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The Ability of Journals to Get RESULTS!

January 19, 2013

by Kerry Kilpatrick

“What are you thinking about?…Everything about your Life is coming to you in response to the focus of your thoughts.”  from The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Keeping a journal propels results and dramatically increases your chances of succeeding in most anything you choose to undertake. Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal. Want to regain your health after an injury or surgery? Journal your rehab! Want to get in great shape? Journal your training program! Want to increase your education? Journal your study habits and readings.

Sound too good to be true? Let’s look at the facts!

From a study on weight loss done by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, the lead author Jack Hollis Ph.D., had this to say about the participants: “Those who kept daily food records (a journal) lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”

In a book written by Charles Duhigg entitled The Power of Habit, he cites a similar study done by the National institutes of Health. He references the phenomenal results of journaling on successful dieting in this way:

“But this keystone habit – food journaling – created a structure that helped other habits to flourish. Six months into the study, people who kept daily food records had lost twice as much weight as everyone else. ‘After a while, the journal got inside my head,’ one person told me. ‘I started thinking about meals differently. It gave me a system for thinking about food without becoming depressed.” (emphasis mine)

The benefit of journaling on rehabilitation after injury or surgery was also noted in Duhigg’s book. He discussed a study done in several orthopedic hospitals in Scotland in 1992. The study looked at the rehabilitation results following surgery for hip or knee surgery. Here is how he summarized the results of that study:

“The patients who had written plans in their booklets (journals, kk) had started walking almost twice as fast as the ones who had not. They had started getting in and out of their chairs, unassisted, almost three times as fast. They were putting on their shoes, doing the laundry, and making themselves meals quicker than the patients who hadn’t scribbled out goals ahead of time.”

If you want to get in great shape keeping a journal is a must. Often called an exercise diary, it is an essential tool to help stay motivated and measure progress. In the book The Pilates Workout Journal: An Exercise Diary & Conditioning Guide, authors Mari Winsor and Mark Laska had this to say:

“I began keeping a journal that I use with my workouts. In it, I make notations of what exercises I performed and how different parts of my body were feeling. I track my progress, note my personal victories, express the overwhelming feelings of euphoria or stress reduction or overall well-being…I have found this journal to be one of the most effective tools to both indicate my progress and insure that I never lose those flashes of inspiration and once-in-a-lifetime ideas.”

Bonnie Jenkins who is the managing editor of Advanced Natural Medicine had this to say in a column on the benefits of exercise:

Keep a weekly diary and set goals each day for what kind of exercise you will do, how long you will workout, and how hard you will exercise…After you set your goals and write them down, you want to also chart your progress. Be sure to write down your daily achievements to compare to your goals. This will become extremely motivating as you see yourself meeting your goals…Seeing measurable progress on paper will keep you motivated while you work toward the bigger goals you have set for yourself.

It has been said that mankind took its greatest leap forward when it learned how to write. Not only was he able to pass information along to successive generations, it also helped develop the collective ability to think and increased the ability to learn. In a scholarly article entitled Writing as a Mode of Learning author Janet Emig had this to say:

“Writing represents a unique mode of learning—not merely valuable, not merely special, but unique…Writing serves learning uniquely because writing as process-and-product possesses a cluster of attributes that correspond uniquely to powerful learning strategies.”

A handwritten journal is a “powerful strategy” for success in almost any endeavor based on the results of so many of the greats throughout history. If you’re not keeping a journal you are missing out on a significant competitive edge.

If you have a journal success story please share it with me at ktk616@gmail.com

Happy Journaling!

Dieting and Journals – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708080738.htm

Benefits of Exercise – http://www.advancednaturalmedicine.com/live-longer-lose-weight/benefits-of-exercise.html

Writing as a Mode of Learning – http://ap2008.wdfiles.com/local–files/selected-research-articles/Emig1977.pdf

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