Saturday, June 23, 2012

Measurement and Motivation

I am not a numbers guy, but I am a gadget guy.  Lately my love of gadgets has been teaching me the value of numbers, and more importantly, the value of measurement and tracking when it comes to achieving goals.

Is the Weight Over?

As someone who has always been "big boned" (read: overweight) I work very hard to be health conscious.  I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and vegan for the past 5, and generally I eat well and healthy.  I go to the gym, run and bike ride regularly.  Yet still, the older I get, the harder it seems to be to drop weight.  However, I recently lost 10 pounds and I attribute my sudden success to my gadgets.

Satellites and Smartphones

Even before every smartphone was GPS enabled I used a bulky Garmin GPS watch to track my walks, runs and bike rides.  While it was fun to know how far and fast I went, the data stayed on the watch and I didn't really watch it, except when I was in the midst of exercising.  When my smartphone became GPS enabled, I gave up the Dick Tracy sized watch and starting using apps such as CardioTrainer and RunKeeper to keep track of my physical activities.  With the smartphone it became easy to share my exercise progress on Facebook and Twitter, which led to lots of "moral support" from friends and followers - a great motivator. But still, I was not losing any weight...

Steps Count, And Make You Accountable

When the first FitBit came out I was intrigued.  I had tried a standard pedometer before, but found it inaccurate, and a bit boring.  But the first FitBit had received some mixed reviews and I decided to pass.  Instead, when Jawbone introduced the UP bracelet I was sold.  I own a few great Jawbone products already so I had high hopes for the UP, and liked the idea of a smart bracelet that could be worn all the time.  And I loved the UP... while it worked.  As you may have read, the UP turned out to be a downer, with Jawbone maturely acknowledging its flaws and taking them all back for a full refund.  So it was back to the FitBit, and by now the much improved Fitbit Ultra was available.  I love my FitBit the accompanying software and apps, and being able to see my steps and progress.  I also have a Nike Fuel band and a Motorola MOTOACV gps sports-watch (yeah, I am a gadget geek).  The bottom line is, no matter which device you choose to use, tracking your daily movement will change your behavior, and changing behavior is the best way to lose weight and improve your fitness.

A Daily Race Against Time

All these fitness trackers generally re-set to "0" at midnight, and I find myself frequently taking late-night jogs or extended walks with the dogs just to make sure I hit my daily number, and that, I think, is the magic benefit of tracking your activity.  Knowing where you stand (or move) at any given moment makes you far more likely to take that extra step to hit an attainable daily goal.

Lesson Learned

I am enjoying tracking my Fuel, steps, miles and calories and, based on my experience watching the numbers for my personal fitness, I am finding myself becoming more focused on metrics and measurement in business as well.  The same principles apply.  If your goal is clearly defined, and you know exactly where you stand at any given moment, then you are far more likely to put in the extra effort to make sure you reach that goal.

I'll always be a gadget guy, but now my gadgets have made me more interested in being a numbers guy too...  How about you?  How do you track your fitness and business goals?

*Note: Some product links above are Amazon Affiliate links to help support my Gadget habit...Thanks!

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