My experience with Global Corporate Challenge and #100happydays

I want to share my experience with Global Corporate Challenge and #100happydays,

two social initiatives used to help modify habits.

I´m on day 98 of the Global Corporate Challenge and day 100 of my #100happydays and both have been a lot of fun to participate in and have left me with some thoughts I´d like to share. What made me want to share these thoughts was an article I read about an app that pays you to get healthier.  The app is called Pact and it´s supposed to help you achieve your goals of a healthier life by giving you cash if you do what you commit too. This got me thinking about the two challenges I am taking and if I would be doing any better if I was receiving financial stimuli. In my personal opinion financial incentives only work for a short period. You need an intrinsic motivation to keep your commitments.

From my experience with the Global Corporate ChallengeI´ve seen that it was fun for me because I already exercise global corporate challengeas part of my daily activities and not that I have acquired the habit because of the GCC. I´m a runner so counting the number of steps I take daily was fun and it helped to get me going to my training sessions when the alarm clock rang at 4.50 am. The truth is that counting steps and competing with others in the Global Corporate Challenge was fun and made me start using stairs instead of the elevator to my house which is 7 stories up and down every day. But I admit I´m not going to use the stairs everyday now that the GCC is over, especially because I already exercise. My intrinsic motivation has to do with how I feel when I run and when I don´t. I run because it drives the crazy out of me, it helps me reach a mental state I don´t know how to reach any other way. Running is part of who I am.

From my personal experience I think that people who do not exercise regularly can find challenges like the GCC fun for a while but they end up getting tired and quitting. I saw this happening to several of the members of the GCC.  When you see the results of steps in many groups you see they started moving a little, and after the first month they remained the same. People got tired; many groups stopped registering their daily steps. I have a friend from a different company who told me he got tired after the first three weeks. He even stopped carrying the Pulse.

My conclusion is that unless you already have the habit and discipline, a game is not going to change the way you feel towards exercise. You need something stronger than just an extrinsic motivation. You need to really have the desire to have a healthier life and not just knowing that you should have a healthier life.

The #100happydays was different. It doesn´t give you any rewards and nothing happens if you don´t 100happydayspost a happy day but it made me conscientiousof little things in my daily life that are constantly making me happy. Going through my pictures of #100happydays I can easily see that my family and my cats are big of my happiness. Waking up next to my cats, seeing them when I get home after work or just spending my weekend with them makes me happy and these little things are the ones that count and sometimes we take for granted. I was also able to notice that running is one of my happiest moments of the day. Probably I already knew about these, but having to remember to take a picture for my #100happydays made me more aware of small things that surround me.

On the website it says that 71% of the people who tried to complete the challenge failed. I think even though they claim a lack of time as the reason not to continue, the real reason is they are not happy therefore finding something each day that makes them happy is time consuming and hard work. So like for exercise, unless there is something deep in your soul that makes you want to do something you are not going to achieve it moved by extrinsic stimulation. Maybe money is a strong motivator but in my opinion it only lasts for a while. At the end either you find that within you had a real reason to commit or you end up quitting.

Since today is #day100 of my #100happyday project I want to find the real happy moment of the day. All my attention is out there looking for little things that make me happy. Since I woke up until now I already had several happy moments but I´ll wait till the end of the day to decide which one is the one I want to share. You can check my profile on instagram to see what my #day100 picture is 🙂

What I´m going to do after these two challenges are over is pay close attention to my behavior to see if I´m taking more steps that I used to before starting the GCC (like keep using the stairs even though I think I´m not) and keep my eyes open for all those happy moments to see which other small things I find that make my life happy.

What about you? Do you think money can change habits?

Social media and patient empowerment

Social media and patient empowerment


Social media has become an extraordinary tool for patient empowerment. By now patients know they can use the internet and social media to get involved with their health and they are getting more benefits out of it every day.

