How to make progress even when you’re frustrated, discouraged, and unmotivated
Your progress doesn’t look like it should
At least it doesn’t look the way you think it should.
It seems as though when you start a journey, it should be a direct path. As often as you tell yourself you know it’s not actually going to be a direct line of progress with rainbow’s and butterflies along the way; it’s still frustrating when it’s not.
It’s ok to be discouraged at times. Your progress isn’t going to happen in a straight line. You aren’t someone else and your journey is going to look different.
So how do you maintain the consistency to keep going, even when you’re discouraged?
In working with a lot of people, we’ve seen this over and over.
Here are three common hurdles you might face in your weight loss journey, and how to overcome them:
Your goal was to workout 3 times per week, but after the first two weeks, life (as it often does) get’s in the way. You make it to the gym twice a week, but still feel like a failure for not getting your third session in.
What to do instead;
Ask yourself; Is it reasonable to get 3 workouts in consistently given your schedule and responsibilities? Really evaluate this; I know you have the best of intentions and you believe you should workout 3 times per week. First, don't "should yourself." Realize between family, work, and other life obligations, it just might not be in the cards to workout as much as you think you should right now. You will absolutely still make progress with 2 workouts a week. Be ok with the two and really work to protect those times; Write it into your schedule, mark your calendar as unavailable during those times, and unless it’s a true emergency, keep that promise to yourself. After getting this down you can re-evaluate to see if it’s reasonable to get a third workout in per week. If it is, do the same thing, protect that time for yourself. If it’s not, keep up with 2 times per week!
Reframe what a “workout” has to look like. I know you remember those times you’ve been in an awesome groove and every workout left you in a sweaty puddle and you felt great. The truth is, a workout doesn’t have to be that way. A workout could be 20 minutes of body weight movements and stretches in your pajamas before work. It could be taking the dog for a walk. Or it could be intentional about parking as far away from the grocery store as you can so you get your steps in. A workout doesn’t have to be loud music, sky rocketed heart rates, and puddles of sweat. If something does come up and you don’t get to the gym, what can you do? Re-write your definition of a workout; can you do that even when you “don’t have time?”
You’re following a diet; you’re consistently eating your vegetables and protein, you are avoiding drinks and deserts, but you step on the scale and the results aren’t what you were hoping for.
What to do instead of getting frustrated and giving up;
It would be really nice if our body weight just followed the script of; Calorie deficit = linear weight loss every day. The truth to this situation is there are a ton of variations in our bodies that don’t let this happen. Eat more salt or carbohydrates than normal and your body will hold on to more water, so the scale either won’t move, or may even go up in weight. This doesn’t mean you gained fat even though your nutrition has been going well. Take the information objectively and don’t freak out! It’s the trend over time that is important, not what the scale says on a given day. Keep going!
You’re feeling good about your progress, you see more muscle definition, you’re feeling confident in your progress and your improved strength and physical abilities. Then, you see someone else who has made “more” progress than you and you get discouraged.
What to do instead;
Realize you are not that person! Your journey is different, your goals are different, your progress towards those goals are different. Don’t let someone who is not you dictate the way you feel about your progress. Practice gratitude for your body and your journey, if you keep going you’re going to continue making progress. Be happy for that person, genuinely happy, you of all people know how hard it is to make changes. Congratulate them on their success, appreciate the progress you've made, and keep taking those actions.
Your journey will look different than you think it should. You’re going to get discouraged and lose motivation. That’s ok! Keep things in perspective then you don’t hit your goal of 3 workouts per week; getting one or two in is amazing! Stick to the process even when you don’t see the results you were hoping for; progress doesn’t happen linearly. If you stuck to your plan keep going, if you didn’t, how can you get back to it without judging yourself. Your journey is your own; other people’s journey will look different than yours. That doesn’t make either person better or more impressive; just keep going!
You can’t screw this up. Not seeing the progress you hoped for, it looking different than you though doesn’t mean you’re failing. It means you’re learning. Keep learning and keep taking those daily actions. Don’t underestimate what you can do in a year because you’re frustrated with a week.