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Gyms That Make You Want to Exercise More - WSJ

Some Precor cardio equipment allows gym members to log in and save workouts. Precor found that people who save workouts go to the gym more often, according to data from about 25 clubs in Canada. “We can’t tell you that a saved workout drives people to come in more often,” Mr. Bartee says. “We just know that people who do save workouts come in more often.” The data also shows that people who log into a cardio machine work out 33% longer than those who don’t log in. People who use a machine’s video-on-demand service also work out 15% longer than those who don’t, Precor data shows.

Self image -- how winners keep winning

Rosenqvist & Skans use European Tour data from the past decade to measure the impact of confidence on performance. Because of the existence of the cut in most tournaments and the natural division of the field into successes and failures by the cut, it’s possible to look at how making or missing the cut affects performance in the subsequent tournament. Players who make or miss the cut are separated by very small differences in performance (as little as a single stroke for those directly on either side of the cut line) and are also nearly identical in terms of long-term talent. That means we should expect their performances to be similar in subsequent weeks – assuming that there isn’t any impact from prior weeks. What Rosenqvist & Skans find is that there is a difference in performance between those who barely made the cut and those who barely missed the cut (they create these groups using players within six strokes of the cut in either direction, though they also compared smaller ranges). Players who just made the cut in the treatment tournament are ~3% more likely to make it in the outcome tournament. Players who make the cut also play ~0.125 strokes better per round in the first two rounds of the following tournament. The authors explain this outcome as a product of enhanced or diminished confidence effecting the players’s performance.
No matter how organized these tools may become, though, there’s something I just can’t get past: sometimes forgetting is even more helpful than remembering. Anind Dey, an associate professor of human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, has been studying how self-monitoring or life logging can serve as a memory aid for Alzheimer’s patients or a tool to learn more about what’s going on in the lives of people with autism. Beyond that, he says, “I still think this is a niche market.” One big reason is that retaining everything we experience “doesn’t really match the way we think,” Dey says. “I think of bad incidents in my life, and in my head I’ve made them better, or I’d be really unhappy.”