When you're just starting out on a journey, any journey, there's a setback that usually gets to most people. "Looking Up".
That's the best way I've heard it described by Mr. Idris Elba (the actor whom I didn't know was from England until he spoke out of character). Any-who, the point that was made is that in order to achieve something great or get to uncharted territories, your mind can either make or break you. You have to get out of the habit of comparison and over-assessing. Instead of looking up too often to assess how far you need to go, how far ahead someone else is, or how long you've been working at it, put your head down and Just Keep Swimming.
I've come in contact with many different people from all different backgrounds that have become clients. When assessing goals, there's usually 2 separate categories most want to attain through training: Gain Weight or Lose Weight.
Both categories take proper nutrition, programming, effort, consistency, sleep, and dedication in order to attain. However, there's also other factors including genetics, sex, stress, age, career, family, and other variables that will have an affect on your results.
I've been there in my own fitness journey. You put in work at the gym, you eat healthier than you have in your whole life, you run until your feet burn, then you go on the scale or look in the mirror and your results don't seem to add up to your efforts. Meanwhile your friend, or some person you know of, enjoys bagels every morning, beers at night, goes to spin class twice a week, and wakes up with washboard abs. IT'S INFURIATING...I know. However, when you assess yourself too often or compare what's happening with others, you lose focus, you become stressed, and you end up slowing down the process.
This is where putting your head down comes into play. Let's say you had to swim across a huge body of water. You felt like you were swimming for days when in actuality it wasn't that long. You looked up and realized you can't even see a spec of land. You become demoralized. Your mindset goes from "let's do this", "i got this" to "what's the