As someone who exercises daily, I have fought myself on this topic. Why should I track my progress if I am feeling good about what I am doing? If I am working out every day, I will gradually see results and continue to climb that never-ending improvement ladder! Well, as it turns out, achieving goals more complicated than that.
Everyone hits a point in their exercise journey where they feel like they aren’t seeing results. In the beginning, your workouts are new and fresh! Heck, they might even be exciting! You are thinking about the endless possibilities and goals you're going to crush. Then the novelty starts to wear off around week three (at least, that is where I notice a downward trend). By the third week, you're starting to play a head game: “You’re tired. Why don’t you just take a rest today and just relax.? Its good to rest sometimes, right?” Then, it begins to snowball and eventually you notice you haven’t exercised in weeks. We have all been there.
And that's right where tracking your progress comes in. I will admit, at first I was skeptical. I thought, “I don’t need to do this. This is just an added ‘thing’ I have to do and I am already busy.” Benefits of regularly tracking your fitness journey can include keeping your goals in sight and your accomplishments in perspective. It also helps you to become more mindful of why you are taking on regular exercise.
[Read more: Do you have a healthy relationship with exercise?]
When you have had a hard day at work, your kid(s) are screaming for attention or crying because you didn’t put their shoes in the right place, this is a great opportunity to go back and look at all the tracked progress you have made in your fitness goals – especially if you are planning on skipping out of your nightly or morning sweat session. Added stressors in our lives creep up on us and try to take over. If you haven’t laid out your goals or are not keeping a close eye on what you are trying to accomplish, then they could consume you and you may fall off the wagon.
I am not saying that tracking your goals will completely silence the “I need to quit” voice in your head. Other factors can (and sometimes will) lead to you needing to postpone your exercise routine temporarily. Fitness related injuries or family matters can require a pause. Those are outside influences we can’t control. If it happens to be you feeling like your exercise routine is just not for you anymore because you are tired and “over it,” make sure you look back and see all of the amazing progress you have made (which you can only do if you've been tracking your workouts), re-evaluate the situation, and continue to focus on your goals. Staying mindful and motivated by assessing your progress will help you realize that some of your goals have been met, and others are attainable. And of course, there's an app for that.