My sister and I often joke that what we really like about online shopping is tracking our packages. Receiving them is actually anti-climatic. I once ordered something from the US and tracked it as it made it's way across America to China before arriving at my door. It took two weeks to arrive. Apparently we aren't alone in our love of tracking. An article on Forbes website revealed we are willing to spend a lot of money to track how many steps we take each day. Projections on the future of wearable tech, indicates that 411 million smart wearable devices, worth a staggering $34 billion, will be sold by 2020. Most of these are wrist-based devices - smart watches and fitness trackers. Do you have one yet?
Tracking the right things can be helpful. Tracking is beneficial when our tracking helps us become better observers of how we are living our lives. It can help us keep in touch with reality. When you track something, you are saying it is important to you. It creates awareness. Tracking can help you identify trends, see what you need to change and keep you motivated. But there is a danger in tracking and that is when we measure ourselves and our worth based on those numbers. We can become fixated on getting in our steps or the number on the scale and lose the other benefits of taking care of ourselves. We can fall into measuring our value based on the number of followers or likes we have. Remember these numbers are not you. They are a snapshot of a reality of one aspect of your life at a certain point in time.Here are four questions to consider:
What are you currently tracking?
You might track how much water you drink or cookies we eat. You may track how much time you are online or watching TV. Pay attention to what you are tracking. It may surprise you that you are already tracking a lot of things. One of the common things we track as women is our menstrual cycle. Most women know the date of their last period. We track our periods when we are trying to conceive, trying not to conceive and when we are nearing menopause.
Why are you tracking?
Before you start to track anything make sure you are clear how those numbers will help you. What exactly will you be doing with that information? If you track your blood pressure what do you do with that information? Do you change your diet, do some meditation or deep breathing when it is high? Or do you simply just record it in an app? Establish a purpose for your tracking or don't bother with it. You've got enough to do!
I am currently reading The Curated Closet. I was inspired by a guest on Reframe Your Life, my weekly podcast to think more deeply about what was in my closet. . We interviewed Courney Carver from Project 333. In The Curated Closet, the author suggests taking a picture of what you wear every day for 14 days. I'm in the middle of that process. She suggests this practice as a way of getting perspective on what you actually wear. The picture provides a record to evaluate later. I'm on day 11 and I have already learned a lot about what I actually wear in my closet! Tracking what I wear is helping me curate my wardrobe. There is a reason for it.
What would you like to track?
On another episode we invited our listeners to think about tracking something a little different. Our guest has impacted many women with her work on moon cycles. Before you dismiss that as too 'woo-woo', she uses the moon as a way to establish rhythms in our lives. It is a fascinating idea. If you are interested the episode is here.
The point is there are many thing you can track: your money, your time, your weight, your sleep, your fitness routines, books read, water consumed, the things you are grateful for in your life,etc. I've tracked sunrises and sunsets in the winter months. I would write down the time each Sunday in my planner and remind myself that Spring would return! I've tracked headaches and times when I am feeling anxious trying to find root causes.
What are you avoiding tracking?
When you looked at the list of things that you could track you may have felt resistance around tracking something specific. As a rule, I avoid anything to do with finances! Recently another of my podcast guests, Ash Ahern, talked about how using debit and credit removes us from being in touch with our finances. I have started checking my bank balance every day. I've also started tracking my spending so I can have a better idea of how I am actually using my money.
I believe that tracking can be a way of increasing our awareness and helping us achieve our goals. It keeps us honest! Days and weeks go by. We can be highly distracted so much of the day. The minute we have nothing to do we reach for our phone to look at something on social media. Tracking is a way to reflect on how you are living each day. Write down what you want to track and simply check it off each day. There are many ways to track and many apps if you want to use them. I find the old school way of using a tracking sheet helpful. Print it out and keep it somewhere you will see it frequently to prompt you.