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Baby steps

December 01 2023
Deal © John Sheehy Deal © John Sheehy

Many readers will spend this time of year wondering about what’s next and whether they’re heading in the right direction. Take a moment, recognise how far you’ve come and take that next step. By Leon Eckford

As we come crashing towards the end of 2023, we reflect, review and re-focus on goals we set way back in January in this here, a capitalist society motivated by profits and status progression.

Should we be harsh on ourselves and discern if we’ve succeeded or not?

I mean, the current system is set up this way and hammered home by advertising, social media and a whole raft of external voices supposedly pushing us forward.

In life, and practically, our system gives the illusion that steps should provide access to doors and pathways that we have cultivated and worked towards historically. However, steps can go downwards and sideways as well as spiking upwards charting pre-suppositions of growth, stagnation or that dreaded F word.

No not that one…


Sometimes one needs to step down to step up and sometimes stepping sideways helps you get ready for a step up.

Then there’s comparatives which crush our fragile souls, leaving a question echoing as I people-watch in the sprawling metropolis of London.

Doesn’t everyone else know what they’re doing?

I’d gently suggest not, as we all get stuck occasionally, especially when our inner self-critic pushes for more when goal-setting doesn’t appear to be gathering momentum.

Get this: Sometimes it’s ok not to feel like you’re getting anywhere.

And that feeling is something we all experience, regardless of status, income level or perceived success rate. Think of it as point A and point B. If you feel you’re not moving forward I’d posit you’re slap bang between both points, but be patient, the answers will appear. If you can, just keep going.

Having done rehab from opiates, I know the feeling of futility and pressing your internal ‘fuck it’ button as each day grinds on you and existence itself is a struggle. Don’t press it – stay the course. Do the next right thing.

This is something I wish I’d known in my twenties, as I car crashed from one bad decision to another at a remarkable rate.

As I reflect back, I feel sorry for younger me, trying to reassemble an identity and find a foothold towards betterment, whilst I stumbled and fell on my face consistently.

Whatever you do today – do one thing and do it well.

Take that small step forward, whatever that looks like for you and with that small increment achieved you can look at the next baby step forward with a little more courage.

Make the next step count. I believe in you.

What next?

Leon explores a number of themes in his article, including recovery, mental health and finding support. The following resources might be helpful:

  • Talk to Frank 24/7 on 0300 123 6600 to receive honest drug advice and find local drug treatment centres. You can also visit the website
  • The Mind helpline is open to people who want to talk about their mental health. Call 0300 123 3393 Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
  • Check out the List of services in the centre pages of the magazine for a wider selection of local services available to you.