Updated: Aug 4
Every New Years’, we all start out optimistic and set resolutions for our health, career, education. And for many of us, no new resolutions this year. Last Year’s still apply.
If you are like 90% of people, you start with full enthusiasm. Which explains why gyms and fitness centres have most sales in January. But we find that post April-May there’s a dip in the attendance rate. You realise that you’re too busy with your job or career or kids or home-keeping to find the time for yourself. You set out with grandiose and high optimism, and set goals that were unrealistic and unsustainable for your lifestyle. You paid for expensive gym memberships, personal trainers and dieticians, hoping that you’ll be committed to it, since you’ve paid the big bucks for it. But for most of us, even the money can’t buy the discipline to form sustainable habits.
We already know how much carbs and sugar we should consume and how important it is to include protein and good fats in our diet and we also know the rich sources of the macro and micro nutrients. We have read countless blogs on benefits of green teas, anti oxidants, the importance of hydration and good sleep. And we already know how much workout we should do, what our body enjoys and what is accessible to us. When we pay for a fitness trainer or a dietician, what we’re really paying for is accountability. What 90% of the people fail to realise is that the only person we are accountable to, is ourself. Not our spouse, not our parents, not our kids. And definitely not someone who is paid to keep check on you.
Research suggests that even 15-20 mins of exercise a day for a year is more beneficial than 45-60 mins of work out for 1-2 months. Neuroscience research claims that habits are formed in part of our brain called amygdala, where even if you have an accident and forget your name and where you live, you’ll still remember to read that daily newspaper and brush your teeth exactly the way you’ve been doing all your life. Habits are so etched in our brain that once formed they are difficult to break. Which is why smokers have such a hard time to quit, and always have a risk of relapse even after years of being smoke-free.
So how do we form habits that last ?
By committing to taking actionable baby steps. Psychologists have claimed that journalling is a great practise to get started. We also need to stop focusing on the end goal - Losing 10 kilos. or Dropping 6 inches on our waistlines.
The result is not in our control, and focusing on them leaves us in despair. What’s in our control are the actions we take. Commit instead to goals like “I will workout 15 mins a day” or “I will walk/run 3 days a week” or whatever is within your reach and tick them off your daily calendar or fitness journal.
Now that we know that Journaling is a great practice to help us with for accountability and building sustainable habits, how do we go about finding one ? Read on to know.
Things to look for in a good fitness journal
1. Attractive Design - Well, we all judge a book by it’s cover. So it’s important to find a log book whose cover you find appealing.
2. Functionality - Is it all encompassing ? Health & fitness is a combination of exercise, diet, hydration and supplements, if you need them. Does your log book include all aspects of logging to help you stay on track with your goals ?
3. Adaptability - Some months you may just focus on cardio and some months just weight training and sometimes you just want to count your steps. Does the log book cater to your current level of fitness and offer a wide range of logging across various activities ?
3. Easy to carry - Since your journal is something that you’ll carry with you, whether it’s to your gym or to your business trips. We find that a medium A5 is just the right size - not too tiny and not too bulky and fits conveniently in your gym bag or briefcase.
4. Lasts at least 3 months - It takes at least 3 months to notice any significant changes in new lifestyle changes that you implement. So it’s important that your log book is designed to last anywhere from 12-16 weeks. Anything too long, and we might be overwhelmed right from the beginning. Just remember to be patient and keep logging consistently
5. No extra frills - While stickers and other add-ons are definitely cute, the cost adds up and it’s you, the buyer, who ends up paying for things that are nice to have, but things that you don’t need. So find a good journal with less frills that does the job it’s meant to.
6. Personalisation - Lastly, if you want to make it your own or gift it to your loved ones, can the log book cover be personalised with your name.
You can check out The Happy Quokka's Fitness Log Book designed for Men & Women and take that first step towards being among the 10% who succeed in reaching their goals.