Move! F**k you!

So I asked here recently about buying a new FitBit.

We’ve all got opinions. Michelle just ditched hers. Tracy hates all forms of tracking. Other Tracy is on a FitBit holiday. Not me. In general, I’m a fan of tracking and of fitness tracking gadgets.

Unlike Michelle, I think it does influence my behavior positively. And I like the information. Unlike the the Tracys I never feel haunted by it. I seem to be able to pay attention when it’s useful and look away when it’s not.

But this time I didn’t buy another FitBit. I’m rough on things. I break them. And the durability reviews of the various FitBits weren’t great. For running (when I’m running, which isn’t often these days, I use a Garmin running watch) and for cycling, I’ve got a Garmin bike computer. So why not try a Garmin fitness tracker?

I opted for the inexpensive, small, Vivosmart 3. There’s no GPS but it does pretty much what my old FitBit did.

There is one exception that I might just have to turn off.

That’s the reminder to move.

The watch vibrates and displays the word “MOVE!” on the screen when you’ve sat still for too long. It did it during a recent concert, on a car trip yesterday, and while I was helping to install flooring on the 3rd floor of my house.

It turns out that’s just a bit too bossy for me. I kept wanting to explain myself to the watch. Yesterday in the car I actually swore at it. I said the words, the full words, that are in the title of this post. And I’m not a casual swearer.

I think maybe without the exclamation mark it would be okay. Maybe they should add a question mark, like a gentle invitation to consider moving.

How do you feel about being told to move by your watch? Like the reminder or find that steps over a line?

3 thoughts on “Move! F**k you!

  1. I had a similar problem a few years ago when I tested an early Nike Fuel Band. It directed you to set a steps goal, but you could not change the goal for the same day – it only took effect the following day. The band itself had a line of dots that changed color as you got closer to your goal. So if you wanted to turn off or change your goal for some reason, you still had the red (or yellow) dots constantly reminding you that you were failing, lollygagging, falling behind. It was just dumb. It was equally distorting of the purpose of the dots if you had decided that morning to do a much longer distance than usual and happened to like the dots as a quick status check.

    The exclamation point seems to come from the same place: devices that don’t just “keep you honest” but seem to embed the assumption that you’re trying to get away with something. That attitude doesn’t just feel annoying; in the people most likely to find that kind of feedback salient, it seems like it could easily have the paradoxical effect of encouraging oppositional or “bare minimum” behavior. I’m not a particularly sensitive person, but that feels “bad faith”y to me, and bad-faith approaches just makes me dislike the source.

  2. I have a Garmin – and I don’t mind the Move!, but I think it needs to be a lot smarter. I’ve had times where I literally hit my step goal at the exact same time it says Move! Moving around in a small area – like cleaning the kitchen – counts of steps, but it isn’t enough for “movement.” Your example of installing flooring is perfect – you were definitely moving, just not in the way it liked. That drives me crazy, I probably should shut it off since I move when I am going to move and I am stationary when I have to be, a Move! signal from my watch won’t change anything.

  3. In general, I like the “move!” reminder on my Vivoactive. It’s very easy for me to get bogged down at my desk at work and the reminders give me an excuse to clear my head by taking a lap around my building. If it’s raining, I make my lap vertical by taking the stairs up and around until I get to the top. And since I’ve lost 10 lbs since May just from activity, I figure it’s best not to resent it.

Comments are closed.