If there is one thing you should focus on, it’s that you should be making continual progress towards your goals. You will rarely start out perfectly, but if you keep making small changes consistently and improving then you give yourself the chance of achieving the results you want.  The only way to have a positive body transformation, and having that transformation becoming a permanent part of your life, is to make progress.

progress is not linear

That being said progress is rarely linear, where one day you’re good, and the next day you’re a bit better, and so on. Progress is made in fits and starts.  You may make awesome progress for a couple of weeks, but the next week you fall off the wagon. The following week, you may not make progress, but you don’t backslide either. What separates the Warriors who make continual progress is not how many times they stumble, but how quickly they get up and make improvements going forward. That’s why we do Burpees, so we can learn to get up off the ground quickly!!

Taking Steps Back

As Warriors, most people think that you are immune to the temptations of one too many drinks out with friends or over-indulging in certain foods that are not (or should not!) be part of your normal daily nutrition plan.  The truth is there are always times throughout the year where that is not the case.  Usually Christmas and New Year, then we have Easter, Birthday’s, anniversaries, weekends and Friday’s to celebrate!

During these times, we tend to go out more, play more, stay up later, drink more alcohol and eat more rich food than we should.  At the same time, we might have less time for training.

For most of us, these things are not necessarily “planned”, but they have happened often enough over the years that we should be able to anticipate them, and plan ways we can minimize the damage done by them.

Taking a step back might be over-indulging during the holidays and then over-indulging on the post-holiday, get back to work stress and drown your sorrows because you had to go back to work!  You might be recovering from an injury and since you feel you can’t train as you normally would, you let the all-or-nothing mentality to take over, you eat unhealthily also. Or you may not adjust your calorie intake to account for the reduced training load.  No matter what your step back is, remember that it happens to everyone.  There are a nut jobs out there that can be perfect 51 out of 52 weeks of the year, those people are definitely not the majority.

The point is:  Even though we know the benefits of making continual progress, there will be times when you will take a few steps backwards. Having the freedom to eat and drink what you want, should be fine occasionally, as long as it doesn’t happen all the time. Lunchtime is not an occasion. Friday night will happen every week; something that happens every week is not an occasion. Saturday and Sunday happen every week, they’re not occasions either. The things we do occasionally, should be just that, occasions – not something that happens daily, weekly, or even monthly.

So outside of actual occasions fitness and eating healthy take on a much more important part of your life.

Making Progress

After those periods of over-indulgence, we are often more prepared, mentally and physically, to be more disciplined. Although these periods of effort may only last about 4-8 weeks, the benefits can last a lot longer than that. Remember during that time of more intense effort, your building new health habits, making strength gains and increasing your self-confidence.

This time of progress may be working towards your goal weight, training for an event, or hitting a PB on your deadlift. This focus and intensity on your training and nutrition can help you stay healthier over the long term.  The key is to turn that more intense effort into consistent habits and make that a new normal for you.

Make Better Habits “Normal”

It’s not “sexy” but the culmination of the habits you’ve built up during the times your making good progress will become your new normal. If you build up better habits, month after month, your “normal” will be more advanced than most people’s “making progress” times.

The Take Home Message

Warriors feel as though they need to continually make progress.  From day to day, month to month and never allow themselves to be comfortable with taking a few steps back.  This is a mistake and it can set you up for failure.

A better is to build the habits that make you progressively better over time. If you can improve on those, then you give yourself the best opportunity to enjoy yourself, improve your health, and reach your short and long-term goals.  Avoid the all-or-nothing mentality between extreme dieting or extreme over-indulgence then you are more likely to stay on the right track.

If you can improve, little-by-little, month by month, then health and fitness will be a natural part of your life, something you have to try to fit into your life.