24th July, 2020
With the new “Changes” screen, Changes makes it easier than ever before to keep a daily journal, track your mood, and find clarity and reassurance around big decisions and changes in your life.
I have made a video introducing the new screen, or you can read on if that’s what you prefer.
Here it is as a Facebook video if you want to share there.
One of the most useful charts I’ve ever made of my mood was an overall mood trend. First, let me tell you how this chart helped me in the past.
On New Years Day, 2012 I woke up, hungover, after a pretty intense period of holiday drinking. As an experiment I wanted to give life without alcohol a go. As the weeks went on, I learned how to enjoy life without booze. Some things became more complicated. Like ordering at a bar (have you got anything non-alcoholic that isn’t 90% sugar?). But I saw my happiness take a sharp turn upwards. I put it on a chart. There’s something very convincing about a chart like that. So while many ex-drinkers feel nostalgic for what they see as “the good times” before they quit, I had enough data to know that those good times were pretty few and far between, so I kept going and never looked back.
But what I’ve created, what I’m talking about, is a tool that makes it easy for you to get similar insights into your own big decisions.
If you haven’t tried mood tracking before, let me talk about how it works with Changes.
Changes is a simple but sophisticated mood tracking tool combining all the best techniques I’ve figured out over the years.
You get a random reminder every day asking “how are you?”. There are lots of reasons this is cool but the best one is that you can just say how you’re feeling right now instead of having to somehow remember later in the day. So it doesn’t feel like a chore. And you don’t stop doing it.
It’s like sending a tweet. You can write as much or as little as you want. And if you use hashtags, you can individually rate each one. So if one thing is making you happy but something else isn’t, you can record that really easily. This was a big design breakthrough for me.
Many apps like this make it easy to track your data but after a while it can get too much to make sense of. Changes gives you a really easy way to slice up all this data in a way that makes perfect sense in terms of your progress through life.
So the new change to Changes is a screen called Changes that lets you look at your changes.
No really, it’s simple. You can see a trend line tracking your happiness. When you increase the smoothness you can see the overall trend. If you decrease, you can see more of the week-to-week turbulence.
A change marks a new period of your life. For example, quitting drinking. So you mark your change and now the app knows to split your data before and after that point. It can then give you a summary of your mood for each period of your life.
You can see the overall benefit as a percentage. The percentage might even start off negative - change can be difficult - but after a few weeks you’ll see the real result.
You can see the major events in your life. You can track your progress. By basing your story on hard data you can get a truer picture of yourself than a picture based on fuzzy memories. And you’ll see yourself in a way that fits better with the way other people do.
It’s hard to overstate the benefits of mood tracking - even just in terms of mindfulness and basic self-awareness it’s brilliant. But once you’ve been doing it for a while, with a good tool like my app, you’ll keep unlocking more possibilities. You’ll spend less time regretting or questioning your past decisions, waste less time on nostalgia, and you’ll be much less afraid to take your next big leap.
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