Fitbit, we’re breaking up.
When accountability became obsession
June 28, 2011. The day I joined the “fitness wearbles” bandwagon and put on my Fitbit for the first time. I clipped my Fitbit (the original, thankyouverymuch) to my bra religiously, nearly every day for two years, then joyfully upgraded to the Fitbit Flex (waterproof! longer battery life!) the day it came out in 2013.
The tiny tracker changed my life. I became completely aware of my activity (and lack of activity in 2012,) and adjusted my habits for the better. Walk more, drive less. Take breaks. MOVE. I was committed to my 10k a day or more, and spent the better part of 2013 really on a roll.
Things started going downhill in February of this year. That’s when I started spinning. Spinning is an activity that truly changed my life. I have WILLINGLY set my alarm at 5:00 am to go to spin class. I’m obsessed and for the better part of six months, I’ve spun 3–4 times a week, every week. It’s become an outlet for me and something I truly love doing.
You know what you don’t get spinning? STEPS.
You know what I wanted every day? STEPS.
When I started spinning, I stopped running, almost completely. Less running = less steps. Less steps = me obsessing over my 10k a day and staying on top of the leaderboard. I became fixated with my leaderboard. I am fiercely competitive and not only did I want to be at the top, I wanted to be WAY ahead of all my friends. And my family. We are insanely competitive.
10,000 steps a day is not a difficult task for me most days. I have an active dog, and said dog needs to be walked, multiple times a day. But I stopped actually enjoying the dog walks because every 5 minutes I’d check my phone and see how far that bar had moved towards 10,000. I’d go for a hike and pay less attention to all the scenes around me and only focus on those five dots on my Fitbit and how close I was getting to my calorie burn goal and step goal.
Earlier this year I was sick with the sinus infection-ear infection-strep throat trifecta, and all I could think about was how I was only getting in 3,000 steps a day and OH HELL NO WHO WILL REPLACE ME ATOP THE FITBIT LEADERBOARD?
It all became exhausting.
Today I watched as Apple rolled out the Apple Watch and really didn’t think much of it until they got to the part about activity tracking. So many stats! So much accountability! More charts and positive reinforcement!
I’m a sucker for these things, but when I watched it again, and then a third time, I realized I don’t need that accountability anymore. I established these habits years ago with the help of a Fitbit, but now I know what I need to do and I don’t need a device to tell me I’m living an active lifestyle.
I don’t judge anyone that is into wearables. As I said, mine changed my life and I’m so glad I spent a few years with it. I’m just too type-A for the thing. I want to be able to just go for a run and not think about my exact mileage and steps and calories burned. I want to feel ok about having the occasional lazy Sunday and staying in my pajamas all day. I want to see more and stop checking my phone so damn much.
So Fitbit, we’re breaking up. Don’t take it personally, because honestly I’m the happiest I’ve ever been — in part because of what you’ve taught me. Let’s just go our separate ways and I can live my life and not stress over making sure my wrist buzzes at end of every day.