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6 Tips From Fitness Device Super Users

Tip No. 3: Track With a Goal in Mind continued...

“I used tracking to become my own coach,” says Cheng, a San Francisco entrepreneur. (You can check out the video of her progress on YouTube, if you're not one of the 3.5 million who have already seen it.)

She used the web site Lift.do to track her practice and relied heavily on self-recording. “Each day, I used video to record my performance, and I watched it to find what I was doing that worked and what was tripping me up,” Cheng says.

She recommends focusing on your work in progress, not on your final performance. Focus on just one change or improvement until you master it, then move on to the next. You may need to tweak your goal, too.

Cheng also benefited from some quantified data during her training period. Based on data tracked by the SleepCycle app, she changed her sleeping habits. As a result, she was more alert, which improved her ability to learn those new moves!

Tip No. 4: Turn Data Into Motivation

Fun makes a difference, too. “We all like to feel like we’re winning or succeeding. So look for apps or trackers with a gamification angle,” says Alex Ince-Cushman, who tracks everything from sleep to exercise to time on his computer.

“For example, I set my tracker’s target goal to 3,000 points a day. [Points are how the Nike FuelBand keeps track of activity.] There have definitely been days when I was close but not quite there, and I ended up squeezing in a short run to get over my self-imposed arbitrary line,” Cushman says.

Many people work harder when they have a number to push against. Quantification --counting and measuring -- can urge you to spend more and more time working toward your goals.

Tip No. 5: Seek Advice If You Need It

Don’t discount the value of community, especially if you have a significant goal.

“Increasingly, physicians, nutritionists, and trainers are incorporating tracking into their offerings,” says Paul Abramson, MD, a QS enthusiast. If you end up with more data than you know what to do with, they can help.

You can also get support and info from quantifiedself.com. This web site hosts meetup groups in cities and communities around the world. It's a collaboration between users and makers of self-tracking tools.  Also check out:

  • Experimental.com: The blog for the app AskMeEvery, which helps users track daily behaviors, emotions, and actions.
  • Quora.com: This site allows you to post questions and get answers from users with first-hand experience. It has quite a few questions and answers about the Quantified Self movement as well as about specific fitness devices and apps.
  • The QS Facebook group or the Linkedin QS group

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