Do you Fitbit?
If not, allow me to sing its praises. It tells me, to paraphrase that now-ancient Police tune, every step I take. It’s watching, as Sting was want to sing, every move I make. If I step, burn a calorie, gain an inch of ground, move for a set length of time, my Fitbit revels in sharing this information back to me.
There’s an almost voyeurs’-quality to Fitbit, or, I imagine, any activity tracker. Literally there’s almost no physical activity it’s not monitoring, and swiftly reporting.
It reminds me if I haven’t moved in at least 250 steps in the last 60 minutes by buzzing at me by 10 til the hour.
It buzzes when I hit my goal of 10,000 steps, and the screen bursts with digital fireworks.
I tell you, making myself exercise has never been so rewarding.
Yes, it can be a drag, on those days when I don’t want to hit 10,000+ steps and I don’t want to force myself to work off 2,100 calories, or I don’t care if I’ve moved 5 steps or 400 steps this past hour.
However, the real killer about those goals?
I set them all myself.
Fitbit doesn’t care.
They have some arbitrary goals set, but whether or not I use them, whether or not I get there is not Fitbit’s business. Fitbit would be as happy for me at 20,000 as it is as 10,000 and would, I expect, be just as satisfied with 5,000.
Fitbit just wants me to hit the goal whatever the goal may be.
Like most of life, the goals Fitbit holds for me, are actually and only the goals I set for myself.
Sometimes I base these goals on the goals of others, such as syncing up my 10,000 steps to what a group of coworkers aimed for every day.
Sometimes I base these goals on what I feel I can achieve most days, and still be a pleasant person with a life, like aiming only for moderate level exercise and only 30 minutes of that per day.
Sometimes I leave the setting to whatever Fitbit arbitrarily decided already. I mean why 5 miles? Could have gone 7. Could have gone 3.5. You want me to go 5, Fitbit? Sounds good.
Here’s where Fitbit works so beautifully for me- somehow between myself, my environment and Fitbit itself, I’ve made goals. Then, every day that I hit those goals, Fitbit celebrates and I do too.
Alerts for hitting my markers. All the digital confetti I mentioned above. And, my absolute favorite, markers to let me know how far I’ve gone.
Did I walk the length of the London Underground early in my Fitbit days? Why, yes. I did.
Have I followed the Monarch Migration trail it’s full length? Indeed. *coughcouh, nail check coughcough*
Have I walked the length of Africa? GUILTY AS CHARGED.
Call me shallow, call me silly, but I get a little grin each time I go to my Fitbit Badges and see these miles markers. They – the makers of this activity band – find all kinds of ways to celebrate my activity. I’ve earned badges in all catergories for Daily Steps including “Classics,” “Urban Boot,” and the least impressive, but delightfully titled “Boat Shoes.”
I love my imaginary earnings.
And I want to feel as accomplished in other places of my life as I do about my Fitbit life.
Possibly because I struggle to find positive aspects in my own life, to see silver linings in my clouds, with a tendency to turn my nose up to the spoonful of sugar to get that medicine down, celebrating doesn’t come naturally for me.
You might say, I suck at it.
However, the more I Fitbit, the more I’m learning from their delightful screen-savvy ways.
Looking at my life like the Fitbit app might report back to me encourages me in two ways: to keep going; and to celebrate when I get somewhere.
Sinkful of dishes? Wash ’em, all of ’em, even that last dang dirty spoon you found and tossed in the sink, hoping it might just slink over into the clean dishes section of its own accord.
Next morning? Small victory dance in the kitchen over that empty sink. Bonus square of dark chocolate to highlight the victory.
9pm Monday and still haven’t posted on my blog? Sit down, set a 20 minute timer, and start writing. Do nothing else until the timer chimes. If you’re not done (and you won’t be) repeat timer, keep going. An hour to ninety minutes after you started, hit ‘publish.”
In bed that night? Check the blog app on phone, read through previous posts, particularly anytime it’s been liked or received a comment. Bask in the words you’ve generated, and the praise they’ve received, no matter how tiny.
Stressful day at work and AmazonPrime deals hard to pass up? Take a walk. A long one. Long enough that you’re hungry and possibly cranky by the time you get home. Make dinner, watch show or read book. Refrain from touching your phone.
The next time you read your low or non-existent credit card statement? Take you and your sweetheart out to eat (somewhere cheap) and celebrate how all those ‘no’s’ to “Add to My Cart” added up to this evening out with your boo.
Heck, go crazy and make names for things!
You just walked the All the Debt I Didn’t Incur Trail. Congratulations!
Wracking up serious points on the So Tired and Wrote that Post Anyway Safari. Keep it up!
Way to earn the Kept My Kitchen Clean and Tidy Like a Boss Badge. Crushing. It.
I don’t know about you, but, for me, a little encouragement can go a long way, even if it’s only between me, myself, and I. Fitbit’s worked out the beauty of positive motivation.
And that digital screen, expecting me to show up today just like I did yesterday, goes a long way to keep me motivated.
If you’re moving into the new year, and you’re struggling to find your rhythm, I invite you to look at your life like one big Fitbit screen. Somewhere in here, you’ve got a big goal, and a lot of little goals that fall underneath it, helping you achieve it.
Maybe it’s a Peaceful and Balanced Life, or a Day Full of Adventures. What little parts of the day help you achieve what you’re looking for?
I suggest picking 4 or 5 mini-actions that move you towards your goal, and placing them squarely (in your mind or on a page or screen) under them.
Now do them. Do them, even when it’s hard, and then celebrate them, even when it’s only for yourself.
And if you miss a day, and don’t hit every goal, don’t blow up every circle, let it go, and start over tomorrow.
Imagine your activity tracker urging you on. Imagine the graphic confetti. Imagine the badges.
In the end, with my tracker, I set the goals, not Fitbit. I decide what’s in, and what’s out. And in the end, I’m the one who does or doesn’t do them. There’s no pretending to accomplish anything. I’d only be fooling myself.
Maybe this new year could be a chance to find your own inner encouragement, your own inner badges.
For all those not sure what to achieve, I’m praying clear guidance for you, the confidence and commitment to go towards it, and the gentleness to move on and start over when you fall short. To let your own inner Fitbit guide you closer the to the person you were created to be, and to become your own #1 fan, and personal cheering section over every accomplishment, big and small.