This Self-Tracker’s Tracking Tips

I sometimes ignore vegetables, get less sleep than I should, eat more sugar than I can handle, and skip more long runs than I’m willing to admit.  I’m human so I forgive myself. But big picture? I can’t correct all the things I need to without understanding the circumstance surrounding my bad choices. And because of self-tracking, that’s no longer a problem.

When self-tracking started picking up steam, I didn’t see the value. I couldn’t help but feel creeped out by anyone, even myself, following everything about me. I would privately track what I ate because of my stomach problems, but if I wanted to run, I’d just go for a run. End of story, right? Not exactly …

If it worked with food, I started to envision other possibilities. My curiosity got the best of me, and before I knew it, I started using trackers like it was my job. I found a groove, and figured out the best ways to motivate myself all the time. When I’m off balance now, I can figure out why. I’m like a super human. Minus the flying powers.

But seriously, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that make me the best Nicole I can be, for all different reasons. If you haven’t tried any self-trackers yet, give one a shot. Here are some I recommend:

RunKeeper and Daily Mile

It was my fear from too much Law and Order SVU that made me start running with my phone. Lucky for me, I had RunKeeper installed and fell in love. I use it to set a comfortable pace, and track my running time, distance, and history. I re-enter this information into While the two don’t sync, I find the extra time I have to spend with my data pretty rewarding. I love using Daily Mile to watch my miles add up, track my cross training days, and see what my friends are up to.

Nike Fuel Band

This is the coolest gadget ever. It awards you Fuel for your activities each day, keeps track of your steps, and has a nifty watch all in one. The more people who get it, the more excited I become. I find myself doing jumping jacks just to meet my goal and get ahead of my friends.

Azumio Heart Rate

I take my heart very seriously, and want to get it to a nice, low resting rate. I use the Azumio Heart Rate app to check my heart rate regularly. It makes me feel so good to see how working out has helped it get to a healthier place. Extra motivation from one little number. BAM!


I have to profess my love for the Thryve app. Tracking what I eat and how I feel is really valuable. It keeps me honest about my vegetable and protein intake when I’m really busy, but also lets me see what was going on the last few days if I start to feel sick/sluggish. Its earliest prototype pointed out the dangers of too much sugar for me, and how eating the same breakfast everyday could cause many problems. We’ll be launching this iPhone app very soon!

Two other really cool self-trackers are the Zeo Sleep Monitor and the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor. Zeo basically reads your brain waves while you’re sleeping, and Withings will make you feel like a doctor. At Thryve, we just launched a fun pill reminder, called Foster that has a “living” tree. And the list goes on. There are physical products, web services, even things like Twitter and blogging that can be used to your advantage. Get creative, and put yourself out there. Especially because sometime soon, all this data is going to come together in one place, and show us some pretty awesome stuff about ourselves.

I’m not saying you should start picking up all of my habits, because we’re different people. But I am strongly suggesting that you will find tremendous value in, at the very least, one self-tracking product out there. Think of all the things you could do once you knew more about yourself. What have you got to lose?

Nicole Mercer is the CCO and Co-Founder of Thryve, creator of a mobile food coach set to launch October 2. She blogs at and tweets at @miss_diagnosed.