Have you ever set yourself goals only to find that you don't achieve them? If you have, you can rest easily knowing you're not the only one. Many of us at some point in our lives aim to make changes to our lifestyle, only to find life gets in the way of achieving the desired outcome.
If you're serious about achieving your goals, keeping an achievements diary can help. According to nutrition and fitness expert Caitlin Reid, it's one of the most important things you can do to help you succeed in achieving your goals.
How does tracking work?
Keeping an achievement diary creates awareness about your habits and makes you accountable for your actions. It helps you determine when your problem moments are; what drives you to choose certain foods; and what barriers stop you from exercising. Achievement diaries are also great for tracking your progress and keeping you focused on accomplishing your goals.
What format should be used?
Find a format that works best for you. If you sit at a computer all day you may want to record your progress with Excel or even the Calendar Tool on the Shape Mate website. However, if you’re on the go all the time, a computer-based recording system is not going to be a practical way for you to track your progress. Instead, try carrying around notebook and recording your achievements that way. Choose a notebook that is not too big making it too hard carry around, but not too small that it prevents you from recording everything you need to.
Recording eating habits
Write down the types of food you eat, the quantity of food consumed, the time you eat, who you eat with and don't forget to include the beverages you consume too. Be truthful and don't leave anything out. Try to identify any hidden food triggers e.g. do you turn to food when you are stressed, as well as looking for any problematic eating patterns.
Recording exercise levels
Just like the food you eat, record all the exercise you do too. Record how long you exercise for, your exercise intensity, the weight you lift, the sets and reps you complete, and your motivation levels. Try to identify any barriers that prevent you from exercising and then develop strategies to overcome these obstacles. This will enable you to determine the best way to fit exercise into your life.