Milestones are crucial when you're on a fitness journey. Notice the word "journey"?
That's an indicator that it's going to take a while to achieve your goal. You're in this for a relatively long haul. Any improvement that you wish to see in your body WILL take time. This is a given, and something you'll need to get used to.
With other goals, you may catch a lucky break here and there which accelerates your progress. However, if you're trying to lose weight or get fit, this will rarely occur.
Every improvement will be won with sweat and occasionally, tears. That's just how it is. Millions of people who make New Year resolutions to get in shape often quit by the end of January.
The majority quit in the third week. Why does this happen?
One of the reasons is that they underestimated how much time and effort would be required. There's no denying the fact that sticking to a clean diet and training at the gym daily is a Herculean task that involves tons of discipline and determination.
The hardest part of it all is that progress is SLOW! The juice just doesn't seem worth the squeeze. Once the motivation and inspiration that comes with the New Year fades, as it always does, what you're left with is a diet that difficult to follow and exertion at the gym that makes you shudder.
And you barely see any progress after 3 weeks. So, you think it's not working and you quit. Game over.
There is a better way.
The importance of milestones
If you're 40 pounds overweight, you're not going to lose all that weight in 2 weeks or even a month. It's going to take longer.
However, if you only set one goal to lose 40 pounds, it's going to be quite a while before you reach it. By that time, it's extremely easy to lose motivation and focus. The key to preventing this is to have small milestones along the way.
Goal: You weigh 180 pounds and need to lose 40 pounds of fat.
Milestone #1: Lose 3 pounds in week 1. (Goal weight - 177 pounds)
Milestone #2: Lose 3 pounds in week 2 (Goal weight - 175 pounds)
Milestone #3: Lose 2 pounds in week 3. (Goal weight - 173 pounds)
Milestone #4: Lose 2 pounds in week 4. (Goal weight - 171 pounds)
This example shows just 4 milestones, but you'll probably need several more to reach 140 pounds, which is your ultimate goal.
Your focus each week should be on hitting the next milestone. As long as you're hitting your milestones, you'll get to your goal in time to come.
Knowing your ultimate goal can be inspiring, but it's the small milestones you hit that will motivate you to keep going and stay on track.
Do note: your milestones should be reasonable and sensible. Don't write down a milestone of 10 pounds in one week. It's almost impossible to meet it.
Aim for small, incremental progress. If you do better than your predicted goal, that's excellent.
There will be weeks where you notice no improvement or progress. This is normal. You may have hit a plateau and your body is adapting. Change up your training program and vary your caloric intake and you'll be back on track.
Inch by inch, life's a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.
The milestones are the inches you need to travel to get to your goal. Use them as mile markers on your fitness journey and you'll reach your destination in time to come.
Rome wasn't built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour. You'll get there if you just keep going.