In an information-driven, technology-obsessed world, there seems to be an app or gadget to track just about everything we do. I say that as I just checked my step count on my FitBit (3,885 -- wowza I’m lazy today) and scanned my fancy Lean Cuisine lunch into my Lose It app.
There are other apps and gizmos that let you keep track of nursing schedules (even which side!), diaper changes, chore habits, caffeine intake, sleep patterns, exercise, driving routes ... basically everything.
Ernesto Ramirez is a self-tracking devotee who recently organized a two-day conference in San Francisco on the subject. He says, “I think there’s an overall trend toward curiosity and proving knowledge of one's self in the world.”
Pediatricians are getting in on it, encouraging new parents to use apps to track newborn sleeping and eating patterns, and send the data in before appointments. “In the first few weeks, parents are so tired. It's really hard for them to give you objective data," pediatrician Natasha Bugert said.
But do these things actually motivate you to make healthier choices? Maybe. I try to track my calories because by the time dinner and dessert come around, I can’t remember what my middle name is, let alone what all I ate for breakfast. I have a FitBit so that in the off-chance I decide to get moving, it syncs with Lose It and I get to eat more.
Then again sometimes I say screw it and pour myself a second glass of wine, grab a giant piece of cheese and some crackers, and call it a day.
The moral of the story is that tracking tools are cool, but they can’t change your behavior. Only you can do that.
Do you track your everyday activities?
Image via James Leynse/Corbis