Updated: May 29
Journaling is an age-old practice. People journal to clear their minds, keep track of life events, and even understand their dreams! But journaling can be a useful tool in you fitness journey as well. Below are a few great ways that keeping a journal can benefit you and help you along your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Why Keep A Journal?
Writing Can Be Amazing for Your Health. It's a release of your daily stress and uses a part of your brain you may no longer use in your daily life- it requires some creativity. Sitting with a blank page means making something out of nothing and that can be a challenge for some people!
It Keeps a Log For You To Look Back and See Your Progress. It can serve as a reminder of past victories, mistakes you have made, accomplishments you are proud of, or great moments you want to remember.
It Can Set You Up For The Future. If you look back at the past year of accomplishments at work it may help you identify patterns of things you want to pursue in the future because you enjoyed them so much. And these great moments may also help boost your self esteem when you need it. Maybe you enjoyed an exercise that promoted weight loss and it fell by the wayside. When you review that it will remind you to start that exercise again.
You Need a Journal. Feel free to choose literally anything bound with paper that works for you. I have used everything from spiral bound notebooks to fancier leather books. I really only have two criteria for what I write in- it must have lines (who is talented enough to write without lines to keep everything straight?) and it needs to be a decent size. If it fits in my back pocket it's not big enough for my crazy handwriting.
This Strength and Dignity Handy-sized LuxLeather Journal - Proverbs 31:25 was the closest thing I could find online to the journal I currently have- I bought mine at the grocery store believe it or not!
Get Some Fun Pens. You need to have pens you are comfortable using. I keep a few in my nightstand depending on my mood. Grab thick pens, colored pens (for when you feel creative) or my favorite- these uni-ball 207 Retractable Gel Pens (I stock up during Back to School sales every year). You don’t want to spend time struggling with the pen, so just make sure you are comfortable with whatever you have.
Anything Else You Might Want For Fun. Some people use stickers, scissors or other tools to make their journal a bit more artistic.
Types of Journaling
One Line a Day Journal- A One Line A Day Journal is exactly what it sounds like- you write one line per day. You could write about your exercise and food for the day. You could write about how you are feeling. You could write one good thing that happened to you that day, or whatever you would like to track.
However, the really special thing about this notebook is that it's a five-year journal. For each day of the year, there are five spaces for you to write. During the first year you fill the first space on each page. The second year, you flip back to the front of the book (January 1) and fill in the second space on each page. It gives you a snap shot of your health and wellness journey so you can see your progress!
A Reflective Journal- This is probably what you tend to think of when you think of journaling. And this is what I keep. Some entries are specifically about my weight loss and health journey. Some have more to do with my mental health (which is a huge part of my health journey as well). I have found that writing before bed helps me to relax and organize my thoughts making it easier to sleep (check out Coach Heather's post on How Your Sleep is Sabotaging Your Work Out Results). In the simplest terms, a Reflective Journal is usually a dialogue you are having with yourself or whatever Higher Power you may acknowledge.
Food and Exercise Journal- A food journal is typically a record of everything that you eat and drink in a 24 hour period. For many people this is a great way to really be aware of your consumption. While KKW encourages use of My Fitness Pal, a paper journal works as well. Exercise can be monitored the same way- just write it down so you can look back and see how active you have been over the week.
Some people also keep online journals through a blog or a private document but I think there is something to be said for using old fashioned pen and paper. Most of us already spend so much time typing it feels more reflective to write something by hand.
What about you? Do you use a journal in your journey to better health and wellness?
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