I’ve been interested in personal health tracking since early 2016. I was first enthralled by a movement called the Quantified Self which was finally taking shape because wearables had enough time to provide long-term, actionable data. Chris Dancy was one of the first people to really showcase the value of tracking every single thing. I couldn’t find the blogs I published on this five years ago, but this was a snippet I wrote for a book I was going to write on Quantified Self back then:
First, we must understand that simply buying the tools isn’t enough; they are just the foundation for a concept known as the Quantified Self. Essentially, the Quantified Self is an evolution of the modern human being that has transformed their subjective, daily rituals and feelings into quantifiable data that can be analyzed for better understanding of their own life. The Quantified Self brings clarity to health, fitness, productivity, lifestyle, etc…
By transforming the subjective nature of daily life into objective numbers, individuals can look at their own habits from the outside looking in, making changes that are necessary to an overall healthier existence.
Over the last seven years, though, I’ve been on and off with wearables and health tracking. Garmin got me back into it last year because the form factor was a tad more like a traditional watch. This made it easier to wear it in the professional and casual setting.
But still, there’s really no way to dress up a wearable. And that has made it hard for me to stick with using them consistently for months and years in a row. Thus, I have 4 years of sporadic health data spread out over the last 7 years. And that’s just not good enough.
Bryan Johnson – founder of Braintree, which PayPal acquired – reignited my interest in the Quantified Self idea recently when he shared his insane dedication to optimizing his body through data.
His philosophy is called blueprint and it’s a lot to internalize. But the results speak for themselves. After living by blueprint for two years:
- He reversed his epigenetic age by 5.1 years
- He reduced his pace of aging by the equivalent 31 years in 18 months
- And is now aging more slowly than the average 10 yr old
You can read more about his “How” on your own time. Living as strict to this code as him is a lot, and also costly. But there are a few things we can all take away from him. Most importantly, he said that you need to collect data on everything you can and track as much as you can that feels relevant to your health and wealth-being. You can’t truly design an optimal healthstyle without the data to support it.
Thus, I’m back to wearing my Apple Watch daily. Although, I scoured the web for solutions to the look of the watch. And the best idea I came across was from this Reddit post where a user mentioned that they began wearing their Apple Watch on their ankle in order to keep up with their health tracking but not be limited by the watch style.
Frankly, I never cared to have the notifications on my wrist anyway. So, this is what I’m trying out for the next few weeks: