I want to share a fun, yet organized method to help you keep track of your fitness goals. The gold star system can be used for any achievement and was created to help keep daily tasks visible and goals in front of you. Whether you are an Olympian or a novice, the gold star system can help make your desires more achievable while keeping things fun.
What Is It?
The gold star system (GSS) is essentially a chore calendar, similar to the ones mom or dad used on the fridge. As adults, myself and my fiancee decided to implement it around two years ago to better keep track of our diet, workout schedule and goals. The GSS is a monthly calendar (either on paper or a whiteboard) that displays your daily tasks. Once you complete your tasks at the end of the day, you put a gold star on that date in the calendar to mark your success. This gives a great sensation of a job well done while also tracking your journey to success. No matter how old, how experienced or how childish this may seem, it's still one of the more fun and organized ways to achieve goals. Curious how to make it work for fitness? Say no more.
How It Works
1) Get Yourself a Paper or Whiteboard CalendarGo to your local dollar store and pick up a giant pad of blank monthly calendars. If you have a whiteboard, you can draw out each month before wiping it away. I personally like paper because you can file and track monthly accomplishments. For whiteboard users, take a picture with your phone to look back on later. Remember to buy some gold star stickers! 2) Write Your TasksThis will take some time. Write down your long term and short term goals. Once you make a list, break down your goals into chunks. Keep them realistic and measurable so as to track them.
Once you have a list, write down your monthly, weekly and daily goals on your blank calendar. Yes, you must fill in as many squares as possible. Include daily tasks (fold laundry, take out the trash) and your daily workouts (3x10 Squats, 2x20 Pushups,etc.) to fill the squares. Athletes can write out practice or training session tasks (sink 100 free throws after practice, do 5 extra sprints after morning lift). Feel free to write out your daily meal plan so you know what to prepare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 3) Write Your RulesThink of Monopoly. Everyone has their own set of house rules to play on. Some say pass GO before buying properties, others say only the little kids can buy Boardwalk (very unfair I think).
Write out your own personal rules for your GSS. For example, our set of rules a year ago stated we must not consume sugar if listed in the first three ingredients and we must exercise moderately intense for at least 30 minutes everyday. If we did those two things, we were eligible for a gold star. Make your rules and be prepared to stand by them. Keep them personal, specific and purposeful. If you don't, you will likely not adhere to them. You wouldn't break a promise to yourself so show some discipline and respect your rules. 4) Review and CompleteIf you followed the steps, you should now have a large monthly calendar with a written set of rules and daily tasks to accomplish for the day.
From this point on, you follow your calendar and complete your tasks. When you finish your day, review your calendar. Did you accomplish your list? Did you follow your rules? If yes, congratulations. You get a gold star. If not, review why you didn't accomplish what needed to get done. Review why you broke your rules and what you can do to make up for it. Hey, you owe it to yourself to make things right. 5) Check Off Weekly and Monthly AchievementsPretend it's like XBox. You hit a certain level or beat a number of bosses, you get an achievement trophy. This is very similar. If you accomplish your weekly or monthly goal, reward yourself. For example, if your weekly goal was to do 100 push ups, you've earned an achievement. If your monthly goal was to be able to squat 300 pounds, you've earned an achievement.
Feel free to get creative! After all, it's you rewarding yourself. Perhaps you've earned a spa day or maybe that new computer you've wanted. Whatever it is, keep it personal. Bonus points if you keep it fitness and health worthy as well!
It's up to you really. If possible, try to keep the GSS going as long as you can (or as long as you can afford stickers). It's a surprisingly simple way to keep yourself motivated and on track to accomplish what you've set out to do. Remember to start small and keep it meaningful. Try having your family take part in it with you! Include family tasks and use a different color sticker to symbolize accomplishment.
There are endless ways to make the GSS your own and make it successful. Happy sticking! If you need ideas to help kick start your own GSS, reach out to Iron Athletics and we'll help you out. If you want to stay updated with all our latest and greatest content, subscribe to our newsletter below!