Progress during a PhD can be hard to see sometimes. Days and weeks of incremental gains, the occasional epiphany soon pushed into the background by more hard work.
If you’re nearing the end of your PhD, review your records. Maybe your research journal or diary, perhaps a progress record that your institution insisted you keep. Maybe even the remains of notes or plans that have now evolved or been fulfilled. If your records are scrappy in places then work to remember and fill in the blanks.
Whatever you have, reflect on it all and remember: you did this. The successes you’ve found are yours. The results you have flow on from the work you’ve done and the talent you’ve developed.
It’s easy to pause and think, “How did I get here?” As you come to the end of your PhD, do the difficult work of really reflecting on that question. You’ll find confidence in the answer that you can take to your viva.