Slowly but surely, you’re making good progress toward your goal, and then … you just aren’t anymore. You seem to be doing everything you were before, but what worked so well for you before just doesn’t seem to have the same effect. What’s going on?
You’ve most likely hit the dreaded “plateau,” the point in fitness where you aren’t making progress as quickly as you used to, or in some cases, aren’t making any progress at all. Plateaus can affect all sorts of areas of fitness, from weight loss to personal records, but oftentimes, they can be tackled using the same methods.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Sometimes, you can figure out what’s caused your plateau by attempting to get to the source of the problem. Unfortunately, though, this can lead to self-doubt — “I’m not trying hard enough,” "I’m getting too old,” “I’m just not as good as I used to be.” A little clinical detachment can go a long way.
What other factors could be affecting your game? Have you been working out too much and not getting enough rest? Are outside life events impeding your success? Or have you truly been suffering from a lack of motivation? Figuring out what’s really at the root of the problem will help you take the right course of action.
Change Things Up
There’s an old saying that goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This can be applied to your plateau! If the way things are going right now isn't working out, try changing them up.
For instance, if your lifting gains have stalled, try enlisting a friend as a workout partner who can motivate you. Or, if you keep hitting the same times in your runs, change up your route or rearrange your playlist. Making a change in habit or location can breathe new life into your routine.
Find Different Ways to Measure Progress
If you’re beating yourself up over a lack of progress, there’s always one option: focus less on progress. That might seem antithetical to the whole idea of getting over the plateau, but when your progress is limited, don’t let your progress limit you. Instead, find motivation in other areas.
For instance, there might be other metrics you can measure instead. You can even find encouragement in how regularly you work on your goals. Sometimes, putting your focus into the process–rather than your progress alone–can be just as rewarding, and you might not even realize when you’ve gotten back into your groove.
[Image via Getty]