In market research, we often use term “actionable analytics”. This means that you collect data and then analyze it with the intention to use results to solve real life problems. In other words, your analysis should result in some kind of action or decision. Likewise, in my case self-tracking is not about narcissism. It’s about studying myself to be happier, healthier, more efficient, productive and successful. My current self-tracking efforts emphasize certain aspects of my life that I am trying to improve, and in this post I will briefly describe what I am trying to achieve.
Body: Fitness, Diet and Health
It’s not a secret that the best way to stay healthy and have a great body is to maintain your diet and workout on a regular basis. I recently embarked on a quest to get a six pack, gain lean muscle mass, and improve my cardio endurance and core strength. This requires experimenting with different exercise routines and diet. To monitor the progress, I measure my body and performance on a weekly basis, with hope that data will show which diets and regimen work best. Tracking my diet is also an attempt to reduce my acid reflux symptoms. I am also trying to improve the quality of my sleep and reduce episodes of apnea. I believe that tracking my sleep data while experimenting with meditation, breathing exercises, binaural beats and herbal supplements could help me to achieve these goals.
Mind and Psyche
Mark Twain once said “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I believe that happiness is about living your life according to your personal priorities and values. In other words, by minimizing the dissonance between your perceived raison d’etre and how you actually live, you could achieve happiness and balance in your life. Evaluating my life priorities and establishing what makes me happy is one of my ongoing self-tracking projects, and I will discuss that in my future posts.
I am also trying to monitor my stress and experimenting with different methods to reduce it. Based on my observations, I learned that what matters the most is not the level of the stress, but rather what kind of stress it is. In one of the following posts I will share my approach to measuring stress. Among the other things I am tracking on regular basis are “feeling blue”, confidence, sociability, and self-esteem.
Finally, I am always on a lookout for new psychodiagnostic tests that could help me learn more about myself and build my psychological profile. I believe that understanding your basic psychological traits like personality type and locus of control is especially important if you are trying to change your lifestyle or modify your habits.
We all want to be financially independent. One of the first steps toward financial independence is strengthening your financial discipline. In order to save more money, you either make more or spend less. Tracking my expenses on a daily basis helps me to create more balanced budgets and reduce unnecessary expenses. I am also exploring different ways to measure and optimize consumption of other resources, and experimenting with different investment strategies, including stock trading. Lifestyle I am currently working on exploring different ways to log my everyday activities and situations, interaction with media and objects, and new experiences, and assess their impact on my life. What does my ideal weekend look like? What is more efficient, biking to work or taking subway? How much time do I spend reading books, listening to music, and watching Netflix? Which activities are most gratifying? The only way to answer these and many other similar questions is through self-tracking, and only now I am starting to explore this aspect of self.
Environment and World
I have always been curious about how environmental variables affect my psychological and physical state. Does weather affect my mood and performance? Do moon phases have to do anything with those “feeling blue” episodes I am experiencing occasionally? And, of course, it is important to understand my own impact on the surrounding environment, and my place in this world. In the future posts I will elaborate more on each of the facets mentioned above, sharing what specific characteristics I measure, how I measure them, and how I am using these data.