We are our own worst enemy when it comes to reaching our goals or pushing past our plateaus.

Most people have a hard enough time on a good day getting to the gym and meal prepping, so if we are off our game even a little bit, the pressure that we put on ourselves tends to make us cascade into a downward spiral of lowered self-esteem and sabotage.

What if we are going about it all wrong?

Many clients have come to us lately complaining of feeling guilty about the chips they ate the night before, or angry at themselves because they haven’t made it to the gym this week. We can attribute some of it to the fact that this winter has been a dreary, grey mess, which messes with our vitamin D and causes some seasonal depression, or we can also just let clients know that the defeatist attitude is holding them back from getting anywhere beneficial when it comes to making positive changes to their bodies.

We need to start congratulating ourselves on small victories instead of beating ourselves up for making tiny mistakes. If you eat well for three days, then smash back a few Timbits at a company meeting, don’t let that be the catalyst to a terrible mindset and bad eating choices for the rest of the week. Think of how well you’ve done recently, and don’t let the tiny sugary balls of flavour enter your head again. They weren’t the best choice, but your journey isn’t about perfection, it’s about getting closer to your goals.

Think of it this way; your goals, whether or not they are fitness-based, weight-based, or measurement-based, are buried in a beautiful treasure box deep in the ground. You have to get there. So, you start digging. Some days you will dig with a massive shovel and make great headway. Other days you are left with a spoon. It will be difficult, but no matter what tool you are given for that day, you must keep digging. Even if mentally, you’re only equipped with a spoon.

The point is, you are making progress. The worst thing you can do is to get frustrated and kick dirt back in the hole.

Progress is never usually linear. This also goes for lifting. If your goal is to bench 315lbs, and are just now getting under the bar at 135lbs, you’d better believe that the numbers are going to soar at the start, but as you get closer to 315lbs, you’ll be lucky if you get a fraction of the progress that you did in the beginning.

Just don’t let your mind win. Push through the plateaus knowing that everybody hits a wall at some point, but it’s those that don’t stop pushing forward that persevere.

You train your muscles to get stronger so that they can face heavier resistances the next time you lift, so why not treat your willpower the same way?

If you give in and then feel defeated, you will continue to give in, and that will make it even easier the next time you are faced with making bad food choices.

But if you practice fighting the urge, even after you may have made a few bad choices, then it will get easier and easier to resist the next time – especially once you start to see progress in the gym and your body begins to change to help you get closer to uncovering your buried treasure.