We’ve all got that friend who goes the extra distance to get those steps tracked on her fitbit or other gadget. That may even be you. But it’s not me. I can’t quite imagine wearing something that tracks my every move. I’ve nothing against it, but it’s not a strategy I’m drawn to.
It’s too much information and too much tracking. I mean, I have my Garmin Forerunner 310 info after each run and I hardly ever get around to looking at it. What the heck am I going to do with daily information about how many steps I’ve taken? And yet I know that there are areas where I could get more active.
I had an inspired (if I do say so myself) idea on the weekend that got me taking a few extra steps. And that was to act as if I was wearing a fitness tracker that recorded my every move. And just that little change kicked in a few new habits. As part of my temporary relocation, I’m living in a third floor condo instead of a 23rd floor condo. But I’ve been taking the elevator just because it’s a habit from living on the 23rd floor. Yes, you heard me, I was taking the elevator to the third floor. This is not a thing I would normally do.
And acting as if I had on a fitness tracker, I’ve now stopped taking the elevator up (unless I’m hauling groceries). My new place is a lot closer to the Y. Like, it’s so close that driving would be silly. But I almost drove a couple of times. Now, with my new strategy in place, driving is out of the question as I consider: what would my friends with fitbits do?
Worried about finding a parking spot closest to the building? Nope, not me! Why not? Because if I had a fitness tracker I would instead be looking for a spot on the outer reaches of the parking lot (forget that I’m driving — it’s just a little too far to walk and still make it to work on time unless I left super early, which no thanks because the mornings are already full enough without adding a 50 minute commute–but yes, I’m aware that the fitness tracker crowd might take that walk–baby steps).
Now, maybe this is just a variation on the old theme of adding steps to your day by doing things like taking the elevator, parking a little further from the door, getting off the bus a stop or two early, and walking over to a colleague’s desk or office instead of sending them an email message.
But in our high-tech world, that simple message doesn’t always sink in. And if I think in terms of “if I had a fitness tracker…,” somehow that gets me moving. I’m sure there’s good evidence published somewhere that people with fitness trackers cover more ground than those without.
But I think I’ve hit on a new angle for those of us who like the idea of a motivational kick but perhaps aren’t ready or willing to move into the world of 24 hour tracking. I’m a firm believer in “never say never,” so maybe one day the world of actually tracking my activity will make sense to me. But for now, I can pretend I’m tracking, and that seems to make a difference.
Do you use a fitness tracker? If you do, why do you? If you don’t, why don’t you (and do you think acting as if you did might get you to do a little more?)?