The Quantified Self – How To Become A Boss At Self Monitoring

Humans are generally pretty poor at making evaluations and estimations of real world stuff; our emotional brain takes on the task rather than our logic brain as the former is approximately 5 X more powerful than the latter. Ask any fisherman’s wife!

When discussing how fit a friend of mine was (or rather wasn’t) recently he claimed to be the fittest in our group as ‘he was on his feet all day, walking around a factory non stop’. He agreed that his waistline (which of course we could see hanging over his belt) wasn’t a good advert for his lifestyle, but that he believed none of us would keep up with him if we spent a day by his side. He was convinced that during any 8-hour shift he was walking at least ten miles. That night we decided to walk back from town rather than get a taxi. It may or may not surprise you to hear that our friend was struggling in the less than two-mile stroll with sore feet and shortness of breath. Being a good sport, he agreed I could share this to illustrate the point – We don’t estimate well.

The quantified self usually refers to modern methods of self-analysis such as smart watches and Bluetooth gadgets such as Fitbits and Garmin products, but it doesn’t all have to be Wi-Fi enabled and technological. Your bathroom scales and a pen and paper would be a good place to start, but do consider the technological assistance. Our phones go everywhere with us these days and services provided like ours at Waetugo are free to use.

Measuring our activities and ourselves more accurately, allows for a more scientific approach and taps into a small part of the brain called the pre frontal cortex, primarily involved in logical thought. This removes the emotional side of assessment and reduces the chance for human error and distortions of the facts, which are undoubtedly holding us back.

Here at Waetugo, our members have recognised that their own self-assessment has usually tripped them up on the way to their goals and dreams, allowing them to engage in behaviour and lifestyle choices that have kept their weight high and their fitness low. Accurate self-monitoring is a breakthrough behaviour; an empowering choice that puts you firmly back in the driving seat.

measuring-scales

So what’s the approach?

You are probably already weighing yourselves on a reasonably accurate set of scales rather than just guessing at your weight. If not change this right away. Now set a target weight in your profile pages and record a new weight as frequently as possible. You will then see a legitimate record of your weight. Try to weigh yourself every two to three days rather than waiting a week and let Waetugo plot the course of your progress for you – all you have to do is log in and type the new weight in. Even if it goes up, still record it – small blips are to be expected and when you look back having overcome a few challenges will be all the sweeter. When monitoring yourself accurately you cannot cherry pick!

happy-scales-measure

Keep a journal. There’s a reason why we give you a free journal at Waetugo and it’s all about more accurate record keeping, as we cannot know what needs to change unless we have the facts. If you snack on chocolate record it. If you overcome the desire to snack record this too. If you eat take away three times a week, it goes in the journal. If you want to address your eating habits you need to have an honest representation of what they are. Many of us when reporting our eating habits identify with a recent healthy week rather than what is the norm or suggest that a ‘bad week’ was just that rather than accept that this is probably a habit. Record it honestly and accurately.

Activity trackers are a favourite of ours here at Waetugo. Measuring steps taken each day or flights of stairs climbed gives us super accurate details of how much we’ve moved about.

Our chief technical officer likes to row and recognises that an accurate rowing machine computer is absolutely necessary when the coach comes to pick the team. If he relied on everyone’s own guess at their best time his decision would be considerably less well informed than looking at data churned out by the computers.

rowing-machine-measure

If you don’t want to invest in this kind of device then simply time your walk or count the flights of steps you climb – this takes a little more thought but can still be very useful – much better than simply believing you ‘walk miles everyday’.

It takes a bit of a change to get into measuring and recording but the results can be profound.

If you have any other ways of making useful measures, please feel free to add them in the comments below.

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