How A Fitness Journal Can Help You Achieve Your Workout Goals

A woman in workout clothes puts a grey fitness journal into a grey gym bag.

Goals are easy to set. But unless you write them down, they’re even easier to forget.

That’s why when it comes to workout goals, it’s so important to write down our goals in a fitness journal to ensure they stay at the forefront of our mind and in our training.

Enthusiasm alone isn’t enough to sustain our workout goals. Even though we know that working out is good for us, we’ll stick to unhealthy habits anyway. After all, human beings are creatures of habit, and we’ll often push our fitness priorities aside in order to stick to habits and routines that are familiar to us.

An easy solution? A fitness journal. It’s a simple but powerful tool that can help you reach your workout goals and motivate you to succeed. 

A fitness journal can serve multiple purposes. It’s a log to keep track of your progress. An inspiring coach that pushes you to do your best. And a non-judgmental outlet for your emotions and feelings. This is pretty impressive considering that all you need is a simple notebook and pen to get the benefits. 

Below we’ve listed ways that you can use a fitness journal to help you turn your workout goals into reality. 

Put your fitness goal at the forefront

As we mentioned, goals are easy to push aside. Our brains can only remember so much information. It’s essential that we record our goals in our fitness journal so that they stay in our uppermost thoughts. 

Using your fitness journal, write down a goal that you’d like to achieve in 90 days. Why 90 days? 3 months is an optimal length of time to set a fitness goal. The finish line isn’t so far off into the future that you start to lose interest, and it isn’t so close that you don’t have enough time to improve. 90 days gives you plenty of data to help you better understand your habits and ideal conditions, so that you can do your best. 

Examples of 90-day fitness goals

  • Run a 5k or 10k
  • Walk for 40 minutes a day
  • Weight train 3x a week
  • Reach a healthy BMI (consult your physician on this)

Design a workout plan with your fitness journal

A goal without a plan is just a wish. A fitness journal can help make your goals a reality by enabling you to create an action plan.

Let’s say your 90-day goal is to run a 5k. You’ll want to make your big goal more manageable by breaking it down into smaller pieces. 

You can do this by setting monthly, weekly, and even daily goals.

So let’s say your big, 90-day goal is to run 5k. If you’re a beginner runner, you’ll want to make running a regular part of your routine, then build your way up. Consult a 5k training plan to help you set your milestones. Maybe your week 1 goal is to run for 5 minutes, three times a week. Then your week 2 goal is to run for 10 minutes, three times a week. Then gradually keep adding on more time and distance. 

Remember: create a low target at first, so that you can easily achieve it.

Then, schedule your workouts into your planner. You can also set digital reminders on your Google calendar or phone. But the important thing is to schedule it, so that you honor this commitment to yourself. 

Track your progress with a fitness journal

Why is tracking your progress so important? Measuring your progress keeps you motivated while also giving you insight into your sessions. For instance, let’s say you set an ambitious goal but you’re not keeping track of it. You’ll easily start to lose hope when you don’t see results right away. And when you don’t see rapid results, it gets easier to find excuses to skip workouts and abandon your goal altogether. 

But a fitness journal captures what you’re actually doing. When you review the pages of your log, maybe you’ll see that you’re not working out as often as you thought you did. So when you see the evidence on paper, you’ll be able to manage your expectations and adjust your plan accordingly.

A fitness journal can also surprise you by showing you how much progress you’ve made since the beginning. Change always seems to be at a glacial pace in the beginning, but then, before you know it, you’ve made significant strides. The incremental progress you made may seem like nothing at first, but over the course of a few weeks, you’ll be impressed by the improvements in energy levels, time, duration, etc. 

Make sure to keep a regular account of your workouts. You’ll want to document things such as:

  • Duration of workout
  • What time you worked out
  • How did you feel? High energy? Low energy? 
  • What were the environmental conditions like? Hot? Humid? 
  • Any changes? This is when you can note things like “worked out a minute longer” or “ran an extra mile.” 

So if you ever find your motivation waning, go back to your workout log and examine your progress. You’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you see how much progress you’ve made over time. 

Find solutions to your challenges

Chronicling your workouts can help you find solutions to your fitness challenges

Did you struggle during a recent workout? Write about it in your fitness journal. Try to articulate what made the workout so particularly challenging. If you do, you just might have an epiphany and create a new strategy moving forward. 

After writing your journal entry, maybe you’ll notice that you didn’t get enough to eat before your training session and that you will fuel yourself moving forward.

Or maybe you’ll realize that you felt tired because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before so you’ll start going to bed earlier.

Or maybe you’ll notice that it’s uncomfortable running in the afternoon heat, and you’ll switch to morning or evening workouts, when it’s cooler. 

A fitness journal is a great way to gain insights into your challenges, and help you come up with strategies to better manage them. 

The more you know about yourself, the more you can improve your goal setting approach and reach your fitness goals. 

It’s the little things that add up and make a huge difference in your workout routine. A fitness journal can help you keep track of the little things, and inspire you to do your best. 

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