I was sick last week and started hunting around for some sort of ‘sick day’ mode on my wrist-spy (a.k.a. my Apple watch.) I was hoping to find an easy way to stop all of my fitness reminders from going off and to put my various habit and goal trackers on hold for the day.
When I couldn’t find a sick mode, I did an online search and quickly discovered that there *is* no sick mode. And that, apparently, a lot of experts feel that the Apple watch’s reminders and streak-based tracking can be harmful for people, creating an expectation that the wearers will push themselves harder and harder and that they won’t have rest days.
I totally understand their concerns. In other contexts, I have often fallen victim to the sort of pass/fail mindset that they are referring to and I can see why the streak-based tracking and the regular suggestions to increase your goals can lead to that sort of trap
Luckily, however, my wrist-spy doesn’t tip me into that sort of thinking.
(Your mileage may vary, of course, but this is between me and my wrist-spy. Please do what works for you.)
You see, my wrist-spy is spying on me FOR ME.
Its job is to keep track of things that I want to keep track of but that I struggle to write down or plan because my ADHD brain finds too boring to record.
I don’t think of it as a double-agent, pretending to work for me but really working for the fitness industry, reporting my less-than-perfect scores to some authority that will judge me against a professional athlete.
So, I use the information it gives me for encouragement and for motivation but if I can’t follow my plan on a given day then I enact the Rita Rudner rule:
What does this have to do with my fitness tracking?
Well, I don’t panic if I can’t reach my planned fitness destination – I change my destination!
If I have had a hell of a day and I can’t meet my stand goal? I change my stand goal.
If my suggested fitness minutes are overwhelming today? I change my fitness goal to something that feels reasonable.
If my move goal is impossible? I dial that number back until it feels doable.
Yeah, I know that some of you might see that as ‘cheating’ but here’s how I see it:
My wrist-spy’s job is to help me see trends in my activities so I can make changes that help me feel good overall.
I feel encouraged by the trends in my fitness (and by streaks of activity) but I recognize that ‘doing what I can’ is going to look different on different days.
However, my wrist-spy has no way of knowing how I am feeling or how busy I am on a given day.
Changing my goals for that day lets me adjust for the fact that the numbers for ‘what I can’ may look different from day to day without having to lose the momentum I feel when I see notifications like these:
Making needed, temporary changes in the goals that my wrist-spy tracks helps me keep my eye on the big picture, on my true goals – lots of movement, increased mobility, an overall feeling of well-being – instead of getting tangled in the idea that I have to have the same capacity every single day.
I don’t change my goals often. I think I have maybe done it three times in the 10 months that I have had my wrist-spy. However, knowing that I *can* change them lets today-me be in charge of my goals instead of letting yesterday-me make all the decisions. And for me, that strikes the perfect balance between choice and momentum without ever making me feeling like I am being dragged into something I don’t want to do.
So, last week, even though I couldn’t engage ‘sick mode’ on my watch, I didn’t let my wrist-spy’s reports get into the wrong hands. As my spy’s handler, I made the file ‘eyes only’ and managed the data in the way I saw fit.
And by all of that, I mean that I adjusted my goals to match my situation that day and it all turned out just fine.