For most of us, feeling a sense of progress and accomplishment when we start a new fitness routine, comes down to noticing a change in the way we look. We take a look in the mirror, and measure our results by what we see.

The mirror is only telling us a small part of the story though.

Having been a fitness and mindset coach for many years, I can tell you that there are plenty of other signs to show that you’re making progress. By focusing on these signs, instead of allowing the mirror to be the only gauge of your progress, you can keep yourself motivated to stick to your fitness journey.

Here are my top 5 signs that you’re making progress, even when you can’t SEE it.

Stronger and tighter muscles
The first sign, is a feeling that your muscles are getting stronger and tighter, even though you can’t see much difference in muscle definition. This is something that I see so often in my new clients during their first few months with me. I will notice that although they’re not defined yet, the muscles around their arms, shoulders and legs are tighter and stronger. I often point this out to them, and encourage them to keep going, because the next step is that definition they’ve been looking for.

Looser clothing
The second thing you will notice, is that your clothes are just a little looser, especially around the legs and waist. You may not be able to see a difference in the way you look, but you’ll notice that you’ll be tightening your belt a notch or two around your waist, or feeling like your pants are a little looser around your thighs.

More energy
Another sure sign that you’re making great progress,, is waking up each morning feeling energized, and with a clear mind. My clients often tell me that this is one of the best benefits of exercising for them. A feeling of vitality, and confidence that you can handle whatever the day brings,is one of the most exciting benefits of a weight loss journey.

Better quality sleep
People who work out consistently, are known to fall asleep faster, and to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep, than those who don’t. It’s my experience that exercise helps to move energy through the body, reduces stress, and clears the mind. This means that falling asleep and staying asleep, becomes much easier when you exercise.

Brighter, healthier skin
This benefit you can actually see in the mirror, but it’s not one you would expect to look for when your focus is on changing your body shape. Thanks to the improved circulation from your new exercise routine, your skin shines brighter and looks healthier, giving you a natural glow that’s hard to beat.

If you’re eager for your new fitness routine to deliver results, I encourage you to take note of these five less visible benefits, and to realize that you ARE making progress. Make these five benefits the goals of your new fitness journey, rather than putting your focus on how you look in the mirror, and you’ll find yourself feeling more motivated and energized by your progress.