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Resetting my health goals and tracking.

Good afternoon, readers. It has been a long time since my last self-portrait. I have been so thoroughly brain-focused lately as I finish up the semester that I just needed a little bit of something tangible, a note to myself that non-brain parts of me exist.

As soon as I started thinking about that, I started thinking about how much I miss enjoying the non-brain parts of me, like the sweet moment where my body stops fighting the exertion process. I miss that space right before the endorphins hit, where everything and nothing feels, just feels, all at once.

Then I realized how long it had been since I felt that all-at-once space.

I got distracted, very distracted, by toys on my quest for better health. No surprise there. I like toys and I like data and I like tracking data with toys. But between Fitbit, HealthMonth, SparkPeople, DailyMile, and RunKeeper … I’ve lost the motivation to Do amidst all the Record.

self-portrait, april 2011 So I’ve reset. I’m using two tools now: SparkPeople for physical metrics and The Ice Plant’s Five-Year Diary for everything else.

SparkPeople was the first health-tracking website I joined a few years ago. Initially I was pretty turned off by the design, which seemed cluttered and ridden with things I didn’t need like homepages and message boards. I still think it could stand a redesign, but I like that it is a one-stop shop for tracking exercise, food/water consumption, and overall health goals. I also like the book and the iPhone app. Everything about SparkPeople seems focused on being positive about being healthy, which I appreciate immensely.

So far as the other type of health, I have always kept a diary, but my diary goals have simplified over the years. I used to want to archive it all, but there are many dull moments that I do not need to preserve for posterity. (Insert self-deprecating aside about my tweets.) I do, however, see a bit of value in comparing snapshots of my mental state over a few years. If nothing else, I hope to discern cognitive patterns more easily this way.

Here comes the five-year diary, making that stylish and easy for me. And I get to use my pens. The paper isn’t the best for fountain pen ink, but it is better than average. I like – theoretically, at least, for a few years – the ability to see little moments from my past right there on the same page.

So that’s where I am right now. And you? How do you track your health goals?

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