Social media and patient empowerment is not something from the future, it is the present! Physicians and patient care givers who don´t see it are missing a big opportunity. The time has come for all stakeholders in the health sector to adapt. This does not mean just open Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts that give out information without interacting with patients and their loved ones. It means engaging with patients, families, other physicians and care givers. It means offering helpful information that promotes patient empowerment. It means giving patients the necessary tools so they can take their health in their own hands and feel part of a team who´s caring for them.

Although everyday more physicians, clinics, hospitals and other care givers are entering the social web so they can share with their patients, there are a lot that are still falling behind. Change takes time, and we need to keep that in mind, but it is important that it doesn´t take forever. Specially because technology advances so fast that who ever doesn´t take the leap now is probably going to be left behind to what the future in health care is promising.

The future in health care is pointing to a world were we know our selves in such a conscious way thanks to different apps, wearable devices, and monitors that the role of physicians needs to be redesigned. The quantified self movement is growing everyday, bringing new devices to help with self tracking and also sharing new experiences and results of how empowering your own health can change your doctors visits. Social media lets regular people find this results and experiences and gives them a chance to share this information with their care givers thus changing attitudes from passive patients to empowered ones. This is a clear example of social media and patient empowerment.

We still have a long way to go before we can enjoy all the advantages of patient empowerment but we are on the right track with social media. We need to remember that it is easy to get lost in the immense world that the web has to offer. This is why physicians, care givers and patients need to work together so as to remind each other that an excellent health and well being is where we are all headed thanks to social media and patient empowerment.

My experience with Quantified Self

Today I want to share my experience with the Quantified Self movement and why I decided to start Quantified Self Bogotá.

I started tracking my self consciously about 3 years ago when I began to take running as an essential part of my life. My first tracking device was a Nike+ Sport Band and I used it for a while until I changed to iPod nano with Nike+, so my first tracking was all with Nike+. Once I started running with a tracking device the whole running experienced changed. It evolved into something that made much more sense. Being able to measure the distance I was running and the pace I was doing it at was a fantastic tool that allowed me to see my progress. So without knowing it I was being part of the Quantified Self movement.

Nike vj Quantified Self

Using Nike+ I made my first tangible running improvements. Since I was able to track my distance I was able to start a plan and improve my resistance and move from running 5K to running 10K. I was also able to compare my runs between them and see how my progress was going. Nike+ also showed me my running pace so I started training with tempos, these are speed intervals of time or distance. As the Quantified Self movement says, it was “self knowledge through numbers”. Thanks to self tracking my running hobby became an essential part of my life.

I kept on running and being part of the quantified self so I kept playing with the Nike+ graphs and numbers it gives me and realized that I wasn’t measuring my heart beat and that could help me to know my running self even better. So I changed from Nike+ to Garmin Connect. The Garmin watch I got gives me distance, pace, heart beat, rhythm, calories, altitude and a lot more information which slowly I began to analyze so I could improve my personal running times.

Quantified Self


I´ve been using the Garmin watch since December and I´m happy to say my 10K time is down by four minutes. The reason is not the device of course (just in case you were wondering). What happens is that I have more information about how I run so I can manage my training plan and adjust it very precisely so as to keep improving. I now know at which heart beat I produce and most of my training sessions have heart rate as a target. My basal heart beat is 52 beats/min and it was 65 in December when I arrived to Bogotá. At that time I wouldn´t be able to talk and run at 6 min/km, my heart beat would be 178 beats per minute. Now I run at 5.40 min/km with 170 beats per minute and I can talk a little.

Self tracking has definitively helped me improve my running and has made it a lot more fun because I see progress and I get to plan more accurate training plans that what I did before using tracking devices. Since I saw the improvements and found that knowing my self through numbers helped me in this aspect of my life I was even more curious about the whole Quantified Self movement. I started reading and learning and saw there are many many thinks to track and analyze that can help us in our daily living. Quantifying ourselves can have a high impact in our health and its a great opportunity to learn from the people who are doing it and share different experiences. So now that I´ve been tracking myself for a while I want to learn from other self trackers, ask them what they do? how they do it? and their conclusions. The best way to do it was staring Quantified Self  Bogotá!

