Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Unlock the Power of Perseverance: 3. Seek ways to see progress


One of the most powerful motivators for perseverance is seeing progress on a regular basis. Bar none, this is an incredibly important point to consider if you want to persevere and make exercise a part of your life.

When you are able to see small successes on a regular basis it really drives you to keep going. Many people set goals like losing 25 lbs. or being able to bench press 350 lbs. in a specific amount of time. Usually the time period they set is very short. For many people it's a big obstacle to tackle. For some it may seem insurmountable at first. In many cases interest is lost very quickly because it takes too long for the goal to be accomplished. As a result you give up.

Back in Chapter 7, I discussed how to get motivated with exercise by having a vision and setting goals. This process helps you regularly see progress. Here is a recap of what I talked about and how it can be valuable in helping you persevere.

Set goals like simply being able to increase the amount of weight you lift while strength training during the course of one or two weeks. Similarly, for cardiovascular training, set a goal to increase the amount of time you spend on the machine by a couple minutes each week. Record your workouts so you visually see the progress being made. Another simple way to see progress is to just be consistent with your exercise program. It may mean that you exercise twice per week for three months straight. Write down each time you exercise in your daily planner or on a calendar at home. This way you see the consistency in your effort.

It's little things like this I guarantee will make all the difference in the world. Heck, who isn't motivated when progress is constantly being seen? Paul J. Meyer, self-improvement guru and author of Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul, says, "Plan your progress carefully; hour-by-hour, day-by-day, month-by-month. Organized activity and maintained enthusiasm are the wellsprings of your power."

Progress can also be seen by getting frequent basic fitness assessments. You can get these at your local health club or have a personal trainer do it for you. The assessments can include body fat percentage, circumference measurements, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, and aerobic capacity (a measure of your stamina). Have these assessments checked every couple of months.

Finally, you can go to your local hospital and get several medical assessments. These may include blood pressure, full lipid panel (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides), blood sugar, bone density, or a stress test to measure your cardiovascular health. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis, I would highly recommend you do this. Consult with your physician to find out how often you should get these checked. The results that come from improvements in these tests are probably ones you will not feel and certainly not see. However, without question they are the most important because they address potentially life-threatening medical issues.

If you set goals that are too big you will get discouraged while trying to achieve them. Persevering without progress is difficult. The best way to persevere is to find ways to seek continuous progress.