When we want something, we tend to want it now.

Whether it is a bigger house, a better car, or a ripped body, as human beings we are not known for our patience.

However, as you no doubt know, things don’t always happen at the speed that we want them to – which can lead to a lot of discouragement and frustration, especially if we don’t have appropriate expectations.

And the cold, hard truth is that building a lean, muscular body is not something that happens overnight.

Yes, I know there are people (read: charlatans) who tell you that you can get ripped and jacked in 30 days, but they are lying to you.

It takes a little longer than that, and the specific amount of time it will take you depends a lot on where you are at the moment and where you’re looking to get to.

There is no quick fix; it takes focus and continuous effort.

For this reason, it is important to internalize the concept of baby steps, and get comfortable with taking them.

That is, understanding that building a body that you’re happy with is the result of lots of small decisions and little improvements that you make each day.

They all add up – and with this article I’m going to show you how it can all come together.

Your Workouts

When you walk into a gym, and you see a guy benching a lot of weight, it might seem like an impossibility that you’ll ever get there too.

Like he was always like that, or was unfairly gifted with a genetic propensity for lifting heavy things that skipped you over.

But you can get really strong – and you will – if you apply the right mindset and focus on making small improvements each time you go to the gym.

You see, no one that lifts a lot of weight got there overnight. Every single one of these guys did it by focusing on consistent improvements – lifting a little bit more weight each and every week.

This is known as progressive overload – a concept which I’ve spoken about many times before.

At the end of the day, it is all about adding more weight to the bar, slowly but surely.

And if you put your ego aside, and focus on making steady improvements each time you go the gym, instead of just lapsing into complacency and lifting the same amount you always do, you will get bigger and stronger over time.

Your Diet

Making changes to your diet isn’t easy.

In fact, if you’ve been eating a certain way for awhile, it can be extremely tough to shift how you eat day-to-day.

Our eating habits have often developed over years – if not decades – of eating a certain way, and it isn’t realistic to expect that this is going to change over night.

This is one of the reasons why we recommend a flexible dieting approach for our clients, as opposed to telling them that they can never enjoy their favorite foods – or that if they do, they’re somehow cheating.

But as a trainer, I also understand that even a flexible approach to proper nutrition can take some time to adjust to…

You don’t go from a 3000 calorie high carb/fat, low protein diet, to eating 2200 calories and hitting all of your macros perfectly.

It takes time – and, more importantly, it requires a having a level of compassion for yourself.

If you aren’t perfect right away, that’s fine; in fact, it’s to be expected.

White knuckling your way through each day isn’t sustainable – whereas gradually adjusting your diet, bit by bit, week after week, until you are hitting your targets is a lot more realistic.

And so what if it takes you a month or two to be hitting your calorie and macro targets each day. At that point, you’ll have gradually changed your habits, and will find that sticking to such an approach starts to feel a whole lot easier.

Your Results

Now for most guys, the most compelling reason for working out and fixing their diet is looking better.

Yes, health is there too – but seeing tangible, visual changes is what most guys really want.

However, despite what much of the mainstream fitness industry constantly screams at you, these visual changes can definitely take some time to materialize.

Again, this is just how it goes…

This means that if you’re staring in the mirror each day waiting for a ripped Adonis to stare back at you, it can feel a lot like watching paint dry.

So instead of doing this, look for the small indicators of success that tell you you’re on the right path.

Yes, you may want to lose 80 pounds, but instead of focusing on numbers that can seem impossibly large, break it down into a goal of 2 pounds per week for 40 weeks.

“40 weeks, that’s forever” – I hear you thinking…

Well, not really. It’s actually only about 3/4 of a year.

And while you might like to lose those 80 pounds right away, if you go into it wondering why you still look pretty much the same 1 week later, you’re much more likely to get frustrated and throw in the towel.

Whereas if you set your larger goals, break them down into bite-sized pieces, and focus on doing what you need to do to get the scale to move down a couple pounds each week, you will ultimately get to where you want to be.

And I promise that the process will be considerably less stressful for you than if you try to bite off more than you can chew.

Do you find that breaking your goals down helps you to achieve them? Let us know in the comments below.