“quantify this” thursday: lark and other fun.

After upgrading to the iPhone 6 in December, I began to discover a bunch of apps that I couldn’t use, or couldn’t use effectively, with the iPhone 4. Even though I’ve been a Fitbit user since January 2012 […That is three years, people], I can finally sync it through my phone–which, I suppose if I were back in the lifestyle of walking to and from the bus all the time, and/or it was not winter and I could find any sort of motivation to go outside into the polar vortex, would be quite helpful.

That little comment about the polar vortex, however, is why I find value in self-tracking. In October, I attempted to chronicle a bunch of facets of the self-tracking I was doing, and intended to focus on throughout the month, aiming to blog every day. I didn’t complete the month-long project that I called “quantify this.” (underscoring that when research suggests not to undergo a bunch of changes at once, it is accurate for most of us), however, even since falling off the intensity of the project, I have continued to dig deeper into the myriad of quantified self tools about, and continue to keep these integrated in my everyday—to an extent, at least.

The biggest difference between the iPhone 4 and 6 (aside from the size, and the speed, and the Bluetooth LE capabilities and the camera and, okay you get it) is the motion processor.

Which means not only do I wear a Fitbit, my phone can now track movement. [And also I have a Pebble watch now, so I have Misfit on there—a post for another day. Related: I am out of control here.] While I purchased the Sync Solver app to feed my Fitbit data into HealthKit, not everything uses that data over the M8 data.

Including this cute little app called Lark which is actually pretty successful at making me conscious of my daily choices. Lark uses the M8 (or whatever M# processor your iPhone has) to grab data from Health (or otherwise, I would assume), and helps you identify patterns in your physical activity…

Edit/Note: Before I get too far, Lark is available for iOS and Android (Google Play and Galaxy). Thanks to Jay for the Droid links!

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…while giving other feedback on health science—clearing misconceptions and providing a bit of research-driven motivation:

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(The answers for the first question were “yeah” or “not really”. Lark gives the same feedback in a different way regardless of the choice made :).)

Lark asks questions and provides motivation by reminding you of previous feedback given within the app—most often multiple choice, but sometimes fill-in-the-blank answers—and encourages more mindful choices surrounding daily actions.


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(Another time, it used a spin on this to tell me that if I drank more water, I’d get more physical activity by going to the bathroom more. Also, clearly this thing magically knows I don’t drink enough water…)

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And, the old classic, of course—parking farther away. (The little super picture makes an appearance every so often—never fails to make me smile).

Speaking of smiling—Lark isn’t just about physical activity:

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While it’s nowhere near close to a food journal (that’s too much bulk for Lark!), it does encourage increased consciousness of attitudes surrounding eating—providing a few choices so to keep it quick.

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I thought I wouldn’t stick with the check-ins on Lark, but I’ve been using the app for several weeks now, and I find myself checking in with the app (read: checking in with myself) at least twice a day. Most check-ins take no more than a minute or two—and amusing for me in my current nightowl state, Lark has much briefer conversations with me when it’s getting to be later at night (because it knows I should be sleeping?)
Or this one, where it’s 2 AM and it’s like “Sleep is helpful, y’know”. (Continuation of the “detox” conversation above.)
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And of course, I was hitting up Lark through the holidays—the first time it brought up the holidays, I was pretty impressed, to be honest! :]

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As I said, Lark check-ins take no more than a minute or two, and while the graphs aren’t anything like this…
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I think they might be (almost) better at encouraging day-to-day behaviour change than getting inundated with data.
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I mean… Almost. I am a bit of a data freak, after all.

2 thoughts on ““quantify this” thursday: lark and other fun.

    1. Hi Dean,

      That’s SO awesome! Really enjoying the app (as you can see!). Glad you guys are listening for feedback–makes it even better!

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