The mistakes will keep you from moving forward and choosing joy. Learn how to embrace the journey. In the going, you learn more about how to go.

3 mistakes that sabotage your progress and steal your joy

Are you making these classic mistakes that keep you stalled out and frustrated with life? Forward progress is about learning as you go, not getting it perfect from the start.

Are you content with life?
Happy with your forward progress?
Moving right along?
Then this post isn’t for you.

But if not, stick around. Because maybe you’re making these classic mistakes I’ve succumbed to often in my life.

They were brought to light when my husband and I dove into the whole “Whole30” thing without a plan or any preparation.

I had friends who completed it and posted about the life-changing effects.
I knew there was a book and a website about it.
I knew the basics: you don’t get to eat any of the fun stuff like ice cream.

Beyond that, however, I knew very little.

But I needed to make a change, so I mentioned it to my husband. He looked it up and decided it wouldn’t kill us and probably would be good for us and said, “Let’s do it.”

So we did. On the first day of the month we woke up without any “approved” food in the house. Literally. We made it the store fairly famished and bought meat, fruit and veggies, and something called ghee.

And we were off.

We violated every recommendation anyone who coaches the Whole30 has put in writing. We didn’t buy the book. We didn’t make a plan. We didn’t research it to death.

We just did it.

I bet you’re thinking, “That’s a mistake.”

And you might be right. But then again, you might not.

Launching into Whole30 like this spotlighted some known weaknesses. Maybe you have them too.

Now, I’m not suggesting you go on the most restrictive diet EVER (seriously, ever!) without a plan, but consider if you’re making these three mistakes that are keeping you from moving forward at all and sabotaging your joy in the process.

Forward progress is about learning as you go, not getting it perfect from the start. Encouragement for anyone trying to move forward in God's plan and live a life of faith. Christian living, faith quotes, trusting God's will, embracing the journey
3 joy-sucking, forward progress-stealing mistakes

1- Waiting for Perfect Preparation


If we had waited until we knew enough, the timing was perfect, and our house was emptied of all temptations (like ice cream), we never would have started.

I’m a recovering perfectionist. I want it all listed out, lined up, and free of obstacles before I even take a step. But life doesn’t hand us glass slippers and yellow brick roads. We get muddy feet, switchback mountain paths, and a calendar with no room left to write.

It’s in the GOING that we learn more about HOW to go.

Paul’s declaration is one of my favorite journey verses on this subject as it relates to spiritual progress:

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Phil. 3:13-14)

I press on.
The last step in my own process of discerning God’s will is to “Pray it Forward,” believing he is big enough to redirect my steps if I’m misguided. I may want complete clarity, but what I need is absolute trust.

And we all need a willingness to keep pressing forward, even when circumstances aren’t perfect.

Life is NOT about perfect preparation. It’s about progressive sanctification as we GO.

But once we are going, we should be progressing. That brings us to the second mistake.

2- Projecting you have it all under control


Our Nike “Just do it” approach may have propelled us forward, but it wasn’t enough to sustain our Whole30 journey.

After a week of the same chicken and vegetables, I knew we wouldn’t last if I didn’t make a plan. But cooking is NOT my thing. I feel like I should turn in my woman-card for admitting how inept I STILL am in the kitchen compared to other women my age.

Compared. Oops, there it is.

When you combine “Comparison” with the natural inclination to appear “In Control,” you have a lethal recipe for staying underdone and overwhelmed.

So back to our Whole30 saga.

I got help from a woman whose thing IS cooking. She sent meal plans, shopping lists, and step-by-step instructions for tackling homemade salad dressing, cauliflower rice (who knew there was such a thing) and non-Prego marinara.

My husband jokes he can no longer talk to me when I’m in the kitchen because it requires so much concentration. (I’m known for my ability to “buffer” conversations. Not while combining ten different spices apparently.)

But back to the bigger picture here.

In our minds, we ‘ve set this mythical age when things should be mastered. But really, there are no “old dogs” and there’s no trick too “new” if you’re willing to sacrifice a little pride and admit you need help.

And btw.
Comparing your progress to another person’s journey is about as fruitful as searching for ice cream in my freezer right now.
Not only is it pointless, it fixes your eyes on others’ destinations instead of your own journey with God’s purpose for your growth and gifts.

And that’s the third mistake.

3- Focusing on the results


One of the “rules” of Whole30 is you can’t weigh yourself until it’s over. They want you to focus on healthy eating and the process of breaking bad habits without fixating on the scales.

This thing is so restrictive and interruptive that if you’re not getting the “results” you think you deserve from all your “sacrifice,” you might decide it’s not worth it and bale.

Hmm. That last statement could apply to so much more than Whole30.

Life requires sacrifice and self-discipline. We’re wired to look for payoff and equations that make sense. But there’s no promise of any of that this side of heaven.

If you want a happy ending, it depends on where you stop the story.
And if you qualify your efforts by quantifying middle-of-the-road effects, you WILL likely stop dead in your tracks.

Yes, be wise and practice stewardship.
Order your priorities in view of Scripture.
Bathe your decisions with prayer and God’s Word.
But then give generously and receive anything in return as grace.

Your calling is to obey, not orchestrate the outcome.

Embrace the Journey

For over a decade, my mantra has been “Embrace the Journey.” Interestingly, my 20-something daughter’s word for this year is “savor.”

She’s doing everything BUT savor right now and I spoke from experience when I told her, “It’s often the thing you identify God wants you to progress in that receives the most opposition.”


Going through this Whole30 opened my eyes to just how little “embracing” I’ve been doing lately. I got stuck in trying to find the perfect path forward, doing it all myself, and worrying that I wasn’t measuring up.

So I’m calling do-over.

Maybe you need a reset button also? The other thing I reminded my daughter about was new mercies. Each and every morning.

So let’s make forward progress together, friend. Let’s savor and find joy in the journey. Let’s keep stepping. Keep swimming. Keep practicing not quitting if that’s all we can do for today.

And trust that in the going, we WILL learn more about how to go.

But for the record, my “going” is probably going to include a stop for ice cream along the way.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s often the thing you identify God wants you to progress in that receives the most opposition.” quote=”It’s often the thing you identify God wants you to progress in that receives the most opposition.”]

[clickToTweet tweet=”Life is NOT about perfect preparation. It’s about progressive sanctification as we GO.” quote=”Life is NOT about perfect preparation. It’s about progressive sanctification as we GO.”]

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Encouragement for believers embracing the journey and seeking contentment as they make forward progress in faith.

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