This past two years have been really crazy for me. I’m still getting treated for Lyme Disease, I got engaged, now I’m planning a wedding, and buying a house. A lot is happening, and when you add that onto the ever present task of bettering yourself, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. So I’ve been working on methods to stay on top of everything and I’m going to share the few things that have worked best for me.
Charting is something a lot of doctors suggest people with mental health problems do to track their moods and anxieties. I’ve had to do it for that in the past, luckily my mental health is pretty stable at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that charting hasn’t still been useful for my health overall. I’ve been using it to track progress with my lyme disease, as well as track what causes me to feel bad. For example, I’ve started creating a little list of things I’ve eaten that day in the corner of my planner, that way I can still see if gluten or sugar is effecting me like it used to (and I’m proud to say it’s not! It’s gotten a lot better).
I also have been using my planner to write down everything I’ve done that day, and I mean almost everything. I’m not just writing down appointments or lunch dates, I’m writing down whether or not I’ve walked the dog, what hobbies I did that day, whether or not I ate out for lunch. Having your day written down like that helps you track a lot of different things. It helps me track my energy levels in response to my lyme treatment, but it also helps me stay accountable for diving back into my hobbies.
One of my big goals this year was to spend less time mindlessly scrolling and more time doing the actives I love. It’s easy to let those yearly goals fade into nothing, but seeing how I’m spending my time has made me more accountable and less likely to waste it because nobody likes looking at a schedule entry that says “wasted two hours on my phone.” Charting your every move can really open your eyes to how you live, and even if you don’t have any lofty goals now, charting can help you create them by seeing the patterns that already exist in your daily life.
There are a lot of ways to chart things, I prefer to do it all in my planner so I don’t have to keep up with a lot of different notebooks, but I know that a lot of people have succeeded with keeping a notebook that they check things off of before bed. I also know that there are a lot of apps out there, and it would surprise me if there wasn’t a few good habit tracking ones.
Writing down everything in my planner sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. When it comes to my diet for the day I put a little “gf” and “sf” in the corner for gluten free or sugar free, or a “v” or a “f” for whether I got my daily veggies and fruits. It’s an easy way to track these things without taking up a lot of room. In that same sense I’ve been putting like “p” in the top corner of my planner for whether I prayed or not that day, since I’ve been trying to pray at least once a day.
Again, there are a lot of ways to chart, but I’ve found that the act of charting itself is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable for the things you’ve done and the things you’ve said you’ll do. So break out a pen or download an app. It’s time to get to that self-improvement and better health.