Track it, Improve it

In my work life, I've learned that when you're stuck in the day-to-day grind, it's hard to see the big picture and understand the overarching storyline at play.  By tracking and monitoring daily metrics, over time you can identify and understand patterns, cause and effect relationships and hopefully potential areas for improvement.

I didn't realize it at first, but I began applying some of this kind of thinking in tackling my own mental health issues.  For instance, being prone to major depressive episodes already AND in the early stages of understanding how taking an antidepressant is helping me, I've known that I needed to essentially stop drinking, but the logic didn't hit home with me enough for it to stick. I knew the 'right answer', but didn't believe it in my heart to be true. 

I began tracking drinking days vs. non drinking days on a paper calendar hanging in the kitchen, by marking a smiley face on sober days.  Initially, my goal was to have more sober days than drinking days in the month.  But I also quickly noticed a correlation.  I found that my drinking days also tended to coincide with, or preceed days when the depression struggle was worse.  That's when things started to change.  That's when I started to really understand that I needed to make some lifestyle adjustments.  

Don't worry - this isn't the end for the beer lover in me.  This just means I need to be extra particular about where I spend my limited number of daily sips ;)

It's not as simple as, "if you track it, it will be fixed".  Nothing about battling depression is that simple or effortless.  Here's how I see it: if you're willing to put forth the effort to simply start tracking something about yourself in the hopes of eventually improving it, chances are you'll eventually be willing to put forth the effort to doing things to actually start improving it.  That's true of me anyways.  Fighting depression is about lots and lots of little victories.

I should note that there are mood tracking apps, journals, etc out there.  None of that's ever quite appealed to me or 'stuck' with me.  I've considered my own spreadsheet version of something similar, cause apparently I'm a nerd.  But hey, I have to do what feels right for me otherwise I'm not going to stick with it.  


My point in all of this is that it's extremely important to understand oneself and taking the time to track things about yourself can help greatly and provide the spark of inspiration necessary to improve that 'metric'.


Cheers friends.  Be well.  Spread Love.

What would Yoda do?

Time for a change?