Tips on Self-Monitoring & Actionable Fitness Goals

20 Minute Fitness Podcast #18

On this week’s podcast, we talk about the best strategies for setting your fitness goals. We all have goals. However, we often become distracted or discouraged before we reach them. So, let’s explore methods on creating an effective goal. We talk about the tried and true SMART goal method. Including, breaking down the process of actually making one.

Unhealthy Habit Killing Your Diet

Also in this episode, we talk about hacking your goals with the principles of self-monitoring. Learn how to effectively track your food intake to help you reach your goals faster. We also take a minute to see how Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can reshape your habits. Making it easier to achieve your fitness and nutritional goals.


Show Notes

Goal Setting

According to the goal master himself, Tony Robbins, there is actually a very simple formula to create a goal that you can actually achieve. The tried and true method of goal setting is known a SMART goal. An acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Specific: Your goal must be very clear and defined not only to you but to others as well. It should be precise, detailed, and capable of answering questions instead of creating more.

Measurable: This is arguably one of the most significant steps to making your goal. Because it really zeros in on what you are setting yourself out to do. So include dates, exact numbers, and amounts in your goal.

Attainable: Your goal must be something you can reasonably attain. You should be able to accomplish it within the constraints of time, money, environment, as well as your skills and abilities and other important factors.

Realistic: Goals should be in line with the direction that you’re heading in life. Keep your goals in line with your true purpose. Don’t waste time with unrealistic goals.

Time-Bound: Always set specific deadlines for the completion of your goal. Also, you can set the deadline yourself if you have goals such as lifting a certain amount or not eating sugar for a certain amount of time.

Self Monitoring

So now that we have set our goals, let’s understand how we can monitor them and learn from them. Essentially, self-monitoring is a method of reflecting on your goals in a way that is constructive. Self-monitoring requires that rather than beating yourself up for not attaining a goal, you attend to your own individual experiences.

Too often we rely on negative self-judgment to stay motivated and, in so doing, fail to recognize and plan for real barriers. So by monitoring our behaviors and tendencies, we have a method of looking back that relies on real collected data.

Self Monitoring: Food Journalling

Let’s dig into one of the basics of self-monitoring which is food journaling. Now, there a lot of books, ready-made journals, and apps catered to food journaling. And to some, they make the process easier. However, a simple pen and notebook work just as well. The key is to follow a couple of steps when you journal in order to get accurate and helpful results.

Be Specific: Being specific is probably the most important aspect of keeping an effective weight loss journal. Also, focus on portion size, time of day, environment, and how you felt before, during, and after eating. This will give you insight into your eating patterns in the long run. So, this can help you make small interventions for a big change over time. Especially, don’t forget to list what you drank that day.

Consider Your Emotions: Emotions are a key reason to what triggers us to eat food is emotion. Stress, depression, anxiety, nervousness can lead us to over or under eat. So you don’t want to simply write about what you ate, you want to write about how it made you feel.

Be Brutally Honest: Being totally honest in your writing allows you to notice your eating trends and pick up on your feelings around food so that you can take actual steps toward tangible change. A recent study from journal Appetite found that those who felt guilt around food were more likely to overeat and gain weight in the long run.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

CBT has been especially effective when it comes to weight loss and for people who are trying to maintain their weight loss results. Essentially, CBT is about identifying your negative habits and actively trying to replace them with positive patterns.

Here are some CBT methods from Dr. Melanie Greenberg, a licensed clinical physiologist, you can use in your daily routine to help shape better long-term habits to better reach your fitness goals.

Scheduling Your Day: Allow adequate time for buying, preparing and eating healthy food. Or set an alarm if necessary so you don’t get stuck watching TV or working on the computer. If prepping veggies doesn’t sound like something you would be able to squeeze consider researching a meal delivery service. There are plenty of service offering healthy options that could easily be prepared without the hassle of the store. Essentially, the point of this tip is to schedule your time with intention.

Stock up on healthy snacks that have a pleasing texture and taste. Something that I have found recently is that I can easily opt for a bag of chips when I get nervous. I realized, however, I wasn’t craving chips. I really wanted something crunchy to snack on while I was nervous. So now I opt for baby carrots. So it may be helpful to swap in healthy foods that can fill a similar gap as the junk food might. Also, drinking a cup of hot tea with your midmorning or midafternoon snack may make it last longer and feel more satisfying.

Stay “in the moment” While Eating: Avoid eating at the computer, while driving, or multitasking while you eat. Tune into the experience of eating, what tastes and textures you feel like, how satisfying the food is, and what it feels like to be hungry or full. The same goes for using your phone. It can be super easy to be mindless scrolling and then end up with an empty box of girl scout cookies.

What Science Teaches Us About Food Cravings

Remind Yourself of Your Goal: You could paste your reasons for losing weight on a note card that you keep with you, or follow a couple of athletes on your social media feeds to keep your goal in mind.

Don’t Get Caught in Thinking Traps: If you feel that you deserve something extra for being good, reward yourself with an extra snack or a small dessert that only adds a limited amount of calories. If you have a bad day, don’t use it as an excuse to go off your diet for a week. Remind yourself that you need to get back on track as quickly as possible to minimize the damage

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Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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