Ask any personal trainer and he or she will tell you: goal crushing season never ends. Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up, so a little body sculping may be in order this week. New Year’s resolutions tend to fade into beach season aspirations with the arrival of warm weather in the spring.

Regardless of the date on the calendar, achievement requires motivation and resolve. Both of these can be fostered through organization. As is the case with most life endeavors, written goals have an increased likelihood of fulfillment than those just shuffling around on an ethereal to-do list in our heads.

To brand the paradigm under the auspices of stereotypical fitness motivational branding, “written goals = crushed goals.” Arguably the best way to maintain these written goals is through a fitness journal.

Earlier this week, Men’s Health interviewed Joe Gambino, C.S.C.S., D.P.T., a New York-based physical therapist and trainer and Matthew N. Berenc, C.S.C.S., director of education at the Equinox Fitness Institute in Los Angeles, CA. in an article explaining the value of fitness journals.

Story author Cassie Shortsleeve summarizes the experts’ opinions, writing:

Keeping a log can make you a more efficient athlete. Say you flew through an eight-week workout, gained strength, lost weight, or shaved serious time off your mile—that’s probably success you’d want to replicate. “There is a chance that returning back to this program in the future can yield similar benefits,” says Gambino. 

Writing down your fitness past, present, and future puts you in a position to repeat successes, build on them, and find out what hasn’t worked—then avoid those paths to failure. It also helps you plan and maintain your focus, which can help to make your workouts more intentional, says Gambino.

She then condenses their advice with the following tips:

  • Don’t Leave Anything Out
  • Get in Touch With How You Feel
  • Jot Down the Good
  • Find a ‘Journal’ That Works for You

As the article implies, there are no hard and fast rules for tracking results, so finding a sustainable balance that works for the individual ought to be the top priority.

To read Shortsleeve’s full writeup, click here.