You've seen the people at the gym who go there every day and never change. Year after year, they still maintain the same look while others around them move forward. Why are they not progressing? IFBB Pro Chris Tuttle provides some answers in his latest article, "5 Reasons Why You're Not Progressing." Check it out.
The first and most important principle in accomplishing just about anything is repetition of a particular action over time. Refining a skill, saving money, improving physical performance, losing weight, gaining weight, and many other goals all require consistency of action for success. Without consistency you have nothing. That goal merely becomes an idea and not a reality. This, by far, is most important in reaching just about any goal. You must be consistent with the action required to reach your goal over long periods of time.
Most people realize that emotionally motivated decisions are not good ones and can lead us down a bad path. Some people have a very tough time “overriding” their own emotions and still be able to complete their daily required objectives. Emotions can be goal crushers. We often use these emotions to justify actions or, in this case, lack thereof. Just because your car broke down, you had a bad day at work, or you had an argument with your significant other does not mean you throw it all to the wind and give up. Anyone who has achieved success in their life has learned to control their emotions and certainly not to act on them.
Creating unrealistic expectations—for example, expecting progress beyond what is possible or typical—is the fastest way to fail. Everyone progresses at different rates and we all encounter obstacles that may slow us down. The expectation should be to make yourself accountable to what you need to do on a daily basis. Be flexible with your timeline and understand there will be setbacks here and there. We do not want to create negative pressure or emotions. Additionally, we all have to accept that effort put forth is never equally rewarded and some might have to work harder than others to reach the same goal.
Searching for Motivation
People will change gyms, training partners, training programs, coaches, or training styles, and do all sorts of other things to find this secret motivation that they think exists. It is no surprise that everyone is motivated when starting something new. What they do not understand is that, while motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you going over time. Motivation is unreliable—it comes and goes. It is inconsistent and will not carry you to your goal. When people see other people who work hard day in and day out, they wonder where they get the motivation. In reality what they are seeing is discipline. Discipline carries you when you do not feel like doing something or when things get hard. We all have the potential to have discipline, but it doesn’t happen overnight and you can’t find it in a pill. It is something that you must practice over time.
The concept that “more is better” will lead you to burnout. Yes, you need “more” over time to make ground, but it cannot be rushed. Too many people fall victim to the “beast mode” mentality where it is full throttle all the time. That is the quickest way to spin your wheels and make no progress. Although you do have to push yourself as hard as possible, there is a time to hit it hard and there is a time to back off. There is more strategy in progression than some people are willing to admit or accept. Just talk to any world class powerlifter or Olympic lifter about stages of progression in their training. Pushing yourself to the max takes both hard work and strategy. Try to understand this concept without using it as an excuse to train 80%.
Doing What You Want vs What You Need To Do
I see this happen too often. You will see this when someone initially has a very sound nutrition or training program, but then they veer away from the plan that actually works in order to do something else. This is also common with people who try to jump basic steps to more advanced steps too quickly. As boring as mastering the basics might be, they are required in order to make it to a high level in any endeavor.