The first thing people are asked when they come into the gym is “What is your goal?” It could be to lose weight, it could be to improve their overall health, it could be to get stronger/faster/more powerful for their sport, it could be to compete in some type of competition, or it could simply be to change their routine and meet new people. Whatever it might be, the minute they set that goal is the minute their fitness journey begins and we start to lay out a plan of attack. This goal is always the big picture—but it’s the little goals along the way that are the most important in achieving that big picture goal. You can’t win the war without winning a majority of the battles—but as in war, you win some and you lose some and the journey can be long, frustrating and hard. It’s when the journey gets long, frustrating and hard though that you truly begin to change and grow. Trusting the process and the plan of attack is important but it is not easy. Keep these five things in mind when the process gets hard.
1. Rome wasn’t built in a day—this stuff takes time
Making lifestyle changes in terms of health takes an incredibly long time. Think about children learning to do things for the first time like walking, eating, talking, etc. They didn’t just automatically stand up and strut across the room without falling down. Multiple times they fell, but multiple times they got back up—and most often with a big fat grin on their faces. Baby steps are better than no steps at all and when working on something that takes a long time those baby steps add up. Every time you choose an apple over French fries, every day you walk into the gym instead of choosing to sit on the couch, every rep, every mile, every set will add up it just takes time.
2. It’s okay to mess up
We learn from our mistakes. They are probably the most important lessons we will learn because they are from our own trial and error but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to fail. Just like that baby walking across the room got back up each time they fell down, so must we. We can’t stay knocked down because it will happen--it’s inevitable. Just learn from it and get back up. We are striving for consistency, not perfection. It’s not about what we do 20% of the time, but 80% of the time.
3. Some progress is better than no progress
Something we do here at Force is record everything. Each client gets his or her own personalized program and binder. It’s their space to take notes, record the weights they were using that week and to accumulate pages of completed programs that they can be proud of for finishing. It’s important to track progress whether it be by recording the amount of weight you squatted that week or by taking pictures of your body and the changes it is making or by recording the food you are consuming throughout the week. Nothing is more satisfying than to be able to look back a couple weeks at what you thought was good to realize you are crushing that a few weeks later. Little reminders like these make all the difference when frustration sets in.
4. It’s hard
It is incredibly hard. Fitness is not easy. It is a decision each day to live healthier, but it is a decision where the benefits far outweigh any kind of excuse or drawback our finite minds come up with. It might be hard when you first start out but it will become a lifestyle. I’m not going to sit here and tell you it will become easier either, because it doesn’t—your priorities just begin to change and making decisions that benefit your health will become easier to make but you will always want to strive for something harder, more exciting and more challenging. That’s why we always have goals. There is always something more to be achieved, learned, and improved upon.
5. Leave your ego at home
Everyone’s journey and process looks different and they are all going in different directions. To compare yourself and your journey to someone else’s would be a disservice to yourself and the success and progress you are making. Yeah, you might be training for a race or for a weightlifting competition or for a sporting event where you are compared to other people, but in terms of trusting your own process leave your ego at home. It’s always going to be you vs. you. You might not be the fastest in the race or lift the most weight in the weightlifting competition or always win the sporting event but you can always strive to beat yourself and how you previously performed because those are factors you can control.
Most important thing to keep in mind is that no one is perfect, not even the fitness trainers or the people in magazines or the elite athletes. Everyone struggles on his or her journey, but that is the greatest part about it, it’s YOUR journey and no one else’s. You will have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, heck even good months and bad months. It happens, it’s all a part of the process. It’s just so important to trust the process when these things get hard and keep that big picture goal in the back of your head because it will be achieved one baby step at a time.