The Kaizen Principle is extremely simple; small but consistent gains over a long period of time lead to amazing results.
I think with regards to our strength, physique or performance goals, forgetting this is a fatal flaw. Far too often we expect huge leaps in progress in the short-term, only to expect little to no progress in the long-term. You always hear about the guy who makes a 50 pound jump in his squat in 6 weeks - how come you aren't doing that?
Because most of the time it's not possible!
Instead, why don't we focus on the guy who has made small but consistent progress over a long period of time? It may not be as awe-inspiring on the front end, but when you imagine the years of dedication it took to get there, it definitely seems more appealing to me. There's something to be sad for "the grind" - slowly but surely attaining your fitness goals.
A great example is Brad Gillingham. Brad is a 2x World Champion in the sport of powerlifting. Brad often attributes his success to having a long-term plan and sticking to it, come hell or high water. He knows that if he can continually add 20 or 30 pounds every year to his squat, bench or deadlift, by the time he's ready to hang it up he'll be known as one of the best ever. (Although I think that part is already cemented in most people's minds!)
Why is it that certain people look the same year after year? Granted, there are numerous answers to this question, but people like this are the rule versus the exception. What holds them back from progress?
One thing I firmly believe is that not enough people in the world BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES! They are doing the right things: Adequate nutrition, training and recovery. But for whatever reason, they simply don't believe that over the course of time, they are going to succeed or achieve their goals. The saddest fact is this isn't only true in training, but most aspects of their lives. They simply don't believe they can live the life of their dreams.
Make it a focus over the next couple of months to see small but consistent progress in everything you do, but especially with regards to training. Add a couple pounds to the bar. Crank up the intensity on the HIIT. Dial that diet in a little bit more. With some small but consistent progress, you'll start tapping into your long-term potential.
I'll leave you with this quote from the great Winston Churchill - take it to heart and start making progress today!
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
- Sir Winston Churchill