One of the biggest challenges I face as a fitness professional is communicating realistic expectations for achieving fitness goals. We certainly live in a time where results are paramount, and the faster we achieve those results, the better. This doesn't just apply to fitness, but to just about every other area of life. The truth is that real results don't occur without lots of hard work and small steps to achieve the larger goal. A good allusion to this process is how we solve puzzles.
Personally, I don't find puzzles that entertaining. I can, however, appreciate the process that it takes to solve them. Completing the puzzle is the ultimate goal, and you are rewarded by a feeling of accomplishment and hopefully a sweet picture. But to get to that point, a lot of small wins and setbacks had to occur. You can only solve the puzzle one piece at a time, and to even get a connection involves a lot of trial and error.
Starting the thing can be intimidating at first, especially if we are talking about a 500 or 1,000 piece monster. If you persevere, it may take awhile before you see any real progress. From what I gather, there are some strategies to employ to progress faster, but no magic tricks to solve forty pieces all at once. In the end, someone's ability to keep hammering away, piece by piece, will determine whether or not they get to the end.
If you have found yourself applying the above concepts to how you approach your fitness goals, great. If you struggle to see the connection between the two, you may have to reevaluate your approach to fitness. Real success in the gym and kitchen does not come quickly, but rather in many small “pieces” over a longer period of time than most of us want to accept. The key from my perspective is to find enjoyment in this long process towards a result, so much that the result becomes more of a signpost rather than the sole motivator. The more you can enjoy putting two pieces together, the more likely you will stick it out and solve the whole puzzle.