If you’re serious about getting into a regular fitness routine, you will need to put together a plan, or hire someone who can make and execute that plan with you. Since I have a sufficient amount of self motivation and value the freedom to exercise when I feel like it, I do it myself.
Part of my process is creating a fitness tracker and using it to monitor my progress each month. I’ve done it several ways in the past, but currently my fitness tracker is one that I’ve drawn in my bullet journal. You may think that sounds like a lot of work, or you may be inspired by this idea.
Working out and proactively leading a healthy and active lifestyle requires determination and discipline, but it should also be fun. Here is what I do to crank up the motivation and wind down the stress using my own hand-designed fitness tracker.
- Plan out your tracker
What’s important to you? Jot those things down so you can include them in your tracker.
- Body measurements?
Get ideas online (there are tons), and start to draft out what you want your fitness tracker to look like on scrap paper.
Maybe it’s not called a fitness tracker. Perhaps it’s a health tracker or wellness plan that includes other health aspects like meal plans and mindfulness activities.
There are several reasons this step is important, but the one I want to point out is that this exercise mentally commits you to the fitness plan.
- Create the spread in a bullet journal
This is a super mindful activity, and you can expect to get into a state of flow while working on it. Expect to spend a couple hours on it, so grab your beverage of choice, light a candle and remove distractions.
This can also be a great creative challenge. Personally, I am not very artistic, but I am fully accepting of that and do the best I can without being hard on myself. Gather whatever stationery you have (markers, stickers, stencils, etc.) and use them to add interest to your spread.
Be forgiving to yourself. Mistakes will happen, but this tracker is for you and no one else. If you can accept that it won’t be perfect, then you’ll have a lot more fun creating it.
- Balance a strict schedule with choices to maintain a sense of fun and freedom
There is no avoiding discipline if you want to see results when it comes to fitness goals. But I’m a firm believer that there needs to be balance in everything. One way I create that is by pairing strictness with flexibility. For example, my rule is to do 20-30 minutes of cardio every day, but the specific exercise is not dictated in advance. So, I do whatever I am in the mood for that day. Sometimes that’s a bike ride or a jog, and other times it’s a fast-paced walk around the neighbourhood.
Another rule + choice I hold myself to is I can have ice cream (my favourite food in the world) 3 times a week, then I decide on the fly when those days will be.
- Reward yourself for sticking to your plan
For me, having a reward system works. As a frugal person, I like to earn my shopping. The qualification I put in place for myself is completing at least 3 full weeks of my monthly plan. If I can achieve that, I get to buy something I’ve been wanting or do an experience (like a little getaway or outing).
Other ways to do a reward system are points (for example, every completed week is 5 points, and 100 points buys you x reward) and milestones (like lose 5 lbs and get x reward). Figure out what is most effective for you, and implement that into your routine and tracker.
You can certainly create a digital tracker if you want to avoid investing time into creating a paper one. The benefit of doing the latter is that after investing so much time and effort into drawing out a spread on paper, you will get a great sense of satisfaction when you update it and a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of the month. Plus, you don’t want to waste all the work, so you’ll be more likely to use it.
Buy a bullet journal with thick paper so that you don’t have to worry about bleeding. And dots (versus lines) on the pages provide guidance without too much restriction for drawing. Save enough pages in your journal for all the months you need so that you can create the monthly trackers one after another and be able to track your goals and accomplishments throughout the year in the same section of your journal.
If you have other ideas for creating a fitness tracker, please share in the comments!