The power of tracking and recording


Umang Chhatrola

Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) Teacher

Once a man was riding a horse. As he passed by a wise sage, the sage asked, “Where are you going?”The man replied, “I don’t know. Ask the horse.” As funny as it may sound, that’s the present condition of most of us. We are simply being led by our whims and fancies instead of thought-out goals and behaviours.

Our character and destiny are shaped by our habits. Habits are the actions we take repeatedly and automatically. We may not be completely aware of them. To some extent, this serves us because we cannot afford to consciously take virtually an infinite number of tiny decisions throughout the day. It is good that we can brush our teeth, drive the car etc automatically after a reasonable learning period. However, there are habits that can drag us down the road to failure if we are not aware of them.

These habits seem to have a very little immediate consequence. That is one of the reasons why they remain unnoticed. But, because they are habits, they have huge cumulative results. For example, we do not instantly become diabetic by consuming a small cup of ice-cream. But if we start eating it regularly, it can soon become a habit and we wouldn’t even be aware of it. Spending a few minutes on social media just like that wouldn’t be too big an issue. But, every time we do it, we are strengthening the habit and soon we may be wasting hours without knowing about it.

So, what can we do to prevent negative beahviours from dragging us down ?

Awareness is the first step towards change. That’s where the habit of tracking and recording helps. It is simple to do. We just have to keep a record of our behavior in whichever area we intend to improve. For example, if we suspect that we are wasting time doing a lot of unnecessary and unproductive activities, we can pause for a couple of minutes every few hours and record where we spend our time. This is a technique used by senior management professionals to get most out of their time. With a simple practice like this, we will bring more awareness into the situation. It is very easy to save time (and money also!) once we realize where it is being wasted. We can apply this practice to any area of our life.

Let us keep in mind that this practice is so simple that is very easy to put off or ignore. We will get results only if we implement it in our lives. Let us find out what the horse is doing and where it is taking us.

In fact, we at Zifcare have introduced a journal cum mood tracker in this app itself. We hope you like it !

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Rohit Chopra
Hey Umang this is a great article ! Do you have any specific techniques to track habits ?
Umang Chhatrola
Well, we can have as many techniques as we like. At the root of them all lies the principle of bringing more awareness into our habits and routines. What matters is not how much time we spend reflecting in a journal but how much our awareness grows. In fact, we are already doing it with our meditation. So contemplating for a few minutes with our journal/record-book or any other tools can be enough. If there are specific areas that we want to focus, we can write about them also and record our behaviour in those areas. We can record our diet, exercise routine etc. Then we will know what we are actually doing with our time and resources. That knowing is the ’growth in awareness’ that we are talking about. How does it help? Well, next time around when we are putting something in our mouth, we will have a choice. With better awareness we can make better choices.
Rohit Chopra
Hey thanks for the explanation !