Moving average

I’ve recently heard the term moving average, and I’m in love with it.  It gets rid of the boom and bust cycle most of us have dealt with at one point or another.  It kills the all or nothing myth in one go.  It’s awesome.

It apparently comes from the world of finance as a stock indicator creating a constantly updated average price.  I know nothing of finance, and you certainly don’t want to take money advice from me (Eddie on the other hand – worth listening to). However, I get good concepts, and moving average in terms of wellness is right up there.

Almost all of us look at where you want to be:

  • go to gym 5 times a week
  • eat perfectly 6 days out 7
  • walk 10,000 steps a day
  • cold shower every morning

Instead, look at where you are and see if your actions are improving your moving average:

  • haven’t been to a gym in years but have been twice this week
  • after the Christmas blowout you’ve had 3 days where you didn’t have cake or chocolate
  • went from 3,000 steps a day to 5,000
  • had one cold shower and cursed Wim Hoff and everyone of his followers

In every one of these cases, you’re improving your moving average! 

Normally we’d think we’ve failed because we only went to the gym twice, or we were 5,000 steps a day off your target.  Instead, we look at the week and think we’ve moved forward.  Our moving average is better than last week.  We’re improving!  Suddenly we can build momentum.  We aim for the gym 3 times a week.  We push for 6,000 steps a day, or curse Wim once more.  We just need to nudge the needle slightly and move our average forward.

Bad days don’t matter and cause a bust cycle.  Didn’t get to the gym today? That’s fine, see if you can make it in the next 2.  Only did 4,000 steps?  Doesn’t matter, let’s get 5,000 tomorrow.  Taking an average allows us to slip up, and we all do.  Ignore all the nonsense and marketing that is being thrown at you at the moment.  You don’t need to be perfect, and nobody who has any balance in their life is. 

Focus on your moving average and next week you will be better than this week you.  Next month you will be better again.  Next year you? Now we’re talking.  Just give it a try and see if you love it anywhere near as much as me.

My first experience of cold showers about 10 years ago.  Was another 8 before I tried again.

My first experience of cold showers about 10 years ago. Was another 8 before I tried again.

PS – I’ve been doing cold showers pretty consistently for a year or so now.  I lost my way in December and basically stopped from doing it every day to not at all.  My mindset would normally be I need to get back to every day, and as soon as I don’t get mad at myself.  In the last 8 days I’ve had 3 cold showers.  My moving average is getting better.  Instead of being disappointed and stopping again, I’m proud of myself.  Tomorrow I’ll make it 2 days in a row for the first time in about 6 weeks.  I love moving average!


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