Track your progress
Yesterday I mentioned that one of the main reasons why people don’t accomplish their goals, like their goal of being able to do a pull up, is because they don’t track their progress.
And most people know they should keep track. But they don’t.
They don’t track their progress because it takes energy and time. Of course, in the end, it really takes way less time to outline and track a program than it does to flounder around for months with no clear idea of how to reach your goal, but whatever…right?
Just keep floundering and not tracking. Just keep wondering why you haven’t hit your goal even though you’ve been working hard trying all these diets and spending long hours in the gym.
Really is spending a few minutes each day keeping a food log or recording weights and reps really that awful? Is it really that big a pain in the butt?
Is it really harder/more time-consuming/more frustrating than not reaching your goal?
And I’m not saying it isn’t annoying. Because guess what? It kind of is…but it is also probably the single best thing you can do to keep yourself moving forward toward your goal.
If you don’t track your progress, you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. There are so many different workout variables out there you need to consider when creating a program (intensity, duration of workout, rest periods, type of exercises, number of exercises, reps, sets, weights, body parts worked, movement patterns worked…). And if you don’t track which types of each thing you used, how can you possibly know what helped your or hindered your progress?
You won’t know.
You won’t know if you get better results with shorter workouts. You won’t know whether or not 5 or 15 reps works better for you. You won’t know what helped you finally do that pull up…or what kept you from even getting close!
You also won’t know if you’ve gotten closer to your goal until you’ve hit it.
And if you don’t hit it soon enough, you may give up because you don’t FEEL like you’ve gotten any closer.
I mean how many times have you started on a goal only to give up because you’ve spent time working toward your goal only to feel like you haven’t gotten any closer?
Probably more often than you’d care to admit.
BUT if you’d tracked your workouts and diet and TRACKED YOUR PROGRESS, you would have concrete evidence showing that you are closer to your goal now than when you started even if you don’t necessarily FEEL closer because you aren’t there yet.
Often we get down on ourselves and FEEL like we haven’t made progress just because we aren’t exactly where we would want to be.
But when we’ve tracked our progress, we can remind ourselves of all our hard work and show ourselves all of the victories we’ve had no matter how small. And even those small victories can be enough to keep us motivated.
No matter how we FEEL we can’t argue with concrete progress. And even when we feel down, seeing those results, seeing that progress toward our goal, will keep us moving forward.
It is way easier to give up when we don’t see any forward momentum.
Whether or not you admit it…seeing even the smallest victory can be motivating.
Heck, even the victory of TRACKING can be motivating. You want to give yourself small things each day that you can easily ACCOMPLISH and keeping a food log or recording your numbers is just such a task.
Tracking, while we complain that it is hard and time-consuming, really isn’t. It truly is a “low barrier to entry” task that you can do in a matter of minutes. It is a small, easy task that you can do each day which gets you moving in the right direction.
When we ACCOMPLISH things, even small, easy tasks, we feel successful. And when we feel successful, we feel MOTIVATED to continue working hard toward our goals.
And the final, and probably MOST IMPORTANT REASON, why you should track your diet and exercise programs is because you don’t see yourself, your habits and your daily activities clearly and you don’t hold yourself accountable for what you are actually doing.
I’m sorry…but you don’t.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone tell me they are eating well only to retract their statement when they actually keep a food log.
They aren’t aware of how often they take “just one bite.” They aren’t aware of how often they DON’T actually have fruits or vegetables with their meals. They aren’t aware of how quickly “handfuls,” “bites,” “pieces” added up.
They aren’t aware.
Tracking makes us aware and makes us hold ourselves accountable.
It makes us aware of what works and what doesn’t. It makes us aware of our progress, even the smallest of victories. It makes us aware that we are doing things each day that move us closer and closer to success.
So if you’ve been struggling to reach your goals, if you’ve given up on goals more than you’d care to remember, maybe you should start tracking your progress with food and workout logs….