Your Health: Monitoring Your Progress

Keeping track of how you’re advancing in your health goals can not only keep you motivated to keep going but can also ensure the actions you’re taking are having the desired effects.

General goals can be difficult to quantify, so if your goal is to “get healthier,” you may want to break that goal into specific steps and smaller goals. Some suggestions? Lose weight (with a specific target weight), eat better (with specific goals such as cutting out sweets or eating more vegetables), start and maintain a fitness routine, get blood pressure or cholesterol under control, etc.

If your goal is to lose weight, monitoring your progress is easy: just weight yourself. But if you’re working out while you’re losing weight, the simple number can be deceiving. As a result, you may want to calculate your body fat and measurements as well. That way you know if you’re losing fat weight even as you’re gaining muscle weight.

To monitor eating or workout habits, try keeping a journal. Keep track of what you eat, when you work out — and even what actions encourage what you eat or when you work out (i.e. eating junk food when stressed, working out when angry, etc.). Knowing what you do and why you do it can help guide you in your actions and help you modify your thinking and doing so you’re successful in your ultimate goal.

To monitor your progress when it comes to medical concerns, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and certain diseases and disorders, you will likely need to partner with your doctor. He or she can order tests and help you stay on track with medications, dietary restrictions, and other guidelines. Your doctor can also give you guidance in what your ultimate goal should be and how to not only reach it but keep yourself there.