One of the most energizing feelings you’ll experience on your Habits of Health journey is when you see and feel yourself making progress.
Stepping on the scale to see a lower number than you expected.
Setting a new personal best in the gym.
Trying on that favorite outfit you haven’t been able to wear for years.
Humankind is defined by progress, and nearly every aspect of our lives is connected to driving change in some ways. We study for tests to get better grades. We work harder in the hopes of getting promoted. We put money into investments because of the return.
The problem, however, is that when we put a great deal of effort into something, we expect to (and want to) see progress. When we don’t see results, continuing to push ourselves can become harder to do. Whether we’re talking about reaching a healthy weight or learning to draw, the longer we feel like we aren’t making progress, the more likely we are to quit.
Here’s the catch: As long as you are making the choices to support your goals, you are moving forward. You might, however, not know where to look to see that progress.
If reaching a healthy weight is your ultimate goal, you will encounter plateaus where the number on the scale doesn’t change. In fact, you might have days where the number on the scale goes up instead of down. If your weight is the only thing you’re tracking, then that moment could be very disheartening. In reality, though, you are likely making progress on the following fronts:
- Building muscle, which is essential for optimal wellbeing. Muscle, however, weighs more than fat, so you can make a significant improvement in your fitness and your weight may not reflect that.
- Waist circumference, a major predictor of your potential for disease. Many people will find that their waist circumference improves at times when their weight appears not to because of the muscle dilemma in the previous point.
- Sleeping better, which will improve nearly every aspect of your health. Healthy sleep is often the most ignored area of well-being, and improvements there can be easy to overlook.
- Mindfulness, which empowers you to make the choices that matter to you. If you find yourself choosing healthier foods more often, taking the stairs at work, or giving yourself a few minutes to meditate when you feel that icky sauce bubbling up, you are making huge progress in your growth as a person.
There are many many more parts of your journey that you can measure to see more of the very real progress you’re making. Page 250 of Your LifeBook walks you through what to look for and also provides a convenient tracking template so that all you have to do is answer some questions (and not have to remember everything yourself).
I hope this gives you the tools you need to give yourself more grace and to celebrate the results of your hard work.