Organizational management guru, Peter Drucker, said, “What gets measured gets managed.” It’s not only true in business, but also when it comes to lifestyle behaviors. Simply measuring things like physical activity, food intake or sleep can lead to improvement. In an effort to minimize physical exertion and maximize convenience, we have effectively engineered physical activity out of our lives. It has made performing simple tasks easier, but it has come at a price – our health status has declined.
A business approach to such unsatisfactory outcomes would measure the good and bad behaviors that influence these results. But, how can this be achieved on the scale necessary to impact the health of a population where a majority of people struggles to achieve a healthy weight? I believe there is a solution that allows people to engineer physical activity back into their lives and proactively take charge of their health outcomes. The solution is tracking or wearable devices, e.g., pedometers or fitness watches.
Gallup researcher and best-selling author, Tom Rath, says:
“If you want to increase your activity, measure how much you move. When people are assigned to wear a pedometer as part of randomized controlled trials, they walk at least one extra mile per day on average. Overall activity levels go up by 27 percent. Body Mass Index (BMI) decreases, and blood pressure goes down.” (Eat Move Sleep, 2013)
An organization that I work with offers a pedometer program and rewards employees for average daily steps taken over a 12-week period, four times per year. Nearly 60% of the 100+ employees remain actively engaged in the program after 3 years. Competition and rewards can provide extrinsic motivation. However, the intrinsic motivation that can develop from a tracking device can serve as a more important influence on lasting behavior change.
Measure What Matters Most!
M. J. White is the creator of “Lean Wellness”, which transforms work environments with a radically different bottom-up approach that inspires continuous improvement in health and wellbeing. To learn more, visit the website at: www.wellstreet.us or email M. J. directly at: email@example.com.