We propose potential-based analyses for first-order algorithms applied to constrained and composite minimization problems. We first propose ``idealized'' frameworks for algorithms in the strongly and non-strongly convex cases and argue based on a potential that methods following the framework achieve the best possible rate. Then we show that the geometric descent (GD) algorithm by Bubeck et al.\ as extended to the constrained and composite setting by Chen et al.\ achieves this rate using the potential-based analysis for the strongly convex case. Next, we extend the GD algorithm to the case of non-strongly convex problems. We show using a related potential-based argument that our extension achieves the best possible rate in this case as well. The new GD algorithm achieves the best possible rate in the nonconvex case also. We also analyze accelerated gradient using the new potentials. We then turn to the special case of a quadratic function with a single ball constraint, the famous trust-region subproblem. For this case, the first-order trust-region Lanczos method by Gould et al.\ finds the optimal point in an increasing sequence of Krylov spaces. Our results for the general case immediately imply convergence rates for their method in both the strongly convex and non-strongly convex cases. We also establish the same convergence rates for their method using arguments based on Chebyshev polynomial approximation. To the best of our knowledge, no convergence rate has previously been established for the trust-region Lanczos method.