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Breaking through Plateaus

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Fitness
So, you are on a plateau. Congratulations for making it to this level. You started out and made big strides. Pretty exciting going from peak to peak huh? That upward progress is very exhilarating, especially when improvement comes so fast. It gets you to thinking you are going to have this thing down and licked in no time flat. Yeah, how about that! Then, your constant rise peters put and the ascent turns flat. Well what do you know about that!

It is something everyone should expect as the natural course of things. You have a sharp learning curve when starting out in anything new. After a while, when you have got some of the simpler basics under your belt you might be saying "where do I go from here" or "I know what I should be able to do next, but I just cannot get the knack of it."

Growth comes in stages. From the moment of conception we grow exponentially as our cells split and multiply. Still, it will take 9 months until we are born, another year before we are able to walk, and another 15 years before we are able to drive a car on the road. If we kept growing in size at the rate we did when in the womb we would be able to swallow that car!

Take dieting as an example. You lose a lot of pounds on the first week, so you expect to lose the same amount the next week and the week after that, but that is not the way it works. As time goes on you do not lose as much as fast. The important thing is, you are going in the right direction and that you do not gain back what you lost. Rather than being drastic about dieting, strive for lasting benefit through a lifestyle change of more exercise and healthier eating.

No doubt you have thought and maybe even said out loud as a kid that you cannot wait until you grow up. Problem is that it seems to take forever. You think you are in a plateau but fact is that growth is happening, just not as fast as you want it.

Do not worry about it. Just have fun, get the proper education, listen to and emulate those who have successfully traveled your path, do what you need to do to have what you want to have, and enjoy the place you are at right now. Often times we are progressing and do not even know it, and even when we see no results on the outside, there may be plenty of incubation going on inside. Hurrying things along faster than their normal course may do more harm than good, like when you rip a cocoon off a butterfly, it will die.

Imagination is one way to break through your plateau before you even break through your plateau. Visualize and feel with vivid emotion the ideal you want to accomplish just as if you have actually accomplished it, and do it as a daily meditation until the actual outcome is obtained. That is a very good habit that will lay the mental paving ground for you. Mindset, clarity, attitude, and motivation are what will break you through your plateau posthaste.

The thing to remember is not to give up, that perfect practice makes perfect, and every stage that that practice brings us to is perfect. Development often unfolds when we least expect it, thus making it a cause for celebration. Surprise! You have broken through your plateau!

What happens after that, will be another plateau. That should be no surprise. With discipline and maybe a little obsession, you go from one plateau to another. Sometimes in order to reach the next plateau you need to be innovative and try new things. That oftentimes is how records are broken. But warning: if you are an athlete do not take steroids - it has bad consequences for both your health and your career. Your goal should be to master the game, not cheat at it.