When we get it into our head that we want something, we usually want it NOW!
Not in two weeks, two months or two years…NOW!
It’s like we become a child again and our head is screaming “NOW!” “NOW!” “NOW!”….”I WANT IT NOW!”
Sorry….But you CAN’T HAVE IT NOW!
Success takes time. And sometimes pushing harder, faster WON’T get you there any quicker.
Sometimes pushing harder, faster actually hinders your progress.
At the same time, you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen.
If you want to get stronger, perform better, lose weight, tone up or rehab an injury, you’ve got to give it your all WITHOUT becoming impatient (AKA pushing too hard too fast).
Two things I’ve found that have help me become more patient about accomplishing fitness goals are setting up a timeline and setting short-term goals.
When I say “setting up timelines” I mean that I outline how long it will realistically take to accomplish my goal and then I outline how much time I will spend potentially “testing” out ways to get there.
Let’s face it, if you want to lift a ton more weight or even lose a ton of weight, it isn’t going to take a month…it may even take a year. You’ve got to figure out a realistic timeframe in which to accomplish your goal.
And realistic means looking at what obstacles are in the way that may slow things down – it means planning out your timeframe based on the fact that there may be unforeseen plateaus!
Granted you can’t account for all setbacks, but the more you plan in a little extra time to deal with them, the more likely you will be to hit your goal on time if not early (which will make you very very happy…trust me!).
And setbacks can come in all forms. Unless you’ve had to work toward your specific goal before and already have a program in place, you are probably going to have to experiment a bit even if your friend/coach gives you a program that has worked for them and people they’ve known before.
Let’s face the facts…just because a program has worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. So how long do you potentially “waste” on a program that doesn’t work before switching (especially if you have a deadline to hit!)?
My rule of thumb is…”Give it 30 days.”
You’ve got to give a program just a bit of time. I know 30 days seems like an eternity when you want something NOW, but one week, or even two weeks, doesn’t really give you enough proof as to whether or not something really works.
Give it 30 days and then assess. Did you make any progress? What seemed to help? What didn’t?
THEN make changes!
If you learned something from that 30 days, then it isn’t really wasted time now is it!?!
Because if you learn more about what works for you to accomplish your goal, then you will always have that knowledge if you need to get back there or even build further!
If you never experiment and…for example…just starve yourself to lose the weight, you didn’t really learn about what it takes to truly lose the weight and keep it off (and you definitely aren’t any healthier!).
Anyway, the point is you have to figure that a goal you’ve never set out to accomplish before is going to take some extra time because first you have to establish a program!
So if you’ve set a realistic timeframe, you must have accounted for a bit of experimentation on top of setbacks such as unforeseen cheat days or sickness.
But by setting a realistic timeframe you won’t stress out about having to be at your goal NOW because you know exactly when it SHOULD be achieved! (Not to mention having a timeframe will help keep you on track when you want to cheat because you know you have a deadline.)
But once you have that timeline, the best way to keep yourself to that goal is to set short-term goals within that timeframe.
When we want something NOW, we usually overlook all the progress we are making because all we can focus on is the end goal, which in terms makes us upset and sometimes even depressed about the fact that we aren’t there yet.
So how do you get yourself to stay positive and not overwhelmed by the fact that you aren’t there yet?
You set shorter goals that allow you to see all the progress you are making toward you goal!
Having something to accomplish each week, each month, will keep you on track and even positive about your progress to a goal that will take you maybe even a year or longer to accomplish.
These goals can range from weekly weigh ins or performance measures to simply sticking to a meal plan or workout assigned for that day.
The point is that when you accomplish them they make you feel like you are getting closer to your goal. Accomplishing these short-term goals should provide you with confidence and keep you positive and motivated.
If you are confident, positive, motivated and feel like you are moving forward, even if it is small steps, you are going to be WAY more likely to stay the course no matter how long it takes.
So if you’ve been struggling to stay positive and accomplish your big goal, take time today to figure out what is a realistic timeframe to accomplish it. Then set out some mini goals that will keep you accountable each day, each week, each month…whatever works for you!
NOTE: You will also have to outline a clear program with a progression toward you goal based on your timeframe, but that is a different post!