Creating a healthy lifestyle requires a clear vision and a clear strategy. Without a clear vision you won’t know where you’re headed, and without a clear strategy you won’t know how to get there.
As a registered dietitian I’ve guided thousands of clients through the process of creating healthier habits, and I know just how challenging it can be to stay committed to your goals.
After all, no one’s perfect. Sometimes you’ll choose to order a second glass of wine, or skip the gym because you don’t feel like going, or opt for fast food because it’s easier than preparing a meal at home. But all of these micro decisions can lead to costly health consequences if they become a pattern.
Having the right tools makes it easier to course-correct when you lose motivation and focus, and journaling is one of them. No matter where you are on your journey to better health your journal can help you realign with what matters most.
Here are 7 ways that journaling can help you achieve your health goals:
1. Get Clear About What You Want
Clarity is vital for goal achievement, and journaling can help you uncover or refine what’s most important to you. Schedule some time to journal about how you want to experience your life, and describe in detail how a healthier lifestyle would make your life better. This will help you get crystal clear about which specific goals will help you get there.
- What will a healthier lifestyle enable you to do that you can’t do today?
- When you think about your health, what’s most important to you right now?
- What is one thing you could change that would have the biggest positive impact on your health?
2. Brainstorm Possibilities
Another way that journaling can help you move closer to your health goals is brainstorming. Brainstorming is the process of generating new ideas in order to solve a problem or find new ways of doing things. Using the pages of your journal as a “brain dump,” list all the strategies or habits you can think of that would bring you closer to your goals. You can brainstorm ways to stay motivated, ways to be more consistent with your day-to-day habits, ways to weave self-care into your busy day, or ways to do things more efficiently. The more strategies you put into place, the better your chances of getting the results you want.
- Consider a specific challenge you’re facing right now and list at least 10 possible solutions.
- What are some different ways you could achieve your goals? List everything that comes to mind.
- What could you do more efficiently to move closer to your goals?
3. Stay Focused
Journaling can also help you stay focused. It’s easy to lose sight of your priorities when life gets busy, but creating a daily journaling practice can help you keep your attention focused on your goals. And that means you’ll be more likely to devote time to them consistently. Ultimately, consistency is what brings results.
- What are some visual cues or reminders that would help you stay focused on your goals throughout the day?
- Make a list of your common distractions or saboteurs, and then journal about how you might refocus your attention when they arise.
4. Commit to Action
It’s been said that a goal without action is merely a wish. Action is where the magic happens. Without action, your goals are nothing more than words, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Unless you’re fully committed, it’s more likely that you’ll give up on your goal than invest any energy into it. But when you’re relentlessly committed to taking action, you’ll start to see your vision become your reality.
- On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to your goal? (If you’re not at least a 7, go back to the drawing board and revise your goal.)
- How will you take action each day to achieve your goals?
- Why are you committed to your goals? What’s the reason behind your goals?
5. Monitor Your Progress
Progress can be a big motivator. Seeing the results of your hard work can offer a boost of motivation to continue pushing forward toward your goals. Try breaking your goals down into a series of milestones and then use your journal to monitor your progress.
- How will you know you’re making progress toward your goals?
- Which metrics or measures will give you feedback about where you stand?
- What are the major milestones along your path to wellness?
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
Accountability is the difference between those who regularly achieve their goals and those who don’t. When you hold yourself accountable for how you spend your time, energy, and other resources you’ll be more likely to stay committed to your goals. And if holding yourself accountable doesn’t come easily, consider asking a friend to be your accountability partner. Schedule regular check-ins and ask them to give you a nudge periodically to keep you on track.
- How will you course-correct when you notice you’re no longer making progress on your goals?
- What are the stakes? If you fall short of your goal, what will you do as a result?
- Who can help you stay accountable to your goals?
7. Celebrate Your Wins
Goal-getters are notorious for skipping the celebration step and moving right on to the next goal. But taking time to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments can be a powerful motivator, too. Take advantage of the momentum and use it to tackle future goals. Celebrations can be as simple as a brief journal entry or as elaborate as a self-assessment of your experience. Whatever your approach, don’t forget to celebrate when you reach the finish line.
- How will you celebrate once you reach your goal?
- How will you reward yourself for your success?
When it comes to achieving your health goals, journaling is a simple tool that can help you clarify your goals, brainstorm possibilities, stay focused, commit to action, monitor your progress, hold yourself accountable, and celebrate your wins. No matter where you are on the path to better health, your journal can be a powerful catalyst that keeps you moving forward. For more tips on how to use your journal to create goals, check out this article on CreateWriteNow.
Information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as providing or replacing medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Author bio: STACY FISHER, RDN, LD, CDCES is the founder of LivingUpp™, a lifestyle design company that teaches women how to use a self-care planning system to create more ease and better health. She is a registered dietitian and lifestyle coach with 20+ years of experience in the healthcare industry, where she’s worked with large companies such as Dell, Boeing and Nike. Stacy is the author of Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning and The Lifestyle Design Planner, a flexible life organizer for high-achievers who value self-care and simplicity.