Doctors, Data, and Love – How to Reach your Health Goals

It’s difficult for many of us to stay on top of our health goals. And it’s not for lack of good intentions.  Despite our real desire to make changes or stay with the program, unfortunately for many of us, it doesn’t happen automatically.

That’s why it’s a great idea to look for support. Far better to take advantage of the time-tested power duo: community and tools.  Your doctor or health practitioner is an important member of your health community, which can also include other experts, such as friends and family.  Doctors and health practitioners provide needed guidance for our comprehensive health with diagnostics and leading medicine.  Friends and family are there for the day- to- day encouragement – whether watching us from the stands or running alongside us in our health marathon..

Your tools can be anything that works for you. It might be health books, special equipment, or specific programs.  A highly effective tool — probably the most effective — is a tracking tool.

Studies have shown that people who track their food, workouts or spending by creating a plan and keeping a record, are much more successful in reaching their goals.  As much as our friends and family love us, they can’t monitor our behavior around the clock and provide an accurate record of what we’ve done in the past. Keeping track not only keeps your eyes on the prize thus providing motivation to stay the course, it also brings cold, hard data into your life.

This data won’t lie, if you don’t.

Humans tend to fudge a little in recalling what they did or little things will just slip their minds. How often have even daily activities, like taking out the trash, slipped our mind? Can we even recall with clarity what we ate last week? Tracking our health competes with many other activities in our busy lives – work, family, friends, and play.

For an accurate map of your health behavior, data is there to tell you exactly what’s going on and where you are. And you need this map.  Your map can be a tattered notebook, a chalkboard, a digital health log, a wi-fi body scale or a Garmin heart rate monitor – it’s up to you. The value in these tools lies in the black and white evidence that you can use to finesse your program. When the data is right in front of you, it is easy to plan and structure your progress.

The motivational aspect as well as the accuracy of tracking means that you are more likely to continue your program, in effect, making it a habit.  Don’t underestimate the value of a good habit.

These days reaching for excellence in health is much easier with all the new programs available to us. They provide powerful feedback and many offer expert direction.  Although you will pay more than you would for a simple notepad, the benefits you get from using them will probably far outweigh the cost.

No matter which you choose, creating healthy habits by utilizing a tracking tool is the key to reaching your personal wellness goals.  Your community will provide needed encouragement and guidance, and the data will provide the most accurate measure of your progress. The combination is a powerful incentive to unfailingly achieve your health goals.

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