Have you set yourself a health or fitness goal for the year? And, are you tracking your progress?
With any goal, we are far more likely to meet it if we are regularly checking in on our progress, reminding ourselves of how well we’re doing and thinking about how we can improve.
If you have a goal to improve your health or fitness this year, then read on!
In this article I’ll share some tips on setting up your fitness journal to track your progress and help you to stay motivated.
TRACKING YOUR PROGRESS KEEPS YOU FOCUSED AND HELPS YOU STAY MOTIVATED
On the bad days, and the ones you want to give up this can come in really handy!
Recording all those wins, the amount of times you hit the gym, the distance you’ve run, the healthy recipes you have learned, will all make you feel more energised and motivated when you're feeling down.
They remind you of the great work you have already done and all the things you've achieved.
We are brilliant at putting ourselves down. Taking one tiny failure and magnifying it 20x in our heads, feeling dreadful about the whole thing and feeling like we want to crawl under a rock. Sound familiar?
So we want to be ready for when those little things turn up to throw us off course.
One of the best things we can do is record our progress and our wins, so if you’re feeling terrible that you didn’t get up to go for that run this morning then you can be reminded that 8 times in the last two weeks you did. Oh and that three weeks ago, you couldn't run 1k without passing out...
If you feel like you're making progress - you're more likely to keep going and not give up on your goals.
SETTING UP YOUR JOURNAL
All you need is a blank notebook, the beauty of these rather than a pre-made fitness planner is that you can decide what you want to track and set something up that actually works for you.
Our Fitness journals can be personalised and with motivational messages you can be inspired each day to keep going too. Take a look at our personalised running and fitness journals here.
YOUR GOAL AND YOUR 'WHY'
Write on the first page of your book your goal for the year and why you want to achieve it.
You might have heard me talk a lot about this before, but knowing why you have the goal to become fitter or eat healthier is really important. This bigger reason will keep you focused and motivated – especially on the days you want to give up!
The more you want something, the harder you'll work for it.
Uncovering your why
If you want to uncover your why, these are some good questions to ask yourself.
- How will meeting this goal make you feel? More energised? Happier or more confident?
- How will it effect the people around you? If you are more energised can you be be more present around your family and friends?
- How could meeting this goal have a wider impact? Are you taking part in a charity run? In that case meeting your goal will have wider benefits than just you.
You can also visualise what it will look like when you meet this goal to feel more connected to it - for example imagining yourself running down by the Thames, completing your charity bike ride or fitting into that fab red dress in the wardrobe.
You can read more about visualising your goals and connecting to your why in this article on goal planning.
SET MEASURABLE MILESTONES (AND REWARDS)
If you have your goals for the year, break them down into measurable milestones you can use to work towards. You can also write these down on the first few pages.
These could cover, distance run, weight goals, new recipes learned, classes attended. Make them relevant to your goal and something you will consistently measure against.
As an extra incentive, you can add rewards for your achievements when you reach certain points. That handbag you've had your eye on, some new fancy Sweaty Betty leggings... something to treat yourself!
DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO TRACK
Come up with 3 to 4 key metrics you want to track each day. These will be the things that in the long term, you can track your progress against. Here are some ideas..
- Gym sessions
- How you feel after a workout (dying, ok, great!)
- Distance run
- Veggies eaten in a day
- Hours of sleep
- Water drunk
With a plain notebook, you can choose fun ways to track these too - think little glasses of water to tick off each day or gold stars for when you hit the gym.
PICK HABITS TO FOCUS ON FORMING
Habits will help you to reach your goals, for example getting up an hour earlier to go to the gym, bringing healthy lunches into work, not checking your phone after 9:30pm to help you wind down for sleep.
These are all habits which can help you reach your health goals.
Pick a few habits that you are going to focus on each few months. It can take 66 days to form a habit according to research, so pick a few to work on.
Becoming aware of habits that aren't serving you or are sabotaging your efforts are important to pick up on too. For example, if you're trying to eat better and are great at eating well during the week, but tend to go off the rails at a weekend - look at how you can avoid that. Making sure you have healthy meals planned for the weekend or if you're eating out piking restaurants with healthy options can help!
Sometimes the best way to break a bad habit is just to form new, better ones.
BECOME MORE DISCIPLINED BY FILLING IN YOUR JOURNAL EACH DAY
Self discipline is something you can practice – and simply filing in your journal each day is a great way to build this up into your daily routine too.
Having more self discipline will help you when it comes to sticking to going to the gym or eating better generally too.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN ADD IN TO YOUR JOURNAL
- Make a fancy graph to track your progress
- Write up the healthy recipes you discover
- Add your meal plans for the week and shopping list to make sure you are eating well
- Write in a daily mantra you discover to keep you motivated
- Journal about how your new healthy habits are making you feel - more energised, happier - this helps to build evidence that what you're doing is bringing you benefits
And finally.... always be kind to yourself! No matter where you are on your fitness journey you are doing brilliantly!
Here we are using one of our flamingo paper clips to track running progress. These lovely flamingo paper clips will be available soon!