Whether it be a Fitbit, Apple watch, Garmin, Whoop or something similar, most tech will be constantly collecting a raft of data points throughout the day and night and all of this data can be game changing when it comes to changing and maintaining healthy habits.
All you need to do is make sure you find the most efficient way to use the information.
One of the simplest ways is to set and track your daily steps and / or activity levels but for most devices this is merely scratching the surface of what they're capable of.
Whatever technology you use, it should link to a profile page or dashboard on your phone or online where you can view it on your laptop, tablet or desktop computer.
Most dashboards can, and should be, customised so you can view and monitor the information that's of most interest to you.
For most people, the data they choose to track will be a combination of metrics covering activity, food, stress levels and sleep. You can see a typical layout in the image above.
The key to success with all of this data is to follow a very simple 4-step routine:
Review your data regularly. Ideally this will be a fixed point in the week.
Pinpoint the specific changes you'd like to make to improve or stabilise each element of your data
Make notes on the behaviour changes you make so that each subsequent time you review your data, you have a clear understanding of what specific actions are leading to the results you see for each data point.
This helps you to shape and refine your precise and personal plan for success in all areas for the long term future.
Reviewing the data should be a weekly fixture, marked clearly in your calendar and protected. It doesn't take long but this review can be crucial in guiding many of your decisions and choices throughout the week.
It's also helpful to take a screenshot each week so that you can build up a picture of what a good week looks like in response to a variety of different types of week that you experience. No two weeks are likely to be the same after all.
Over time you'll come to know the routines that work during a busy week in the office, or any week where you might be traveling or working on specific projects, and you'll become familiar with the behaviours you gravitate towards at different times of the month and year.
You'll see how the balance of your activities may alter slightly with the seasons and you'll build up an understanding of when it's best to focus and prioritise healthy habits a little more than usual, and when it's best to ease off because other things in your weekly schedule may be more pressing at this time.
All of this enables you to plan your activities and results with more accuracy, and manage your expectations from week to week. Both of which lead to a more effective, more personalised and realistic and, more sustainable action plan.
The other benefit of cataloguing the weekly data is that, should your routine take a knock for some reason - and this could be something positive as well as negative - you have a ready template of the behaviours you need to re-establish to ensure you're back on track quickly.
So whether you're dealing with an unexpectedly busy week at work or you take a planned vacation for a week or two, you don't then have to be concerned about how you return to the positive routine you had just a couple of weeks ago or wonder how to restore it piece by piece which may take a few days or even a couple of weeks.
You simply decide which of your weekly templates is most appropriate for the coming week and get onto it right away. You're back on track in moments.
In the image for this post we've included an example of how helpful this can be.
The first two weekly screenshots capture examples of what good weeks can look like. They aren't exactly the same but with this framework as a foundation for this user, the week runs well.
The third screenshot was a busy week and is really useful data to have because one can instantly see the effects of no exercise, fewer steps and less sleep reflected in the increase in resting heart rate and also the stress level algorithm.
It's then reassuring to see these KPIs stabilise when the user quickly re-establishes the framework that success is built on - in this case returning to a typical level of activity and increased priority for sleep - reflected in the fourth screenshot (which is converted to metric as we were sharing it with a European audience) where we see the resting heart rate and stress algorithm return to lower levels.
The short conclusion of all of this is that whatever units you measure in or metrics that are important to you, a brief regular pause to check the numbers can be invaluable to establishing quick and consistent progress with your health and performance as each week passes.