Tips for Using the Tracking Sheet
Be sure to record your activities daily, at the end of each day. This should only take a few minutes. Continue the practice for at least four weeks; make it a habit. The goal is to become more mindful of your choices.
Use the letters B, L, and D (i.e., Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) to record major meals throughout the day in the Nutrition block. Put a circle around the letters that represent meals that were nutritious. If you recorded “L, D” in a nutrition block, that would indicate that you only ate lunch and dinner that day, and neither of those meals was very nutritious; however, if you recorded “B, L, D” and circled each letter, that would indicate that you had eaten three nutritious meals that day.
In the other four blocks, record the actual time spent in each activity and write a brief description of the activity (e.g., under Sleep you might write, “10 p.m. to 6 a.m. – 8 hrs,” under Exercise, “walked – 30 mins,” under Fresh Air, Sunlight, “ate lunch outside – 30 mins,” under Social Contact, “hung out with Emily – 1 hr,” etc.)
As you start to fill in the blocks, you will likely see patterns emerge. For instance, you may find that you have trouble eating three nutritious meals on the weekends, opting for junk food instead. Or maybe you find that you skip exercise on some days. The point is to gather data in an open, curious, nonjudgmental way. The first step to making positive changes in life is to recognize the current routine (or lack thereof).
Consider sharing this record with a supportive person who is invested in helping you improve your self-care choices – someone who can hold you accountable and cheer you on too.
It can take some time and perseverance to change habits. Often it feels like “two steps forward, one step back.” You may be very proud to record your choices on one day and not so proud on another day. Be patient with yourself. Take one day at a time.
Remember that, because mind and body are connected, you will likely start to feel better on several levels as you commit to tracking and changing your habits. It can be fun and exciting to see your lifestyle changing. It’s not uncommon for friends and family to note the changes too; when it happens, it can fuel your efforts and feel good.
However, be aware that it is not uncommon to lose momentum; if you become too casual about completing the record, you might experience relapse into unhealthy behaviors. If you miss a day and forget to do your record, “press the reset button” and start again the next day.
|Sleep||Exercise||Nutrition||Fresh Air, Sunlight||Social Interaction|