Episode 62 – Why Journal Writing Beats Willpower For Fitness Results
Journal writing is good for everyone (not just children).
In order to maximize your health and wellness, you need to manage your dietary and physical activities closely – and what better way than to document them.
Well, believe it or not, there are two sides to a person the:
- “Doer You” – who lives out your actions continuously day in and day out, and
- “Manager You” – who reflects on those actions that you do throughout the day. Journal writing supports this part of you.
While this may initially seem bizarre, it’s actually quite helpful to view yourself in these ways to improve your health and fitness while still living life to the fullest. The following are specific benefits that journal writing can add to your health and fitness:
1. Help track your progress
There’s two basic ways to track your progress in health and fitness:
- Food journals can allow you to assess nutritional adequacy for a particular day. For example, to see if you’ve had too much protein, too many calories, etc. simply write down your meals from the last 24-hours then utilize a Dietitian or calorie counter guide to study your dietary intake. This will allow you to determine your nutritional adequacy with a clearer outlook than just “winging it” towards your goals.
- Journal your exercise and fitness sessions in an exercise log. For example, if you’d like a clear overview of your weekly fitness program it would be useful to keep a log. Write down information such as, steps made on a certain day and make comparisons to previous weeks. You can also calculate how many calories you’ve lost, or even how much your stamina has increased when you use a journal to record your progress.
What are the two other reasons that make journal writing better than willpower in health and fitness? Read on.
2. Auto-correction mechanism
You won’t want to eat a particular food because you’d be disappointed in writing it down.
In the psychological theory of operant conditioning, there’s a type of negative reinforcement, wherein you’ll avoid eating a certain food in order to NOT have to write about it in your food journal. For example, you’ll pass on an ice cream because your mind is trained to associate it with the disappointment of writing and reading about it later on. If you have a nutrition coach who studies your documented diet, you’ll want to avoid disappointing them as well.
3. Allow you to plan ahead
When you look back on your actions it allows you to plan the next steps going forward. If something works for you, take note of it and remind yourself to continue doing it. Conversely, if something negative affects you, you’ll want to avoid it or replace it in the future. And the best way to remember this – yes journal writing!
For example, you might not notice you’re overtraining in your day-to-day action. However, once you read back on your journal on a weekly basis you might come to realize that you’ve overexerted yourself in resistance training and need to tone it down for a while.
Write it down
It’s always good to be aware of how the “Doer You” acted. Take a few minutes a day to write down what you’ve been doing for your health and fitness. This will not only help track your progress, serve as an auto-correction mechanism and planning tool but it’ll also help you to sleep better as well. Go for it!
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Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.