Not everyone is interested in trying a journal, and keeping a journal is itself a habit to be created. But, there are benefits of tracking your daily achievements – and setbacks. Monitoring your progress over time can be a motivator to keep going, and a way to see why you’ve gotten off track.
A journal can consist of a regular notebook, stapled together paper, a boughten or printable calendar, something the size to easily carry on your person or in a vehicle or briefcase, or something larger. Something specific to journaling or not. It can be the notes function on your phone, an app you enjoy, etc. When I conduct my weight management psychotherapy groups I give everyone, men and women, a variety of different types and sizes of notebooks/journals to choose from. Journaling is not just for women, for any men out there who may think so!
Journaling can keep you consistent, and forces you to take the time to slow down, focus, and process your thoughts and the what, why, how, when, where of this journey. You can look back on your journal to consider how things are going, where changes need to be made, evaluate your overall wellness, and develop greater self-awareness. When you reward yourself for all of this hard work, a huge part is self-praise and a “great job self!” Keeping a journal is a visual reminder of that hard work, and gives you something to look back on and be proud of. Even if you are feeling down and you aren’t meeting your goals, your journal is a reminder you are trying, and continuing to try is of ultimate importance with weight loss. Your journal can also help you track progress for those tangible rewards you’ve decided to give yourself along the way.
Things to journal about…
- Plan your day/week/month in advance.
- Write down goals and how you will achieve them.
- Write down each day your exercise and nutrition.
- Track your sleep.
- Looking back on sleep habits, and identifying patterns may help you learn to adapt your sleep – or adapt your routine to catch up for lack of sleep.
- Poor sleep can be caused by too few calories, working out too close to bedtime, excessive caffeine, overwhelming emotions, stress, etc.
- Pay attention to how all of these relate.
- Write down emotions/thoughts/situations each day, or each time you eat.
- This will help you begin monitoring how your emotions impact your behavior (meal choices, whether you exercise, negative habits such as alcohol).
- Other situational factors are known hormone fluctuations, such as that-time-of-the-month, which truly impact weight loss efforts periodically.
- Monitoring this can help you stay centered, about your progress and emotionally to stay on track.
- Write down motivational quotes and messages.
- Write down a daily positive self-statement.
- Take some time to consider where you are at in life, how do you feel day-to-day?
- Are there things you continually wish you could change?
- Do you have fears/worries about your future?
- Are you continually feeling unhappy or like you are not meeting your potential?
Allowing yourself the time to sit down and self-evaluate is so important to overall wellness. Until we take the time to think about ourselves, our lives, our wellness, we will stay stuck where we are or cycle backward after each effort for change. Really work to understand yourself on this journey and success will be more likely!