The importance of habit tracking in helping your members adopt healthy habits.
Building healthy habits isn’t accomplished overnight.
In fact, without the right tools or strategies, adopting new healthy habits can be extremely challenging, if not nearly impossible. This is why so many individuals ultimately give up their fitness routines or healthier diets before lasting results are ever achieved.
So, what can your club do to help your members build healthy habits that stick?
The book Atom Habits by James Clear goes over several proven strategies to build good habits and break bad ones. However, one that stuck out to me as both easy to implement and highly effective was that of habit tracking — which according to Clear, is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit.
Examples include using an app like MyFitnessPal to track what you eat throughout the day; or using a simple calendar to mark whether you went to the gym that day.
“Recording your last action creates a trigger that can initiate your next one,” writes Clear. “Habit tracking naturally builds a series of visual cues like the streak of X’s on your calendar or the list of meals in your food log. When you look at the calendar and see your streak, you’ll be reminded to act again. Research has shown that people who track their progress on goals like losing weight, quitting smoking and lowering blood pressure are all more likely to improve than those who don’t. One study of more than sixteen hundred people found that those who kept a daily food log lost twice as much weight as those who did not. The mere act of tracking a behavior can spark the urge to change it.”
With this in mind, it may be useful for clubs to suggest habit tracking to their members who are seeking to achieve a specific goal.
“Habit tracking helps keep your eye on the ball: you’re focused on the process, rather than the results,” continued Clear. “You’re not fixated on getting six-pack abs, you’re just trying to keep the streak alive and become the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts.”
Lastly, Clear argues that habit tracking can help people feel successful, especially when certain results — like weight loss — take longer to achieve.
“This is why non-scale victories can be effective for weight loss,” said Clear, as an example. “The number on the scale may be stubborn, so if you focus solely on that number, your motivation will slag. But you may notice that your skin looks better or you wake up earlier. All of these are valid ways to track your improvement. If you’re not motivated by the number on the scale, maybe it’s time to focus on a different measurement — one that gives you more signals of progress.”
This further validates the trend of clubs shifting their messaging away from weight loss and toward more immediate benefits of exercise, such as a mental health boost.
But regardless of a member’s goals — weight loss, losing inches or simply feeling happier — consider habit tracking as a proven strategy to help them get there. The more successful members are, the longer they’ll remain customers.
Save the date: Episode No. 46 of the Club Solutions Magazine podcast — release on April 19, 2022 — features special guest Sheldon McBee, the executive director of Universal Athletic Club, on the topic of Atomic Habits and the science of behavior change.