For the past 3 years I have been tracking a lot of personal data.
No not my online data, but my offline data.
I’ve been tracking various aspects of my life using a journal.
Honestly... because I enjoyed the concept of habit tracking but also because of my Bipolar disorder.
It is always recommended that people with bipolar keep a close eye on their moods via a mood log/tracker. So that was the first thing on my list.
Within a month I could seen how my patterns were showing a bigger picture.
I started tracking other things I wanted to improve... like my weight, body fat, muscle mass, and my diet because I had also started on a fitness journey.
After a few months of tracking that I had already lost over a stone and I could attribute my new habits to the fact I was checking in on those goals daily.
This was so powerful I started tracking yet more things.
I started logging what I spent my time doing.
I logged the things I was thankful for each day.
I logged the things that were troubling me each day.
Soon I had so much data and when I looked through my journals I could see very clear patterns emerging. I could even start to predict when my moods were likely to change.
Today I noticed a small turn in my moods, one I might have discounted in the past, but this time because of all the other data I had I could see that I was tilting towards hypomania. This can be problematic because it causes very scattered thoughts, very strong impulses and unpredictability amongst other things when it is allowed to go on for too long. It can last weeks and a lot of damage can be done if someone is unaware. Thankfully I am now fully aware of my body and my mind and their rhythms and tendencies and so instead of feeling like I was being swept away on a wave of high mood I pulled on the brakes and made extra time to relax. Made sure I didn’t make any big decisions. Made sure I calmed my mind at every opportunity and now I’m heading to bed to get a good nights sleep!
Tomorrow I’ll be back to normal and it’s all because of my new found vigilance.
How could tracking more of your personal data help you?