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Daily Fitness Trackers: Good? Maybe Not.

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Are you addicted to closing your Apple Health daily rings (or getting to that 100% target in your fitness tracker)? I used to be motivated by closing the rings until I realized that it was actually causing me stress.

It was bed time, I went to take my watch off and noticed I hadn't closed my "move" ring. "What? Impossible, I've closed all 3 rings every day for like the past month, we're closing this mofo tonight."

I started doing some squats in the bathroom. I was 2 minutes in on these stupid squats, checking to make sure my watch was registering my heart rate, getting frustrated and saying "close muthafucka, close already".

I hard stared at the move percentage, 98,99..and done, yay I could finally go to bed.

Fast forward 1 week:

I was packing for a trip to the mountains and opened my jewellery drawer, I saw this great watch man had bought me a few years ago, and I thought "ah yes, I'm totally wearing this for some glam this weekend"

As I put my glam watch on, I had a thought, "but what about my activity, my watch won't register it"

I paused for a moment and an inner voice said "Heather, you workout, you don't need a watch to tell you you've done a good job.".

This was true, there are days where I sit a lot because I'm focused on getting things done that are important to me, and there's other days I move a lot.

Why was I so dependent on my watch?

I realized that my watch would alert me to monthly challenges: closing all those rings and get (whatever the fuck badge). Even though I thought I was dismissing these challenges, maybe I wasn't, maybe there was a part of me that was saying "yeah, let's dooooo this!!!". I also got personal gratification from seeing all my rings closed for the entire month, seeing a uniformed screen of closed rings was visually pleasing for me, I don't like when things don't look pretty.

So what?, this all seems fine, after all I was being more active, what could be the downside?

Stress. Stress of closing them, stress of not feeling adequate until they were, a complete dismissal of other important things in life that got done while sitting.

What was the priority?

To be active enough for my physical and mental health, NOT to get acknowledgments from an app.

I didn't need to close rings. I just needed to be healthy, which I was.

It was time to give myself permission to sit, permission to chill the fuck out, permission to let each day ebb and flow and do the things that were important to me and if that meant sitting, so what.

This weekend I've decided to wear my activity watch just for working out and it feels good! I'm not getting notifications from it about text messages or WhatsApp, or any other dumb shit apple feels like I should be aware of, even though I know I could probably just change the settings, but that would take time to figure out and I'm not interested.

I'm not sure what things look like for and my smart watch going forward LOL, but I know now that what can be motivating and supportive one day can be stressful the next.

The goal of moving more takes more time period. If you are going to move more, it takes time away from things that require the concentration of sitting to get done, don't feel bad about that.

Apps can be great motivators for when you need them, but notice when it's adding stress instead of support.

When it comes to health and fitness goals, focus on the priority.

Listen to your body, when you're getting tired, your hips hurt or you can't focus, get the fuck up and move, if you're into something you want to finish, finish it, if the end of the day comes and you haven't closed your rings or met your steps, acknowledge the stuff you accomplished instead, if your goal is to move more, or commit to your workouts, and you're doing that, that's all that matters.

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