I’ve been at a bit of plateau for my weight loss for the past 6 weeks. I’ll lose a pound and gain .6 pounds. Then lose 1.2 and then gain .8 pounds.
It’s incredibly frustrating when you’re trying hard to lose weight and the scale doesn’t seem to budge.
I’ve hit these type of plateaus when it comes to finances, too. You pay off some debt, only to have a car break down. Put some money into savings only to have an emergency trip to the vet. Negotiate lower rates on several monthly bills and then get a notice that your house payment is going up.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or trying to manage your money, a plateau can really slow down your momentum and curb your enthusiasm.
So how can you break through a plateau? How can you make sure that you continue to make progress when it feels like you’re going nowhere?
Take a good hard look at your habits and routines
One of the best ways to break through a plateau is to take some time to reflect on what you’ve been doing. For example, whenever I hit a weight plateau, it’s usually because I’ve gotten sloppy about paying attention to what and how much I am eating. When I can’t seem to reach my financial goals, it’s often because I’ve gotten sloppy about tracking my spending and paying attention to where my money is going. Too many consecutive days of an “I deserve this” attitude can be bad for waistlines and wallets.
Even small changes can start things moving
I’ve also discovered that even the littlest changes can start to have a big impact. Making a pledge to get up from the computer for 10 minutes every hour encourages me to be more active. Making a pledge to use the library instead of buying books on my Kindle makes a big difference in my bottom line. If you never try to break free, you’ll never break through a plateau, so start wiggling your way through.
Celebrate how far you’ve come
Plateaus have a way of turning optimistic folks into dark, brooding pessimists. Whenever this happens to me, I make sure to celebrate how far I’ve come in my journey. The scale might not be moving, but I was able to donate a ton of clothing that didn’t fit me any more. It might not feel like I’m making progress with my finances, but when I look at my savings account and my pantry, I’m reminded that I am doing so much better than I was 10 years ago.
Remember that this, too, shall pass
Remember that plateaus are really just like rest stops on your journey. They’re really a time for you to regroup, recharge, and rethink your strategy on the way to meeting your goals.