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Purpose, Efficacy, Control: Track Mental Health in WHOOP Journal

May 29, 2020

Track purpose, efficacy and control through WHOOP's recently updated Journal feature.

By Kristen Holmes

WHOOP recently updated the app’s Journal Feature to give our members the opportunity to track their mental health on a daily basis by monitoring three core psychological needs: Purpose, efficacy and control. What do these mean exactly? In short:

Purpose: Do your environment, work and relationships provide you with an outlet to live your values?

Efficacy: Do you believe that you have the skills and resources to produce a desired or intended result?

Control: Do you feel as though you have autonomy and choice over your day/schedule/life?

The WHOOP Journal can track if you feel a sense of purpose each day.

Every day, the journal gives you a chance to log a response to each of these as “yes, strong,” “yes, somewhat,” or “no.”


Be aware and honest about what is most important to you. Rather than trying to “discover” who you are, “decide” who you are. Knowing what matters to you and who matters to you brings clarity to your decision making and allows you to focus your time, energy and attention in a way that is in line with your core values.

Here’s an exercise to help you construct an honest reflection of your interior life, then remind you how to stay true to your path. Expose yourself to 5-6 “best-self” words (for example, honest, peaceful, present, tolerant, patient, grateful) as often as possible (put them in your phone where you will see them or in a notebook, bookmark, etc). Think about what type of actions will help you get closer to being the person you want to be and enlist the support of people you trust to help keep you accountable.

So, when answering the WHOOP Journal question: Feel a sense of purpose?


  • Feel a clear life purpose that aligns with behaviors, values and goals
  • Take initiative to plan and prioritize tasks with clear motivation and intent
  • Adopt behaviors that enable the “energy” and “time” to live values



  • Understand purpose and attempt to align values and behaviors
  • Often need approval and direction to stay on the path



  • Are unsure of purpose and how to prioritize tasks
  • Often get pulled away from process and become focused on outcomes
  • Seek validation and attention from hollow sources


Your brain has “default settings,” optimize them! One’s “self efficacy” is the biggest predictor of success in a specific task. The path to efficacy is about creating a flexible mindset that builds better models as it gathers more data about reality.

Beliefs inform how you experience the world. They tell you how important you are, what you are capable of, your role in society, etc. If beliefs about your current state or your thoughts about the future are limited or faulty, your human potential will be diminished. There is ample research that shows practicing gratitude, choosing an optimist view point, and adopting a mindset that growth/future learning is possible greatly predict success and overall potential for happiness.

When the Journal asks: Feel you have the resources/skills to complete daily goals?


  • Recognize strengths and barriers without judgement and actively work to build competencies
  • Are quite competent but also comfortable and confident asking for help when needed
  • Practice gratitude, believe growth is possible and are optimistic



  • Mostly recognize strengths and barriers without judgement
  • Work to build competencies and understand how to ask for help
  • Generally feel optimistic and have a growth-oriented mindset



  • Consistently under or over value “self”
  • Are unaware of barriers and strengths, and unsure how to ask for help
  • Lack a positive, growth oriented mindset


“Happiness” is internal. When we feel “in control” over our aspirations, dreams and goals our self-image improves and stabilizes.There are a lot of ways to define “happiness.” One is to think of it as a state where your mind is not wandering off looking for voids to fill. The idea is to develop habits and a way of thinking that position you to focus on your internal state more than external circumstances.

Be mindful that habits accumulate and we get more and more attached to them over time. It is important to recognize when a habit is not working for you and be able to uncondition yourself. Habits, especially the ones that don’t upgrade our lives, tend to be tough to break. Ask for help!

Feel in control of your life?


  • Are able to spend time and energy on things that bring you joy and inspiration
  • Understand your priorities and as a result have a platform to make decisions that align with your values and goals



  • Spend some time and energy on what brings you joy or inspiration
  • Understand priorities but often allow yourself to get pulled into the agenda of others



  • Feel very little control over your life in general
  • Have levels of joy and energy that are very inconsistent
  • Are unsure how your habits contribute to your well-being

Incorporating a daily reflection on how you’re feeling related to purpose, efficacy and control can help prompt the behaviors that support and foster these core psychological “needs.” In turn, it will likely improve your overall well being and allow you to perform better in everything you do.

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Kristen Holmes

Kristen is the VP Performance Science at WHOOP. Before joining WHOOP in 2016, she was the Head Field Hockey Coach at Princeton University. One of the most successful coaches in Ivy League history, Kristen won 12 league titles in 13 seasons, and one National Championship. She was also a 3x All American and a 2x Big 10 Athlete of the year at the University of Iowa, competing in both Field Hockey and Basketball Previously a 7-year member of the U.S. National Field Hockey Team, Kristen blends her background in athletics, coaching, performance technology, psychology and sports performance to drive research and partnership initiatives to strengthen WHOOP as a leader in Human Performance.