To transform your health, start by tracking it

Raise your hand if you are wearing a health or fitness tracker right now. These tiny, wearable computers are becoming more common and collect data on an array of things that matter to our health.

If you’re not tracking your health, let’s talk about why you should – and what aspects of your health can be helpful to monitor. There are many factors that impact our bodies and overall health, so keeping a health journal can help you build a baseline and monitor changes over time.

Fitness

This one is a no brainer. A simple calendar can help you set goals, create a plan and keep yourself accountable. Additionally, your smartwatch or fitness tracker can help you stay motivated by monitoring your steps or logging that sweaty yoga class you like. A Harvard Medical School article on the subject notes that seeing your activity levels over time motivates you to keep building on your accomplishments – and that the added benefit of tracking your heart rate during exercise can help you keep track of the intensity of your workouts.

Mental health

The University of Rochester Medical Center suggests keeping a mood journal to check in with yourself daily. This can be as easy as jotting down a one-sentence review of your day. You can then use it in conjunction with your sleep and fitness tracking to identify triggers for stress, depression and anxiety.

Sleep

Most fitness trackers on the market have the ability to track your sleep and report on the number of hours you slept and when you woke up at night. If you want to change your sleep habits, keep a sleep diary and log information such as nighttime snacking and screen time.

Tracking your everyday activities can help you create a picture of your overall health. It also keeps you aware of your actions and choices, helps you stay motivated and keeps you accountable to your personal goals.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get tracking!