30 Day Experiment: Tracking Moods

I like to run experiments. In the past, I would take 30 days and try to do something completely different or take that time and try to get a new habit going. I have done everything from giving up sugar to publishing a blog post every day. I like trying to find little pockets of the day that will make me uncomfortable and try and take me out of my comfort zone.

I had been feeling a bit stale lately. I was using the Calm app and saw a new feature that would allow me to check-in with how I was feeling. It was like a mood check-in. I thought it was an interesting idea, and it gave me a great new idea for an experiment.

For those who have never used, Calm offers a pleasing app experience. The app’s main purpose is for mediations and sleep, but there are a host of other wellness components that make it an interesting use. Plus, whenever you open it, you don’t feel like you are using a phone. It feels like you go to this different zone of Zen in the world that is not your day-to-day madness.

I configured the app to send me a push notification every day at 8:00 p.m. to ask how I was feeling that day. The app allows you to tag your day and add some notes. You can tag it with all the things that would bring you joy or pain: work, relationships, money etc.

Here is why I love setting up challenges for myself. For the first few days of this experiment, I didn’t really notice anything. After day two, it was just a notification in the sea of attention-grabbing nonsense on my phone. But I stuck with it, and every night at 8:00 p.m. (or close to it), I would log and tag those entries. Then I started making myself but a note and start tagging more. That was when Calm changed and became more than just an app.

The day that I took this screenshot wasn’t a particularly good day, so I picked the stress emoji. But I forced myself to tag all of these things and write little notes. There had to be something there.

I didn’t know what to say at first. I didn’t want to be honest with the app. I wanted to lie. But I just held my phone in front of my face and forced myself to take that pause and spend 30 seconds just asking myself, “How am I feeling tonight?”

I didn’t want to look back until I had some data to look at, so I waited two weeks before I looked back at the data, and the results shocked me. But it did make me press pause every day, and that I am grateful for.