Tracking: What can I track and why would I bother?

I’m a numbers girl, I always have been. I love to see patterns and track progress. Tracking does more than satisfy my geeky tendencies, I believe it can genuinely help you/me/us to achieve our goals.

The first step in making progress is to truly appreciate where you’re at now. It’s all too easy to forget about the odd chocolate you take from the cake table at work when you’re trying to work out why you put on a couple of pounds this week. Tracking makes you take responsibility, it makes you accountable for your decisions. When you have a specific goal in mind, you can see what modifications you need to make to get there.

8 things worth tracking and why

  1. Food – Writing down what you eat increases awareness and you may actually see changes just by doing this alone (the thought of having to write down that you’ve had it might be enough for you to refuse that extra biscuit!). It also gives you a good idea of where you might be going “wrong”… Are you seeing a distinct lack of protein in your diet?
  2. Sleep – There are loads of apps available to help track this. Having a good nights sleep is so important for a productivity and the overall sense of well-being.
  3. Steps – Get yourself a pedometer, a smartwatch or just check in on the fit/health app on your phone. See how many steps you take on a day-to-day basis and then challenge yourself to increase it. These aren’t always accurate, but it gives you a good idea how much you’ve moved over the day.
  4. Water intake – Keeping track of your water intake can be as simple as filling up a bottle in a morning and making sure you drink it all before you go to bed. The benefits of staying well hydrated are huge.
  5. Alcohol intake – I believe that the odd drink here and there isn’t going to be hugely detrimental to your health, but excessive alcohol consumption and periods of binge drinking can be very harmful to your health (including high blood pressure, liver disease and mental health problems). If you think you may drink a little more than is maybe healthy for you then maybe give tracking a go.
    Drinkaware is an independent UK-wide alcohol education Charity, they have some great resources on their website including an alcohol tracking app.
  6. Fitness – Number of push-ups etc. – Tracking your fitness is a great way of seeing progress. Record what you achieve and then go back and look through the figures at a later date, set yourself a target.
  7. Temperature – useful for fertility tracking (if your thermometer is accurate enough).
  8. Feelings – This is a great thing to record, especially when combined with the other things on this list. Why did I feel really down in the dumps today? Oh look, I only got 5 hours of sleep, I skipped breakfast and all the food I had was beige!

Do you track? What benefits have you seen from tracking? Let me know in the comments below.