There are signs of progress everywhere. Every gain counts, no matter how small. “1% improvement daily adds up to 365% progress by the end of a year.” The math may be skewed but the sentiment remains true. World and Olympic records are made, measured and broken based on fractions of seconds. Fitness trophies are won and lost on lighting, fluid retention and amount of tanning lotion applied.
Progress can take many forms and present in numerous ways. You just need to be open to it. Be prepared to look beyond the number on the scales. If your focus is solely on the scales, this can create a disconnect between reality and expectation. Key measures of progress can be overlooked. Important measures which can present themselves as visual, tangible, measurable or immeasurable offering a certain je ne sais quoi. If you have ever received a compliment from a friend, family or acquaintances you know what this means.
It’s when you look in the mirror and like what you see, feeling comfortable in your own skin. When you notice improved performance, can measure better, faster run times and pace, more weight lifted or chasing those extra reps. Being able to do something physical that you’d not thought possible. Progress is noticing changes in energy levels and finding yourself in a better mood. You wake up better rested, with less aches & pains. It is when you find your clothes fit different; either looser or tighter in all the right places. Or walking into any clothing store and feeling comfortable with any clothing choice that you make. Buying yourself a new swimsuit or taking your belt in by a loop (or two).
Requiring a certain willingness and openness to change, true progress can stem from lifestyle change. This can lead to a better relationship with yourself and others. It is having open and honest conversations with loved ones, people who care about and care for you. It is when you allow your trainer to hold you accountable to food and alcohol goals.
Beyond your relationship with others, progress can be measured when making better food choices and having a more positive relationship with food. Did you eat a decent breakfast this morning, sitting down? For some, that is also progress. Often when in the early stages of change, you notice big changes and that fuels motivation. Progress is easy to measure. Over time the law of diminishing returns kicks in and those big changes will be few and far between. That is when looking for the little things, the small, daily wins, will be all the more paramount. Oftentimes these things will go unnoticed leading us to become complacent or disheartened. Again, look beyond the scales.
The number on the scales is just one measure of data. Look for daily wins. Progress will be subjective and be different from person to person. How one individual measures progress will be different to the next. The key is to find some measure that is relevant and resonates with you. Ask yourself, what does progress look like to you? You know the results when you give up.