1. The Digital Mirror: A written commitment is a powerful tool when it comes to motivation. That power is enhanced when the commitment, and our failure or success in achieving it, is shared with others. Today, we can broadcast our weight, whereabouts, current song selections, and our latest meal over social media. You’re more likely to maintain your motivation to lose weight when you know your friends can see your gains and losses on an easy-to-read graph.
There more than 17,000 health and fitness applications in the Android and iTunes marketplaces. Exercise applications such as RunKeeper enable seamless pacing, tracking and scoring of workouts. My favorite when I go hiking is MotionX GPS—in addition to keeping track of how much and how fast I’ve walked, it remembers where I’ve been. Others like Skimble provide tracking and virtual coaches from a large library of workouts. There are apps for tracking your dietary indiscretions or to brag about your veggie intake. For example, The Eatery, enables you to crowd-source the healthiness of your meals. And for helping you count calories, there’s LoseIt—which claims that the average user loses 12 pounds.
2. Self-Tracking Devices: Logging in and recording data points have long been a barrier to self-tracking. Consider this barrier all but eliminated.
Web-connected scales like Withings, and blood pressure cuffs like iHealth, communicate with your smartphone and Web browser, recording your data with every use. They can also be configured to share your vital stats via e-mail or Twitter. For those who need to track blood sugars, the FDA just approved
iBGStar, a glucometer integrated with the iPhone.
3. Move it or Lose it: The most effective therapy for depression, poor sleep, arthritic knees, heart disease, prevention of Alzheimer’s and many other disorders is exercise. As little as 30 minutes of active walking per day can make a massive difference in your health and longevity.
Wearable devices like the ‘FitBit’, which I use and which constantly motivates me to walk more, JawBone’s ‘Up’, and the pending ‘Basis’ heart rate and motion monitor, track the number of steps you take, calories you burn, and miles you walk. These devices provide dashboards, connect to your social networks and allow you to set goals and targets. Company divisions or work groups can leverage the social component to foster friendly competition. Meanwhile, new start-ups are emergingto engage and reward those who do.