Dear Sparkly Unicorns,
You is busy. You is tired. You is overwhelmed.
I hear ya. I is too.
It’s hard to find time for everything I need to do (which explains why I’m working on this piece at 3am). How on earth am I supposed to find time for the optional stuff in life? You know, like getting an oil change, washing the windows, or going to the gym?
Wait. Those are optional, aren’t they?
Seriously, though. For many of us, going to the gym -- or any kind of exercise -- feels like a luxury. It shouldn’t be. It should be a priority. Our health is important.
That’s why the last Wednesday in September is designated as Women’s Health and Fitness Day. Events take place across the country, including exercise demos, health screenings, and workshops. The focus is on helping women to make smart choices about their health, like scheduling in regular physical activity.
While workshops and demos give us info and inspo, what we really need is a commitment to our health goals. I know this from personal experience. I suspect we all do. Whether it’s increasing physical activity, cutting down on caffeine, or decreasing screen time, follow-through is hard. We set up all kinds of roadblocks for ourselves:
This is where I start hawking personal journals. Sorry. Not sorry. Bullet Journals® and trackers, in particular, are perfect for helping us achieve health goals. Here’s how to max out their potential.
State Your Goals
What do you want to achieve? Dream big. Maybe you want to go on an extended bike tour. Maybe you want to drop a few dress sizes before your wedding. Maybe you want to become a vegetarian.
A big goal like that can be scary. But as a piece at Verywell Fit points out:
One cool advantage of keeping a bullet journal: you can set your goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis. That multi-level approach helps break your goals down into manageable pieces as you work toward long-term success.
To train for a bike tour, you could start by cycling for a set amount of time daily and gradually increase that. Or, to become a vegetarian, you could start by observing Meatless Mondays. And then, over time, you make vegetarian meals on other days as well.
Studies show that just writing down your goals can help you accomplish them. But having an action plan (those manageable pieces) is crucial. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Choose Your Trackers
You can track virtually anything in a Bullet Journal. (And, btw, if you need the lowdown on what a Bullet Journal -- aka bujo -- is exactly, I’ve got you covered.) Food/calories consumed, water intake, sleep, exercise, caffeine, stress, moods, and self-care can all be tracked. For inspiration on how to track these things -- or for ideas on what else can be tracked -- check sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Just take it easy and don’t get overwhelmed.
Some of the bujo spreads out there are amazeballs, intricate and artistic. But, wait. You don’t have time to exercise or get enough sleep as it is. How are you supposed to find hours to create bujo spreads to track DOING THOSE THINGS? Amirite? Plus, some trackers just aren’t relevant to you. I don’t take supplements, so I don’t need a supplement tracker, you know?
Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration but don’t be afraid to put your own spin on things. Choose trackers that will work for you -- both because they track what you need to track, and because they work for your aesthetic and your available time.
Complete Your Trackers
Depending on how intricate you make them, your trackers might take a few minutes or a few hours to set up. But once you’ve got them made, it’s quick and easy to maintain them. You can do this as you go. For instance, every time you polish off a bottle of water or a workout, pull out your personal journal and mark it off. Or, you can take some time at the end of the day to update all your trackers at once.
Max Out the Potential of Your Trackers
Trackers are valuable for a few reasons:
As Erin over at The Petite Planner points out, journals and trackers don’t “guarantee success. But they are a great resource for motivation and accountability.” And that’s just what we need to keep our health goals on the front burner. That and 26 hours in a day.
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There is no wrong way to journal. Well, actually, there IS one wrong way--being too negative. But other than that, your journal can be whatever you want it to be. Since there are no rules to follow, you can't be horrible at it. But, finding your personal journaling niche can take some trial and error. You may be feeling overwhelmed by all the options. Or, you may have chosen the wrong option and have gotten stuck because it doesn't work for you. If you're currently not journaling but you want to, here's a little push to get you back on track.
Sparkly unicorns, you can absolutely set intentions through meditation alone. But, since I’m blogging for Sohospark -- and because I’m a writer at heart who loves using journals -- of course I’m going to focus on how to use your personal journals here. There are several benefits to getting your intentions down in a writing journal. Check out the blog post for tips and inspo.
There are a bunch of reasons why I love using a personal journal for my vision boards: