Updated: Dec 4, 2020
I'm like a lot of people - my diet and workout schedule has been wildly unpredictable for most of my adult life. The problem I have is that I am in the beer industry - which means that if I don't watch myself I could spiral out of control pretty fast. And trust me - I've done that many times!
Over the past few years, I have been working on a tracking system to monitor my diet and fitness. Most importantly - this system helps me think about what I'm doing on a daily basis so at least I am aware of my behavior over time. Because of the way my brain works, I have created 3 separate sheets to help me stay on track and I'll explain each below:
84 Day Challenge
From what I have read, most habits take between 28 and 300 days to form, with the average being about 70 days for most people. I picked 84 days because that equals 3 months - which just seems like a timeframe I can wrap my head around. For this challenge, I choose one simple fitness goal and one simple diet goal. For a fitness goal example - I have a minimum distance I need to run or bike each day. For a diet goal example - I choose something simple like drinking 1 liter of water each day.
28 Day Challenge
Some things I just don't think I could do (or won't do) for 84 days - but I think I can do for 28 days! Giving up beer would fall into this category. So for this challenge I stick to things that are reasonably simple to do daily - like tracking body weight, no eating after 8pm, and meditating. What's cool is that I can do three different 28-day challenges while tracking my 84-day challenge.
5 Day Challenge
I created this challenge because I noticed that there were a few things that I was really bad at - I was probably rebelling for all the good things I was doing for my 84-day and 28-day challenges. Again - there are things I can probably do for 5 days in a row that I might not be able to "will myself" to do for 28 or 84 days. This would include things like eating a specific breakfast, cutting out carbs, or challenging myself to not drink beer for 5 days!
How To Track Your Personal Challenges
1. Print the challenge form(s) below and keep them accessible.
I choose realistic goals that work for me for each challenge.
Remember to set the bar LOW (especially when your just starting out) so that you can accomplish your goals!
Don't set goals based on someone else's expectations - they need to be your goals if you are going to achieve them.
2. Review these forms each morning
I put a happy face on the days that I accomplished my goals and a sad face on the days that I mess up.
If you don't accomplish a daily goal it's okay - hopefully you see more happy faces than sad faces at the end of your challenge.
If you see a lot of sad faces it just means that you need to set your goals lower until you are able to achieve them!
Achieving the goal of walking 1km each day is better than setting a goal of running 3km each day and not achieving it!
Do What Works For You!
Creating theses challenges was a personal process that has taken me years and something I have really never shared with anyone until now. Hopefully there is something within these that works for someone else that struggles with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
I would suggest starting with one of the three challenges and then implementing the others if you feel motivated to do so at some point.