Learn how I stick to my fitness goals using a Fitness Journal to keep me on track and hold me accountable for workouts and healthy eating!
I feel kind of cliche writing this post at the beginning of January. I mean, literally everyone is talking about goals these days, and for many people, the health and fitness category is near the top of that list. But so many people have it there because it is important, so I thought I'd share a little bit of my own story and how I've managed to make fitness more of a priority.
My Health Story
I've always enjoyed fitness, but for years and years, it seemed like when life got busy, working out was the first thing to go. (Which is ironic, because exercise helps me feel less stressed and getting my endorphins going helps me to be more productive!)
Last year I turned 34, and all of a sudden, I realized that my next birthday would be 35. (Because I can count... ?) 35 is kind of significant in its own right, but for me, 35 holds even more meaning.
You see, my grandmother died of breast cancer when she was 35. When I was 20, after my mom had had her own battle with breast cancer (And won, thankfully!), we found out that my mom, sister, and I had the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which made all three of us extremely prone to breast and ovarian cancer.
So when I was 30, I had a preventative mastectomy and reconstruction to reduce my risk. And when I was 33, I had another surgery to reduce my risk of ovarian cancer. Even with these preventative measures though, there has always been something somewhat intimidating to me about age 35.
So shortly after I turned 34 and began feeling like 35 was right around the corner, I decided that I needed to find some way to stick to a fitness routine more consistently.
I feel like I have been so blessed with the gift of health thanks to knowledge and technology that we now have that wasn't around when my grandma was diagnosed, and I want to make sure that I am taking care of myself as best as I can.
For me it wasn't an issue of knowing what I should do. I had plenty of exercise programs at my disposal. I knew which foods to eat to help me feel my best. But actually showing up every day and sticking to it? That was the trickier part. I needed a way to keep myself accountable.
Creating a Fitness Journal
The solution that has always worked for me when I am trying to start a new habit or get into a new routine is to become an active part of the process by physically writing down (on paper!) my goals and plans. Then I track or log my progress each day so I have a record of how I'm doing, which motivates me to keep going.
This could be done in a regular notebook, but I knew the more I had it all organized and laid out in a way that was easy to follow, the more likely I would be to stick with it, so I created a Fitness Journal.
The first thing I wanted to make sure I did to hold myself accountable was set specific goals. For me, it wasn't as much about numbers on the scale as much as it was about developing healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle that I would stick to for the long term.
I used a simple goal setting page at the front of my journal to write down my thoughts and ideas to give me a starting point, a sort of compass for where I wanted to be headed.
Coming Up with My Workout Plan
I am admittedly a bit of a home fitness junkie. While Donnie is all about heading for the gym, I prefer to roll out of bed, go to my office, and flip on a workout "video." (Is it still called a "video" if it is digital on my computer screen?!)
One of the reasons I like working out at home is that with programs like the ones from Beachbody or Kayla Itsines, there is often a set plan to follow-- no guessing or trying to figure out the best way to go about it.
Once I decide on a workout plan to do, I like to take monthly calendars and write out which workout I'm going to do each day. Again, this is so there is no guessing. I walk into my office each morning, check the calendar, and that's the workout I put on. The less decisions I have to make, the more likely I am to stick with my plan.
Another thing I like about using the monthly calendar to plan my workouts is that I get to cross off each one when I've completed it! It's silly maybe, but once I get a string of Xs going, I really don't want to break my streak, so it motivates me to keep going.
Keeping Track of Progress on Stats Pages
The next type of page I worked into my Fitness Journal were pages to track my stats. Progress isn't always measured by the number on the scale. Sometimes measurements can show improvements. Sometimes pictures are a fun way to see a difference. And other times how I feel is really telling. So I incorporated all of those measurements onto my stats page.
I use the "notes" section to write down how I'm feeling, what I feel like has been going well, and areas where I can improve. I included a stats page at the beginning of my journal, at the 30, 60, and 90 day marks, a blank one where I can write in any day, and a before/after stats page where I can make a direct comparison.
Daily Tracking Pages for Ultimate Accountability!
Finally, I created daily tracking pages, which for me is where the real accountability happens. On these pages, I have space to track my workouts (including reps and weights if I'm lifting).
I also can write down what I'm eating each day (I know if I have to write it down, I'm more likely to make good choices!) and/or track the number of servings in each food group. Finally, I have a notes section to write down how I feel, what went well, or what I can improve.
I have these daily sheets numbered 1-90, but then I also included some pages where the number is blank so I can add on if I need to.
I've been sticking to my workout plan on a consistent basis since this past August at this point, and tracking and holding myself accountable have played a major role in helping me stick to it!
Rather than 35 being an intimidating number this coming June, I'm looking forward to hitting that milestone with hope and confidence that I'm making the healthiest choices I can, despite what genetics has going against me!
If you'd like to learn more about my Fitness Journal or snag it for yourself in 3 fun designs, you can do so by heading here! I'm excited to see you reach your own health and fitness goals in the coming year!