Whether you're exercising, sticking with a budget or working on a scientific breakthrough, you need to document your successes, as well as chart what didn't work. Both provide valuable information. It helps you understand what works and also what doesn't work. Remember, there are no failures in the world if you use your findings, just information on what doesn't work to solve the problem or get your body its fittest.
Documenting your progress is extremely motivating.
Rather than judging your progress on the scales, which sometimes is deceptive and doesn't tell the whole story, people who track their progress have proof on paper that they're able to do far more than they could when they started. It's tough to remember how hard an exercise was when you started or how tired you were after doing just a few. When you have a written account it's clear that you've gone from 10 reps to 30 or lifted 30 pounds when just five was tough at first.
Documenting progress can change a workout to a challenge.
It seems everyone loves a game and enjoys conquering it and climbing the ladder to new levels. You see people on the bus, waiting in airports and even in the office playing their favorites and enjoying every minute of it. When you track your progress, you're creating a game, especially if you've built in benchmarks, indicating you've "leveled up." It adds fun to the equation and makes you look forward to each workout that could take you to a new level.
Document progress for the same reason trainers do.
Trainers track your progress so they know when to make the workout tougher. With each workout your fitness level improves to a small degree and when that improvement is enough, the trainer adjusts the workout to reflect the new level of fitness. When you track your workout, you're doing the same, looking for improvement to raise the bar. That way you'll always be working at maximum potential.
Tracking your workout helps prevent that workout from being repetitive, which can lead to plateauing as the body becomes more efficient doing it.
You can see how long it took to see progress when you track and make adjustments to improve progress. It's an important tool to get the most out of each workout.
Tracking keeps you more aware of your goals, helping you focus on it. Your head has to be into the workout as much as your body is to get the most benefit.
"Winners keep score" is an old saying that has merit. When you track, you're forced to record your progress, so you're more apt to try harder.