There are many reasons why people fail to achieve their bodybuilding goals. Unfortunately, when goals are missed, many people get frustrated and toss the whole bodybuilding program and never come back to it. However, if you are frustrated with your progress, the best strategy is to regroup, take a look at your training journal (I am assuming you have one), analyze the reason the goals were missed and create new goals.
Perhaps the reason for not reaching your bodybuilding goals was unrealistic expectations. Expecting to gain 30 lbs of solid muscle in 30 days is unrealistic, especially for those of us who are well past our teenage years. Expecting to go from 17 inch arms to 18 inch arms of solid muscle in 2 weeks, is also unrealistic since a 17 inch arm is already pretty developed, and thus, taking it to the next level will take longer. So when you set bodybuilding goals make sure that your goals are realistic as otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.
For beginners, the first and second year you can gain a good 15-20 pounds a year. Teenagers a bit more perhaps and all of this depends on the genetics of the bodybuilder. For more advanced athletes, 1/2 lb to 1 lb of muscle a month is a good gain (6-12 lbs/year). However for really advanced natural bodybuilders, 2-3 lbs per year is a good goal.
With that said, another important thing to realize is how you deal with failure. There were many times during my bodybuilding journey in which I did not achieve the goals I wanted. Regardless of the reasons (and 8 times out of 10 the issue was unrealistic goals), when I failed, I would simply assess the reasons why and just keep moving forward. The way I saw it, I had just lost a battle but not the war. And of course, my philosophy of war is: “No retreat, no surrender!” You need to approach your bodybuilding endeavors with this sort of success mindset.
In closing, if you haven’t achieved the bodybuilding goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, do not get frustrated! Instead, analyze your bodybuilding training and diet plan. Also, make sure that you are getting enough rest because recovery is as important as training and nutrition (hint: it is during rest that you grow). Make sure that you are following everything in your bodybuilding program to the letter. If you are and things are not working, then change your training routine. More than likely, your body has gotten used to your current one.
If you are looking to gain muscle weight, make sure that you are taking in enough nutrients in the form of good carbs, proteins and good fats. If you are looking to lose fat, then make sure that you are creating a slight caloric deficit without starving yourself in order to keep the muscle as you lose the fat. Furthermore, make sure that you are using some way of tracking your progress. Good ways are a combination of methods, like the scale, the skinfold calipers, and the tape measure. Digital pictures are also valuable (and a great motivation tool as well) to help you see your progress over weeks.
Below are some good resources that will help you to achieve your bodybuilding goals:
Failing to Achieve Your Bodybuilding Goals? – Lee Labrada discusses why failure is a process and how it can be used to move forward. He also discusses several reasons for failing to achieve your goals.
Bodybuilding Guide – A comprehensive guide that will set you straight if you need any sort of bodybuilding guidance. Everything is covered: from goal setting, to choosing your training routine, to knowing what diet and supplements program to follow, how much rest you need, and more.