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Steps, sips or spending: does the trend for tracking our habits actually make our lives better?

From counting our steps to tracking our alcohol intake, new technology allows us to quantify our own behaviour. But is the practice as healthy as we'd like to believe?

By Barbara Speed   March 2019

What does it mean to track our own lives? Illustration by Stephen Collins

Yesterday, I drank three units of alcohol, walked 10,215 steps, ran for 0km, slept for 6.75 hours, spent £19.20, meditated for five minutes, spent 2 hours and 40 minutes looking at my phone, and had a heart rate of 72 beats per minute at 3.20pm. I could tell you where each of these figures lay compared to my personal average, or my results for the same day last month.

I’m not trying in any concerted way…

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