Visual images can be powerful tools in helping you reach your goals. There are lots of creative ways to use this motivation technique, such as posting an image of your goal where you’ll see it most—in your car, on a bathroom mirror, or on the refrigerator. Visual images can also help you reach your weight loss goals. Create a chart to measure your progress, display before and after pictures, or get a brochure of the vacation destination you’ll visit after you reach your goal. These are all good ways to constantly remind yourself of the commitment you’ve made.
One of our most loyal SparkPeople members, EMMYOS, decided to create a journal to document her weight loss journey. Emmy was kind enough to share pictures from her journal, as well as talk about how the journal has been so helpful in her progress.
JEN: Where did you get the idea to create a weight loss journal?
EMMY: I love to scrapbook, and one day I started thinking that I wanted to document my journey to health—the same way I document trips and events that happen in our family life. I’ve learned that scrap-booking isn’t just pretty and fun. You do it to document your life and to give a piece of yourself to the people you leave behind. Losing weight is a struggle, but in the end it will be a success that I want to share with my family. If someone reads it and gets encouragement, or if someone I share my book with gets a “spark” from it and decides to change their own life, I will have filled a book with more then just a memory for someone to read. It will be now someone else’s attempt at a dream and success.
JEN: How has the journal helped your weight loss progress?
EMMY: When I am feeling unmotivated or down, I open up the book and read my original entry about why I started my journey. I go through old journal notes that I wrote and they strike a cord that gives me the boost I need to get off my butt and move. Sometimes it reminds me of the hard effort I have put into this. When I go through my journal, it gives me the encouragement all over again. I write my deepest feelings in it—the embarrassment of having to ask for an extender belt on the airplane, not being able to go on a ride at an amusement park, being called fat as a kid, being teased non-stop—those are all things that remind me why I am doing this. When you write down both the good and the bad, you can't take them away. It's there black and white.
JEN: Is there any advice you would give to someone just starting a weight loss journal?
EMMY: Think hard about what you want out of your book, what you want to document, and what you want to show in it. I knew I was going to document the tools I am using on SparkPeople and TOPS, awards, and successes. I kept letters and cards that people from my support groups have sent me, messages on the boards, etc. I also journal in my book as I go along. Get a good book, something you can keep adding to, because it is a work of art in progress.
I started my journal 8 months after I began SparkPeople, and then put it away. I brought it out recently to motivate myself again, and now keep it on my desk and look at it more often to remind myself of my goals!