Article first published as One of the Most Powerful Things You Can Do To Ensure Success in Your Fitness Program on Technorati.
One of the most powerful things you can do to ensure success with any kind of weight reduction, fitness, or self-improvement program, is to keep a journal.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as a coil-bound notebook, or even loose papers that you place into a folder or notebook. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate, either. In fact, the less elaborate, the simpler, the better. If it’s too complicated, you’ll stop using it.
In this journal or notebook, you record your activity, what you ate, perhaps what you weighed (once a week). You might also write down (and re-write each week) what your goals are.
For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, write it down. Then make it even more specific by placing a deadline on it. “I will lose 20 pounds by March 31st, 2011.” With a deadline, you can then work backwards to determine where you need to be in relation to your goal, each month and each week.
Use each week’s goal as a driving force as you plan your week ahead. Then do the workouts, and follow the eating plan, which help you toward that goal.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So simple that it probably isn’t a big deal.
Not so fast, though.
I read somewhere (seemingly eons ago, so this is not new information) that recording in a journal is highly correlated with success.
Not just success in losing weight, or achieving high levels of fitness…success in all areas of life, including financial, personal relationships, self-development, and so forth.
I’m not sure what it is about writing something down that supports, perhaps even propels, a person to greater levels of effort and, ultimately, success.
I’m sure the simple act of measuring what you are doing and where you are in relation to your goal has a lot to do with the power of keeping a record. You may be able to delude yourself from day to day — but reality is all there in black and white in your notebook.
Perhaps it’s the embarrassment of having nothing to fill in if you have not done the tasks or items you planned to do on a given day.
It may also be the wonderful sensation you feel when you record something you have accomplished. If you keep a “to-do” list, you know what I mean. There’s something really satisfying about scratching some pesky item off your list.
Several weeks ago, as I was cleaning out closets, I rummaged through a couple of boxes I had not looked at in about five years. I found an old spiral-bound notebook that I had used as a training and nutrition log some years back.
It’s funny, but I never looked through the log or looked at previous entries during the time I was using it. But looking through it now, some years later, I could actually remember what I was doing and how I felt at that time.
As I flipped through the notebook, I could see the periods when I was making great progress, as well as the periods when I was not doing so well. During the periods in which I was making progress, there was consistency in the regularity of activity recorded, as well as in progress being made. On the other hand, the not-so-great times corresponded to more days with blanks in them, or written notes about what got in the way of my training. Some of the excuses I came up with were very entertaining!
You may already journal on a regular basis. If not, I highly recommend it. You can keep a record of just about anything in your life. It’s a great way of keeping yourself on track and focused.
It’s also a great way of memorializing the stresses, failures, advances and victories you encounter along your journey in life.
This practice can keep you on track today. And, with the perspective of time, it can make for some good reading in the future.
You Can Do It!
Karen Van Ness
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Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011