If you have any self tracking experience please share it here or join the Quantified Self movement in your country.

¿Podemos descubrir el misterio de la salud?

wikilife logo

Quería compartir con ustedes esta charla de Daniel Nofal en TEDxJóven @ Rio de La Plata llamada ¿Podemos descubrir el misterio de la salud?

Creo que su proyecto de Wikilife es muy interesante y que todos deberíamos conocerlo y apoyarlo.

La pregunta que da título al video es para pensar y después de ver la charla aparecen algunas preguntas más. ¿Será que son solo datos lo que nos hace falta para descubrir el misterio de la salud? ¿Será entonces que el Quantified Self va en el camino correcto? ¿Como aprovechar este Big Data al máximo? Y muchas preguntas más que seguramente ustedes también se harán. En mi opinión no son preguntas para responder de una, por el contrario, son preguntas que deben estar en un debate continuo y que a medida que vayamos teniendo más información y mas experiencia en el tema se irán contestando. Son preguntas que deben servirnos para investigar y tratar de llegar a alguna respuesta o por lo menos a que nos planteemos nuevas preguntas y que la conversación pueda continuar.

Personalmente soy self quantifier y creo que entre más datos logremos tener para analizar y luego cruzarlos con los de más personas los insights que vamos a adquirir sobre la salud van a ser diversos y nos permitirán conclusiones con beneficios increíbles como el del caso de la fiebre puerperal que cuenta Daniel en el video. Así que espero que sean cada vez más los que se unan al movimiento de la cuantificación de nosotros mismos para que todos podamos beneficiarnos de las conclusiones a las que se vayan llegando.

Espero que disfruten el video y se animen a dejar sus comentarios y opiniones respecto al mismo.

Quantified Self Bogotá

QS relationshipEl pasado martes 25 de junio de 2013 se llevo a cabo el primer meet up de Quantified Self Bogotá. Se realizó en Salud y Social Media HUB y fue un evento pequeño pero muy enriquecedor.

Para los que no conocen, Quantified Self es un movimiento que busca incorporar la tecnología en la adquisición de datos de la vida diaria de una persona en términos de inputs como calorías ingeridas, estados como estados de ánimo o niveles de oxígeno en sangre, o rendimiento tanto físico como mental. Este self tracking o auto rastreo puede hacerse con la ayuda de dispositivos como Jawbone, Fitbit, Withings o Nike Fuel entre otros, con aplicaciones como Mr Mood, MyFitnessPal o SleepBot entre muchos otros.

En los meet ups de Quantified Self lo que se hace es un show and tell donde en los que se animen comparten sus experiencias de cuantificarse. Deben responder tres preguntas: ¿Qué cuantifican? ¿Cómo lo cuantifican? y ¿Qué han aprendido de estas cuantificaciones? Luego el público hace preguntas y así todos aprendemos y compartimos nuestras experiencias.

Así que en el primer Quantified Self Bogotá nos reunimos algunos fans de las métricas y contamos lo que hacemos, que aplicaciones utilizamos y por que las utilizamos. Como eramos pocos la reunión fue bastante descontracturada pero nos la tomamos muy en serio y salieron dos tareas.

La primera tarea es que Juan Pablo Calderón y Estuardo Ortegón van a fabricar un dispositivo casero para registrar las montadas en bici de Estuardo. La idea es que le calcule distancia y revoluciones por minuto. Ellos quedaron de documentar el proceso y en el próximo encuentro contarnos como les fue y que aprendieron.

La segunda tarea es para todos, así que invito a quienes lean este post a que se sumen y vengan al próximo meet up a contar su experiencia o a que la cuenten por aquí. La tarea consiste en pensar cada uno como puede auto registrar su felicidad, hacerlo y compartir las conclusiones. Por ejemplo puedo decidir que la mejor forma de registrar mi felicidad es con un diario donde escribo mi estado de ánimo, la fecha, la hora, el lugar en el que me encuentro y que estoy haciendo. Así que ya saben usen su creatividad y pronto nos veremos para compartir lo que hizo cada uno!