Health Change: Tracking Your Health Change – Part 3 of 4

September 20, 2022

By: Dr. Mary Rose Strickland
Physical Therapist | Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner

You started off evaluating why you want to make changes to your health, and wrote those down. You then identified if you were ready for change and put a plan together with specific goals that are measurable, and achievable. You wrote them down and shared them with a loved one who can support you. Now it’s time to identify steps that are going to build your bridge to success.

The goal you wrote may be an outcome-desired goal (lose x number of pounds) or it may be a behavior goal (walk 150 minutes per week). These are behaviors you can do and engage in regardless of an outcome, with the intent to drive progress towards your goal.

For example, if your overall goal is to lose weight, you’ll have to identify the steppingstones that are going to get you there. What are you going to do and how are you going to achieve that goal? Leading health behavior goals may include:

  1. Meal prepping ahead of time for the week.
  2. Eating 75% whole food, plant-based items on your plate each meal.
  3. Drinking 128 ounces of water per day.
  4. Moving my body with intent a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
  5. Getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night.

Or, if your goal is a behavior goal (to walk 150 minutes per week) your leading behaviors will look different:

  1. Schedule my walk time in my calendar on Sundays of each week.
  2. Keep a pair of walking shoes at my desk at work.
  3. Set my alarm for the week ahead, to include time to walk before work.

When it comes time to tracking your health changes, you’ll want to not only have a way to track progress towards your main goal, but to write down and track your leading behaviors towards that goal. At the end of the month, did you achieve your goal? If so, was it because you were consistent with your leading behaviors? If you did NOT achieve your goal, were you consistent with your leading behaviors? This can help you track success or identify areas for future improvement and focus.

There are a lot of great habit notebooks and fitness calendars out there that can help you organize your goals and track your leading behaviors. But a good old-fashioned notebook or binder can do the trick as well. Keep it simple. Write down your WHY at the top, followed by your goal with initial (start), date for check ins, final date for goal to track your overall progress. Then create a chart with your leading behaviors down as the row headers and then the days across as column headers and simply put a check mark to indicate “done” vs. “not done”.

Tracking this information is key in your health transformation journey. Interpreting and understanding your journey is what we will cover in our fourth and final article of this mini-series.

Health Change: Practical Application Tips:

  • Step 1: Write down why you want to change. Post it in a spot you can see each day.
  • Step 2: Write a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, and time bound. Share your goal and intentions with a loved one. Also post it in a spot that you can see.
  • Step 3: Identify leading behaviors that will ultimately get you closer to your goal. Ones that you can wake up each and every day and choose to engage and do, regardless of the progress (or lack thereof) to your main goal. Write these down in addition to your goal and find a simple way to track and reflect daily.

Dr. Mary Rose Strickland is a physical therapist and certified Lifestyle Medicine provider. She is currently accepting lifestyle medicine clients where she can help identify areas of health change, work with you to set up a plan for success, and guide you through necessary change to achieve your health goals. Reach out to her at or call 608.742.9356 to get more information or schedule an initial lifestyle medicine consultation.