Lately, there’s been a massive resurgence of the use of pen and paper. Journals, in particular, seem to be gaining popularity exceptionally fast. I’ve seen more journals being advertised on social media in the last year than in the last decade. What gives? Why in our tech and gadget obsessed world is the antiquated pen and paper “trending”? Are there advantages to using non-digital organizers? Why is it that every success coach, CEO, and guru starts their process with step 1 as physically writing down goals?
Here’s my take on the 5 reasons why pen and paper journals like the Gym Gypsy Journal, can help you improve your performance and reach your goals.
Journals Provide New Beginnings
If you’re like me, I have and probably always will prefer real, tangible, actual books, magazines and notebooks over their electronic counterparts. I LOVE turning the crisp, glossy pages of a new magazine! Feeling the weight of a book in my hand or looking at the variety of heights and colors as they fill out a bookshelf just can’t be beat. It’s just not the same to read things on a computer. Journals specifically, with their blanks pages and empty calendars represents a new chapter, a fresh start, a chance to begin again. You don’t get that same feeling with your iPhone or calendar. There’s no real beginning or ending to that is there? It’s just another digital task, in a life mired with more digital talks than ever. And honestly, I think most of us humans crave some boundaries and structure, a tangible book with a definite beginning and end gives us just that.
Journals Help You Remember Better
There is something very different about writing things down rather than typing them. Studies have, in fact, shown that we do remember things better if we write them down rather than just hearing them. Why is that? It’s because when you write things down or take notes, consciously or not, you are evaluating the information and then thinking about how to order it as you write. That process helps you retain information better. And while keeping a journal is not normally meant to help you remember things, I think the act of writing things down does facilitate more than just memorization.
I think having to physically put pen to paper creates deeper meaning. That may be even more true for us now, in our computer-saturated lives, than ever. We text and type little notes into our phones all day and churn emails out at the drop of a hat. But, writing something down requires us to slow down. Because we do it much less often than typing, it’s “special.” It gives whatever we write significantly more meaning and weight, especially if we’re doing it in a unique, dedicated place like a journal.
Journals Help You Reach Your Goals More Efficiently
Tracking specific data in a journal also can help you reach certain goals more efficiently. For example, keeping a food journal or diary can help you lose weight! Studies have shown that those who keep a food journal at least 6 days per week lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. How is that? Recording the details of your diet increases awareness about how much you’re eating when you’re eating it, and why you’re eating it. This makes it easier to see patterns and trends.
It also helps identify situations or foods that might be overeating triggers. Do you binge if you skip a meal? Are you eating a little more peanut butter than you thought? Do you mindlessly eat while you’re studying? Do you tend to crave sweets when you’re stressed? There is so much information you can gather when you write the details down. And let’s not forget, everyone is motivated to make better choices if you know you’re going to have to record everything you eat, even the not-so-healthy things. The added effort of pen to paper makes a bigger difference than just clicking items in lists and scrolling through quantity drop down menus.
Journals Help You Accurately Track Your Progress
The same can be said for training information. When we write down our workout details and also include information about the quality of the training, we become aware of what supports productive training and increases progress. We can also see how outside factors like sleep, stress, and mood can enhance or detract from our workouts. You might not really think those things matter much or that you can push past them, UNTIL you start tracking and see that maybe that’s not the case.
If you never track anything besides sets and reps, or always fly by the seat of your pants, or just blindly follow programming, are you really gleaning all the information you need? No. All you know is that it worked or it didn’t, but you really don’t know why. When you want to change details to look for additional potential progress or to reproduce something that did go will, you can’t. Bummer for you.
Tracking details like sleep, stress, mood, motivation, etc. affects almost every part of your life! If you are trying to improve your fitness, decrease stress, and just lead a more healthy and balanced life, tracking your sleep, food, mood, stress, fitness, and everything else like in the Gym Gypsy Journal, will enable you to see how all the aspects of your life and body interact with each other. This then allows you to make unbiased, educated decisions on how to change those details so that you look and feel better.
Look, have you ever just recorded the number of hours of sleep you’re getting, the quality of that sleep, your mood, stress, fatigue, and soreness before? How about for more than a day? Most haven’t done that for a single day, much less over the course of a training cycle or through big nutrition changes. I’m willing to bet that if you did, you would identify some trends and discover plenty of room for improvement!
Will Journaling Make Me More Efficient?
Honestly, if you’re not recording your workouts, tracking your nutrition and evaluating information like sleep, stress, fatigue, mood, and more, you simply aren’t doing everything you can do to maximize your health, weight loss (or gain), and progress in the gym and in life. Putting pen to paper, recording your habits and results gives you data to work with in improving almost every facet of your life.
It’s cheap and easy to do. Track it. Review it. Improve it. Simple.
If you’re not willing to JUST write down and track details, you’re probably going to have real trouble with the hard things that stand beside you and your goals.
Want to start tracking your life, so you can improve your well-being? Track details like sleep, stress, mood, motivation in the Gym Gypsy Journal