Tracking the Right Data to Boost Results from a Morning Routine
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
In my last blog post, I broke down 3 secret ingredients you need for a morning routine. If you haven't read that article, check it out here: https://www.brianjspear.com/post/3-secret-ingredients-you-need-for-a-morning-routine
One of those that I wanted to expand on is results, as illustrated by tracking the right kind of data. We need to see/notice results that are satisfying to us. This is the feedback that "things are working" and "we are on track".
Some things we can keep track of in a moment-to-moment are causes and affects.
Affects are the ever changing aspects of our subjective experience of how things are going. Morning mindfulness and quick micro check ins throughout the day can lead us to simply noticing how we are doing in any given moment. Basically I've labeled them as:
"Good" "Meh" "Bad" "Rad"
Keeping tabs on how we are feeling is important to improve our quality of life. Noticing when we are feeling good is just as important as when we are feeling bad.
Generally speaking, these good, meh, bad, and rad have causes. These would be some potential habits or situations or experiences that cause us to feel a certain kind of affect. That's important too and worthy of keeping in mind.
Holding both of these causes and affects, our morning mindfulness and micro-check in's throughout the day can lead to a better understanding on how we relate our current state to a set of previous habits or experiences.
Some examples can be as follows:
"Getting 6 hours of sleep" = "Meh"
"Dehydrated" = "Bad"
"Morning walk outside" = "Good"
"Exercise at my fitness level" = "Good"
"8 hours quality sleep" = "Good"
"Eating a carton of Ice Cream" = Tastes good, but can lead to "Bad"
So now that you have a basic primer in cause and affect, I'll lay out some key performance indicators to track and efficient ways to do so.
Total Sleep (hrs)
Fell Asleep (hh:mm)
Wake Up (hh:mm)
Quality (excellent, good, meh, poor)
Cumulative Fluid Intake (fl oz since awake)
Total Daily Water (fl oz)
I have found over the years that these are the most relateable data points that we can track. Essentially, we are keeping track of how much we sleep and the quality of that sleep, cumulative fluid intake relative to our total daily water (baseline hydration), and how much and how often we are moving on a weekly basis.
In essence, are you well rested? well hydrated? moving your body?
In The Golden Hour, I teach you key specifics on getting 8 hours of sleep opportunity each night, waking up on time, staying hydrated throughout the day and create time for fitness.
20 minutes of movement or exercise each day leads to 2 hours and 20 minutes each week!
20 minutes of mindfulness each day also adds up to 2 hours and 20 minutes each week!
So a little bit of time committed to hydrate, meditate, move for a short amount of time each day will rapidly accelerate your ability to improve your health and well being.
Back to the data and tracking results...
I've been known to hand write my workout plans and sleep times, but have found that it is difficult to track over time. It's one thing to track in a moment's notice, but to be able to track over time and see patterns is really powerful. Time series data is the best.
It took me some time to break into the market for a fitness watch, but I have done really well personally with a Suunto Watch. And I'm glad that I did. My health has skyrocketed as a result since I got the watch and (automatically) load my data in Strava.
My watch that tracks my sleep and fitness data is a Suunto 5.
It's simple to use, syncs to your smartphone and integrates with many applications that manage your health data. I can keep track of my sleep and recovery data, along with my daily resources track all of my exercises. Since my watch keeps track of the data, and it seemlessly connects to my smartphone, tracking my data overtime is fiarly straight forward.
My favorite aspects are the sleep functions. I set my general sleep schedule and the watch can track my sleep duration, how well I slept, resting heart rate and my wake up resources. Meaning do I jump out of bed or sluggishly stumble? I know how I feel in the morning and can understand why I feel that way by looking into the data.
Tracking this data over time has been hugely instrumental in creating The Golden Hour and being able to improve my health over time.
I hope you've enjoyed this article and found value as it applies to your everyday life.
Stay tuned for more articles and insights.