If by now you don’t own a smart phone, you are missing out. No matter how your lifestyle has taken shape, you have the opportunity to experience unrivaled benefits from having access to a smart phone.
As of November, 68 percent of Americans own a smart phone, up from 35% some four years ago, according to the Pew Research Center. More stunning than the rapid rise in smart phone ownership is the question of how 32% of Americans still don’t own a smart phone!
The benefits of smart phones truly permeate throughout all lifestyle choices. If you cook, you can access thousands of recipes through your cell phone and quickly get answers to kitchen conundrums that come up in the middle of your cooking endeavors (ie what type of pan should I be using to cook this quiche?). If you enjoy gardening or hiking, you can download apps that help you identify various species of wildlife and plants. The benefits of mobile apps spans beyond personal enrichment into more fulfilling forms of social interaction.
If you own a computer, you are probably familiar with many of these programs already. Yet, there is something special about the apps found on smart phones now. As new versions of cellphones are available to consumers, the applications become more sophisticated and helpful for its users.
Now, there are applications used to track your physical well-being and health indicators, including monitoring weight, heart rate, blood sugar, blood pressure and other fitness levels. These specific applications are part of a series of digital tools known as the “Quantified Self” movement. By measuring and monitoring a particular set of health characteristics, you can determine how your regular routine impacts your short and long-term well-being and happiness.
In California, there is a group of researchers called the Quanitified Self Labs, who are dedicated to supporting “new discoveries about [people] and our communities that are grounded in accurate observation and enlivened by a spirit of friendship,” according to its website. This group creates and supports inventive ways to document the regular events and activities in your lifestyle in order to gain valuable and relatable insights.
On the group’s blog, you’ll find examples of applying the Quantified Self methods to everyday life, such as the creation of a monthly calendar in which an individual will simply draw a smiley face once a day. At the end of the month, you can look back on a daily and weekly basis to see how consistent your mood was or how drastically it changed. It acts as a memory bank, in a sense, when you reflect back on the calendar and question what it was that made you draw such a wide grin or a disappointing scowl.
Watch this TEDTalk with co-founder of Quantified Self Gary Wolf for a quick introduction to the movement.
A growing body of research observing the effects of mobile technologies on individual well-being is mounting to show the benefits of these programs outweighing their disadvantages. For instance, this study suggests that smart phone apps help promote positive change in cardiovascular health. More specifically, self-monitoring apps aid individuals in creating positive behavioral change over time.
By utilizing self-monitoring apps and the quantified self movement, you can observe in non-traditional and eye-opening ways just how impactful different behaviors are on your overall well-being. What you will find may surprise or shock you—or, it may validate the ideas you already had about how your routine has been affecting your happiness.
For instance, if you question whether or not you are active enough regularly, you can download an application that will track the number of steps you take throughout the day. Using this information, you can track over time how that number of steps fluctuates and pinpoint why you walk more some days and less on others.
This may seem like an obvious question to answer. Of course, you are already aware of when you take the elevator in lieu of walking up a few flight of stairs. What you may not realize is how many steps you take running errands, like strolling around the supermarket, and how much you lose out when you need to clock in overtime hours at your office desk.
The key to achieving the benefits of these inventive programs is to have in mind a goal or positive result you hope to accomplish. This way, you can leverage the app to improve your lifestyle. If losing weight is your goal, then you will look at the amount of steps you take in your day as it relates to how many calories you burn. By comparing that number to the amount of food you eat, all of the sudden you have stumbled upon a winning formula for understanding how to take control over your weight loss. You just need the vision and desire to change your life for the better. All of the tools are at your disposal.
While the majority of the beneficial digital tools and programs on smart phones are in the form of mobile applications, there is one that takes a clever twist on the traditional programming to give you the start you need to get on a healthier track. The Caterpilly program is designed to aid individuals in identifying their long-term health and wellness goals, while providing the platform to set short-term goals that will lead to success.
Caterpilly is like a close friend or family member of yours whom you confide in and who understands how much it means to you to succeed in accomplishing your goals. As you set benchmarks for yourself and behaviors you plan to follow-through with, Caterpilly is the guiding voice that reminds you of the commitments you made to yourself and encourages you to be steadfast in your journey to a healthier lifestyle by sending a series of text messages to your phone.
Click here to find out more about how Caterpilly works. As time goes on, more and more professional researchers are learning how critical mobile programs and applications are on personal success. By joining the wave of individuals utilizing these tools, you can be one of the initial success stories that researchers point to moving forward.