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7 Reasons Why You Should Be Keeping a Workout Log

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Keeping a Workout Log

Looking to maximize the time you spend at the gym? For a moment, forget the latest and greatest in supplements and workout gear, or the most recent fitness fad to hit the late night infomercial circuit. Something as simple as keeping a workout log can help you stay focused and keep you motivated as you chase down your fitness goals.

Here are 7 ways that writing out your sessions at the gym in a workout log can help you get faster results.

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1. It keeps you honest.

How many times have you walked into the gym without a clear plan of what you wanted to do? Did you complete your workout efficiently? Or did you skip out on some exercises and sets because you simply weren’t “feeling it”? Having your workout written out ahead of time in your exercise log eliminates the mental struggle we engage in, the back-and-forth where we try to legitimize ducking out early.

2. You’ll make better goals.

The only thing worse than not setting goals is setting unrealistic goals. Creating ambitious goals that stretch you to your limits are great, but massive and ultimately unrealistic goals leading you to fall short only serve to discourage and demoralize. Seeing how quickly (or alternatively, how slowly) you progress at the gym provides you with the feedback necessary to set fitness goals that are realistic, and will keep you from prematurely discouraging and demoralizing yourself.

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3. You’ll get inspired.

One of the most rewarding aspects of keeping track of your workouts is the ability to periodically flip through and look over the work you have done. You’ll see results where you burst through plateaus, where you ran longer and faster than you ever thought possible, where you strung together 14 consecutive days  of workouts. These feats in your fitness past will fill you with a sense of pride and remind you just how capable you indeed are. More importantly, it will give you that jolt of fire in your belly to get back at it.

4. You’ll find patterns.

Noting your workouts, as well as your diet, rest and stress levels will allow you to find patterns for why you feel like a beast some days, while on other days you are shuffling along, barely interesting in going for a walk, let alone the gym. How many times have you not felt the best at the gym, and not really bothered to ask yourself why? Odds are you passed it off, and trudged along with your day, not bothering to investigate why you felt off. Usually the reasons aren’t completely apparent; a bad night’s sleep, poor nutrition the day before, and so on. Having all of that information can allow you to establish patterns so that you can maximize the days where you feel like a boss, and minimize the ones where you don’t feel so super. Think of it as the ultimate feedback loop for your physical fitness.

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5. You’ll exercise harder.

An aspect of keeping a workout journal that most people don’t necessarily think about is the desire to write out a good workout each day. I cannot count how many times the thought of having to write out a bad workout actually kept me from having one. Dips in motivation and focus will happen at the gym, but often the trepidation of detailing a less than stellar workout will overrule the yearning to bounce early.

6. You’ll have a plan for your goals.

Not only can a workout log help you craft better goals, it can also be the battle plan for achieving them. Whether the goals are ultra short term (that day), or the big audacious long term goals, you can track and measure all of them within the pages of an exercise log. Your log doesn’t need strict set and calorie counts; it can also be a blueprint for your goals.

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7. It’ll give you a chance to vent.

Track your fitness regimen, and then write out how you felt that day, including your mood, any extra factors that affected your workout, or anything else that is bouncing around that brain of yours. Your workout log gives you a chance to vent, and provides a judgement-free sounding board for how you’re feeling.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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