What "progress" really looks like!

Bailey Paull-BairdBailey Paull-Baird Member, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

Hey guys,

I found these awesome graphs in a Precision Nutrition article(https://www.precisionnutrition.com/benefits-of-overindulgence) that I wanted to share as they resonated greatly with me, especially this time of year. See below.

Like it says above "progress" is almost never a linear process. There are ups and downs consistently throughout the journey, especially with something like lifestyle change, and what is most important is that we focus on picking ourselves back up after every set back and that we are moving in a positive direction over time.

I hope this was helpful and a good reminder to focus on looking at your health and fitness goals as a life long journey and to not beat yourself up too much when you have set backs =)



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    Patti ThibodeauPatti Thibodeau Member Rank ✭3✭

    So true Bailey and I especially like that graphic! I’m not perfect at it but I’ve definitely learned to take my set backs in stride better than I used to.

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    Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson Member Rank ✭6✭

    Oh my gosh, @Bailey Paull-Baird thank you for the evening laugh with that first graphic :-) Something about seeing the contrast between "You Suck" and "You Rule" made me smile. The "awesomeness" versus "time" is smile worthy too; wordplay is fun.

    A graphic, for a graphic, sir:

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    Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    This is one of my favorite PN articles! Definitely worth the read. Thanks for sharing!

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
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    Terry LobbTerry Lobb Member, Inward Journey Meditation Group Member Rank ✭5✭

    Love the squiggly chart. It’s so me and so reassuring. Thanks Bailey!!!

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    Mike StackMike Stack Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin
    edited November 2019

    Very well said above from everyone. Progress is such an interesting concept, isn't it? One of the constructs that comes to mind is the Japanese concept of Kaizen, or the idea of continuous improvement. This concept fascinates me both in business and personal growth (which includes fitness and health). The idea that incremental improvement can absolutely occur every day. Eastern cultures tend to adhere to this philosophy much more than Western cultures (both personally and in business), because of that it's no surprise to me that those cultures tend to be healthier than our Western cultures (I realize there are likely other factors, but I think this core belief structure being different is a big part of the difference).

    Fundamentally the concept of continuous improvement can be applied to any aspect of life: business, family, fitness, health, you name it and continuous improvement can play a critical role. Saying that, one thing that is missed quite often I think (and to some extent may even be missed by the graphics posted above) is the role of a "learning opportunity" during the downward inflection points on a progress curve. More specifically I'm talking about the downward trajectory that occurs on Precision Nutrition graphic above (or there very real ones that occur in our lives all too often). Most people at first glance might look at the downward movement as something negative, something that moves one away from their goal. From my perspective I think that is the most "rich" and powerful part of that image. Indeed, it is what happens during those "down" periods of a journey that really make us stronger b/c they force us to learn and question ourselves, our methods, and our beliefs. As the old saying goes "growth comes dressed up failure, and that's why most people miss it." When things are going well you aren't compelled to question anything, when you struggle and fail, you are either forced to question and learn OR give up (here's hoping most people choose the former).

    To tie this all together and pull in the concept of the two graphics above as well as the notion of Kaizen, I'd like everyone to really consider a perspective that focuses on the journey, not the destination. We often here this, but I don't think we internalize what it means. For me what it really means if you focused on the day-to-day learning, problem-solving, and overcoming of daily impediments to achieving your goals. Focus on striving to just learn a little more and do a little better every day, if you do you won't miss the most important part of every journey, which is the learning opportunities you can see and grow from every day. One of AFS' core values is Growth and we say "learn something new every day, teach something new every day." Think what an amazing place the entire world would be if everyone did just that. Enjoy your journey, embrace the experience, life is - indeed - a journey, not a destination.

    Michael E. Stack, BS CFP CSCS*D CPS
    AGENT OF CHANGE, CEO, & Exercise Physiologist

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