Often times we find ourselves putting in the hours, the effort and tend to feel like it still might not yield the outcome we are looking for. We are so narrowly focused on one definition of being successful that we may not realize that after all this, progress is progress.

In physical fitness, it’s quite simple to set outcome goals. Achievable standards as a measure of numbers, or metrics. For example, one of the most common: establishing a “goal weight” for one’s self. Now, while this may give a measurable standard, does it always tell the story of the process it took to get there? More importantly, does it yield a standard for good health? Only partially.

There is a much bigger picture to becoming “physically fit” aside from the scale weight that reads our weight of mass against gravity. One might consider photographs, where they appear healthier on the surface–how their clothes fit their body, the shape of their build, the glow of their skin. Using tools (like the InBody 270) to analyze the change in body composition–how our bodies are composed with regards to fat, muscle and water–can also give us another marker of progress in our efforts to improve health. Internally, we may be able to measure health with better digestion, improved sleep quality, and further, with blood work metrics from our doctors.

Many of these outlets broaden the story we begin to tell about our daily investments towards better health, and it doesn’t stop there.

What about the ideas you have about your efforts? Ask yourself if you are proud of the work you are putting in each day to be a better version of yourself–most likely, the answer is yes if you are reading this article right now! Did you always feel this way about your habits and lifestyle, or was this something you made progress with along the way?

During the long stretch of winter, it can be easy to want to throw in the towel towards what you’ve been working on all year long. However, just remember that progress is progress, and even if you need to pause and reflect on what that looks like, or how you have created change towards self-improvement over the past few weeks or months, take some time to do so.