What comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.
Imagine this: You have set a goal to lose 15 pounds by the new year. For the past 8 weeks your diet has been full of variety of good sources of quality whole foods, lots of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. You have been limiting sugary drinks, sleeping 7 hours at night, and exercising at least four times a week. You have been doing everything right and you feel better than ever! Your energy is high and you’re performing well. So you decide to step on the scale. You’re down 2 pounds!
Suddenly, your outlook shifts to one full of negativity and self doubt. It is downright depressing that after all your hard work for the past two months, all you have to show for it is TWO POUNDS!?
But is that really the case? The scale is ONE number, and depending on the time, your hydration level, and a number of other factors, can vary by several pounds in a single day. You have made great changes to your lifestyle and are well on your way to establishing sustainable habits that will set you up to be healthier and happier for the rest of your LIFE.
Maybe what you have been working towards for the past months (or years) isn’t weight loss, but starting up a new business or trying to get out from under piles of debt and gain financial stability. Progress has been inching along so slowly that it seems like no matter what you do, you just can’t gain any traction.
No matter what you are working towards in life, there is no shortcut or secret pill that will get you to where you want to be quicker, and if there was, your success probably won’t last long term.
That doesn’t make the long and difficult road you’re on any easier. When you have big goals, it can be frustrating and discouraging when things don’t move as quickly as you might expect or you’re not getting the results it appears other people are enjoying.
It can be so tempting to “throw in the towel” when it seems like the needle isn’t moving in the right direction despite all your best efforts. But don’t give up! The harder you fight to achieve something, the more rewarding it is when you FINALLY get there.
In the meantime, here are some things to consider:
Trust the process
Being successful in achieving our goals takes discipline, effort, and a whole lot of hard work. It also takes being grateful for where we are TODAY and appreciating the struggles throughout the process. This is what makes finally reaching our goals so rewarding.
Instead of focusing on a single number (like your weight), think about all the other benefits of your hard work you have been enjoying: more energy, better performance, and feeling better than ever.
Keep putting in relentless effort, but also slow down long enough to think about where you are, how far you’ve come, and trust that you are making great strides towards where you want to be.
Persevere through the tough times
Big goals take time to achieve. They also take strength, determination, and a whole lot of grit. Motivation will inevitably fade in the months and years it may take to get where you are going. It isn’t what will get you out of bed on cold mornings to hit the gym before work or turn down a weekend getaway with friends to save some money.
It isn’t glamorous, but when the days are tough and you’re not feeling motivated to keep going, it is critical to have the ability to persevere through those tough times and above all else, just don’t give up.
Rather than thinking about everything you have to do and how far you still need to go, focus instead on all the great things you get to do and be thankful for all of the good in your life.
Research shows that gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness. A simple change of mindset can have tremendous benefits on your physical and psychological health.
No matter where you are in your journey, take a few minutes to recognize and be grateful for what all you have and how far you’ve come.
Good Enough, Consistently
Too often, we compare ourselves to others – either people we know in real life or “influencers” on social media.
We tend to maintain the belief that the only way to be successful is to be perfect: I’ll never miss another day at the gym or I’m going to eat clean at every single meal. But you don’t have to be perfect; you just have to persevere and have some grit. You have to be scrappy.
Trying to set your standards too high or chase extreme performance without proper recovery will lead to disappointment and burnout. The most important thing you can do when working towards reaching your goals is to keep going. Set expectations that are realistic and shoot for “good enough, consistently.”
Stop focusing on your imperfections, and even though it may look like other people are sprinting out ahead of you, don’t get discouraged. Keep your pace and continue to look for ways that you can be just a little bit better.
So put your head down, ignore the noise, and do the work. A little progress each day WILL lead to big results over time. Enjoy the process, respect where you are today, and keep moving the needle in the right direction.
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About the Author
Karen Hazelton is Precision Nutrition Level One Certified and a Healthy Steps Nutrition Coach. Her sports background is in tennis, and through hard work and dedication she earned a Division One tennis scholarship to University of Northern Colorado. An important component of her training was developing strength in the weight room. Being physically strong and having a good foundation of metabolic conditioning was essential to playing her best on the court. After earning a degree in mathematics, she moved back to her hometown of Tucson and became a high school math teacher.
Karen loved her work as a teacher, but after taking time out of the classroom to raise her two young kids, she realized how she missed coaching and working with athletes. That led her to obtain her training and nutrition certifications. She loves to see clients use fitness and nutrition to become stronger, happier, and healthier versions of themselves.