When was the last time you sat down and really thought about how you’re feeling when it comes to your health and wellness – the actions you’re taking, where you’re headed and what your big (and small!) goals are?
I’ve got a tip for you today that I personally find to be helpful, especially when it comes to healthy eating!
It’s an idea I borrowed from the field of education: it’s called reflective journaling, and while it’s meant to help students track what they’re learning (and how they feel about it!), it can be an awesome tool to track your fitness and wellness.
Basically, it’s like a food/workout log – except you record your ideas, thoughts, feelings, wins, and challenges as you create healthy new habits and try new things.
Journaling can be especially helpful when it comes to sticking with new habits, because writing things down can give you some clues as to why some habits “stick” more easily than others.
Journals work best when you write in them at regular intervals – daily or weekly – so you have a record to look back on to see what worked (and what needs work).
Your don’t have to make a lot of rules about what goes into your journal, and your entries don’t have to long involved writing projects. Even better, they can be short and sweet!
For instance, you might include workout information, whether you feel tired/energized, whether your eating is on track, any new recipes/foods you’ve tried, how you feel after eating certain foods, your mood/level of enthusiasm, etc.
Not only will your journal be a part of your support system and hold you accountable, it’ll give you a record of what’s going well, and what needs attention. Over time, you will notice patterns.
Tim Ferris (author and entrepreneur) journals every single day.
In fact, I remember reading in one of his books that he said something to the effect of (I’m paraphrasing here) If I want to look or feel like I did when I was 25, I could because I know exactly what I ate, what my workout was, and how I felt.
That’s REALLY powerful to be able to do that. Plus, once you’ve been keeping a journal for a while, it is fun to look back over progress. You get to see the new activities you’ve tried and the goals you’ve achieved.
I do have one suggested “rule” for your journal: Let it be a positive and empowering tool. You can use it to coach yourself with positive reinforcement vs. nagging at yourself for missing a workout.
Basically, talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend. It goes a long way toward helping you uncover the underlying things that motivate you.
Getting into journaling is a habit in itself – I recommend setting aside a couple minutes at a regular time every day to jot down your entries. The end of the day is a good time, because you’ll have perspective to “wrap up” your day.
Or, if you are writing weekly, Sunday is a good day to review your previous week and set goals for the coming week.