When You Can’t Make Progress (And What To Do About It)

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Ralston Medouze

Ralston Medouze

Ralston is a teacher and entrepreneur. He's passionate about achieving goals and has a wide variety of interests. Some of his goals include traveling the world and learning 5+ foreign languages.
Ralston Medouze

no progress

As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I’m currently putting a lot of focus on my health goals (mainly, losing weight). I’ve made a lot of progress on this goal, losing 20 pounds in the past 4 months, but I recently hit a wall. For some reason, I can’t seem to get below 280 pounds. Maybe it’s the way I’ve structured my diet, causing me to crave certain unhealthy foods (or to eat in excess) whenever I get to that point. Maybe it’s just the overall composition of my body (I have quite a bit of muscle, which is heavy), meaning I’d have to lose more muscle if I wanted to lose weight. It could be that I need to exercise more and increase the intensity of my workouts. I can’t quite pinpoint the issue (it’s probably all of the above), but it’s very frustrating.

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When you can’t make progress…

Whatever your goal, getting to a point where you don’t seem to be making any progress can be extremely frustrating. If you’re extremely goal-oriented, like me, that frustration is only intensifies when you’re supposedly doing the right things, but nothing seems to be happening. As I’ve been hovering in the same weight range for the past month or two, that’s exactly how I feel. I feel like nothing’s getting done. It’s not the end of the world, though, and I can probably get closer to my goal if I change a few things. Below are some things to consider if you are experiencing the same frustration.

Change your perspective.

You may need to reconsider your goals and change your perspective. Put your current goals and what you want to achieve (that is, how is this goal supposed to make your life better?) into perspective. Do they match up?

For me, the answer is not exactly. While losing weight is definitely something I want to do, I realize that weighing less does not automatically mean I’ll be healthier. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in perfect or near-perfect health. All of my stats are around where they should be.  The reason I currently workout is not to get healthier, but to tone my body a bit more. The problem is that my goal is very hard to measure accurately. Focusing on my weight is not a good metric for my goal. It helps, but I should mainly focus on measuring (with a measuring tape) various areas of my body and focusing on that.

If your goals do not match up with the things you want to achieve, consider what changes you can make to make those two things align. Is your goal too low? Is it the wrong goal? How will accomplishing the goal get you closer to a better life? If it won’t improve your life, what’s the other reason why you’re still doing it? If you don’t have a reason for setting your goal, come up with one.

In addition to considering if your goals will help you achieve what you want, you should consider if you’re measuring your goals in the proper way. As I’ve stated above with my own goals, part of the problem may be that you haven’t found a way to measure your goals in a way that’s truely meaningful. Unfortunately for me, what I’m trying to accomplish is not very easy to measure, but chances are that you can find some metric (or milestone) to use for measuring your progress.

If the problem isn’t the goals themselves, then you should change your plan of action.



You’re not working hard enough.

Another reason I’m probably not making as much progress as I’d like is because I haven’t been working hard enough. I’m working hard – I’m exercising for 1-2 hours every day on average – but maybe that’s not hard enough.

When considering this, it’s good to also take your timeline into perspective. How fast you want to improve will greatly impact how much harder you should work. It’s possible that you may need to work much harder than you originally thought to hit your goal. If that’s the case, you have to reconsider if you’re willing to put in the necessary effort, otherwise you might be wasting your time. Is your goal worth doing whatever it takes? Are you willing to work more? To work harder? To double your effort, or more, if need be? If you’re not willing to put in the extra work, consider extending your timeline.

It would be hard for me to work for longer periods of time on my health goals as I already spend 1-3 hours a day working out. Doing longer workouts won’t necessarily help me at this point and spending more time on it would start to negatively impact my other goals. So, that means that I have to work harder. Much harder. That means I’ll have to start jogging/running more, even though I hate running (I really really hate running). It means I’ll have to increase the intensity of my weight lifting sessions, too. Though it will take a lot of effort on my part to restructure my workout plan (and to actually do the work), it’s worth it to me if it means I’ll make more progress. I’ll also need to be more consistent with how I exercise, which has always been a fault of mine, and I may need to eat even healthier (possibly cutting out some more types of food).

The fact is that many goals, especially the difficult ones that are really worth it, require a sacrifice. Sometimes, that sacrifice has to be huge.

Your heart’s not in it.

So, maybe you’re just not excited about your current goal(s). If that’s the case, think about why you set the goal in the first place. Think back to your original motivation for starting this journey. Do you/did you have a reason? If you do, and those motivations/values still hold true, you should continue and consider restructuring your approach. If not, I’d suggest reading my articles on finding your why and setting goals. If you still can’t find a reason, maybe you should quit. If you set the goal(s) to please someone else, consider how important that relationship is to you, the possible impact on that relationship (and why they wanted you to do X). If the goal(s) doesn’t line up with your values, though, you should quit.

If you’re not truly excited about accomplishing a goal (and the benefits of doing so), then do something else. It’s okay to quit if there’s something better that you can do with your time. In the end, it’s your life.

 

Have you found this helpful? Leave a comment below!

P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter.

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Photo: Tired Runner by Rennett Stowe.

 


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