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The beginning of a new year often sparks a renewed drive for pursuing your health and fitness goals — but what happens if some time goes by and you’re not seeing results?

It’s common to feel discouraged when you are consistently putting in the effort but not getting the outcome you were anticipating. It’s important to remember, though, that there are many variables at play and just because you’re not where you expected to be yet doesn’t mean you haven’t made progress or that you won’t get there.

Lindsay Ogden, CPT, a Dynamic Personal Trainer and fitness and nutrition coach at Life Time in Eden Prairie, Minn., shares some guidance for overcoming the discouragement and staying committed.

1. Take a moment to reevaluate.

“If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for,” says Ogden, “I suggest revisiting these three questions: Why did you choose the end goal that you did? Are your expectations and the timelines you attached to them realistic? What will reaching this goal do for you?”

Oftentimes, reevaluating your finish line helps you adjust your daily habits and behaviors so you eventually achieve your goal.

2. Work backward.

While any consistent movement routine is worth celebrating, when you’re working toward specific results, you may need to ask yourself if the activities you’re doing are actually going to get you to the changes you desire. “Ask yourself, Is the work I’m putting in the right thing and amount for what I’m looking to achieve?” suggests Ogden.

If you’re looking to build muscle, for example, you’ll want to assess whether you’re spending enough time strength training. Different types of exercise elicit different types of outcomes.

You also need to evaluate how to progress your program as you advance. “What part of the process could you adjust to better align with your goal?” advises Ogden.

3. Weigh your other habits.

Are you recovering well from your workouts? Do you sleep enough at night? Is your stress at a manageable level? What types of foods are you putting in your body?

“I don’t want anyone to feel overwhelmed with trying to take on too much at once, but it’s important to understand that health truly is a connected web, and it is possible that what you’re doing outside of the health club could be influencing your results,” says Ogden.

4. Don’t discredit the results you are seeing.

“Let’s say you have a weight-loss goal and you’re not at your target (yet), but your energy is more consistent, your workouts feel better, and your sleep is improving,” says Ogden. “Those are all changes in a positive direction. Be sure to take note of all results and not get too focused on any single number or thing.”

5. Keep at it.

Often if our progress isn’t matching up with our expectations, motivation can fade. “Motivation is a feeling, and feelings are fleeting — don’t rely on them to guide when you’re going to work out,” suggests Ogden. “I have a ‘feeling it in five’ rule, where even if I don’t feel like working out, I will get myself to start, and if I’m not feeling it in five minutes, I will leave. But 99 percent of the time, once I get moving, the workouts go great!”

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Health Facebook group.

Callie Chase
Callie Fredrickson

Callie Fredrickson is a content editor at Life Time.

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