the energy of the books. They emit history. You sense the creativity and the toil it took to write them. You sense how they were held in the hands of readers—passed down and down again, until they found a home tucked between each other on these shelves.

It’s inspiring. And it reminds me of what I want to create with my life.

Kayla MacArthur

Speaking of which, I’m excited to share that I finally have the bare bones of my book. The travel memoir I’ve been dying to write for the past four years has started to take shape. There are nineteen chapters in all and each has a name, scribbled with the beginnings of stories and insights and adventure that will breathe life to its pages.

It’s miraculous what happens when you prioritize the goal behind the goal.
It’s beautiful what happens when you prioritize joy and what makes you come alive.

Since I made the decision to embody the Adventurer and work on my “impossible” goals, life has felt different. Don’t get me wrong—the clouds have not completely parted to reveal a sunny, sparkly life. Not even close. But more often, time is punctuated with moments of progress and bliss. The way I’m choosing to spend my time feels more precious, more intentional. Like I’m finally moving towards my legacy instead of moving the goal posts required to create it.

When I first met my Coach, she was the one who pointed out what I was doing. She was inspired by all that I wanted to accomplish, but she was quick to catch that I wasn’t actually getting closer to where I wanted to go.

That’s what happens when you live a life of, “I’ll do this when…”
That’s what happens when you trade greatness for mediocrity.
That’s what happens when you choose survival over joy.

Is that what you want for yourself?

Whether your “impossible” goal looks like writing a book, traveling the world, opening your practice, impacting millions, saving the planet, fighting for justice… Do you really want to put your legacy on hold while you toil away at what you think you need to do BEFORE you start the journey to create what you actually want? Why not cut across the middle road and drive straight on towards your destination?

I will say: it’s not easy. It takes courage to start. It takes devotion to finish. And it takes a plan + focusing only on the VERY NEXT MILESTONE to make progress.

This last part is particularly important.

In August, I decided to set aside every Sunday to “write my book” and while I’ve written most Sundays, it wasn’t until my Coach asked me to create a PLAN that I really started to make progress.

Now, while “writing a book” is technically a plan, it’s a BROAD plan. Even though I was writing, I found myself throwing out what I had written from the previous week because it didn’t feel right. Maybe I wanted to start the book this way. Maybe I wanted to omit that story after all. Starting over so many times led to discouragement and eventually, I quit writing on Sundays all together.

Then last week, I broke down “writing a book.” I laid out the chronological steps. I mapped out the milestones between where I am now and the finished product.

Too often, we give up on an “impossible” goal because we focus on the END RESULT and the actions that make sense to get to the end result. The game completely changes when we focus only on the actions required to get to the VERY NEXT MILESTONE.

Instead of “writing my book,” my action steps became: pinpointing the overall theme, mapping out my before and after transformation, breaking down that transformation {and this is funny}—into milestones, which then would become the chapters.

The last action step before I reach my first milestone is to fill the chapter outline with the stories and insights I want to convey to my reader. Notice how there is NO WRITING REQUIRED to reach my first milestone. And notice how reaching my first milestone {having a complete outline} will guide my writing when it’s time to write, making it much more difficult to become frustrated and give up.

So my questions to you are: If you’re not making progress towards what’s most important to you, why is that? Are you scared? Does it feel too big? Too “impossible?” Are you overwhelmed because you’re focusing on the wrong actions for where you are in the process?

If this is the case, I’d love to support you!

Throughout the month of October, I’ve set aside time in my calendar for FIVE complimentary Create the Impossible Coaching Sessions. If you’d like to experience the magic of support, email me at and tell me what “impossible” goal you’re currently creating/ready to create!

With light, love, & progress,

Words & Wisdom

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