Life Lessons From a Fitness Tracker

On my previous post, ‘Want Success? Aim Lower!’, I wrote about how I re-engaged with my sadly forgotten fitness tracker, and by lowering my targets, I managed to succeed. I can happily report that my progress, for the most part, has continued. And if I have the odd bad day, I accept it and put my best foot forward.

I have since rediscovered the world of tracker stats. Delving into the accompanying app, there is a goldmine of health-related stats to pan out, should I get the urge. I looked at my sleep patterns (probably not getting enough), resting heart rate (dropped to respectable levels) and even started recording my water intake (increased due to buying a fruit-infuser water bottle).

And as a tracker is made for tracking, it’s great for looking at trends and patterns in your fitness journey.

But it also has another benefit. Whether you use the app or not, the  tracker helps you stay in the moment. Or at least to take one day at a time.

I’ve had good days when I’ve blown my targets out of the water. And bad ones where I’ve sunk without trace. But come midnight, everything resets to Zero. Without fail.

Every morning I wake up to a tracker empty of steps, but full of possibilities. How it plays out is down to me – I have to take responsibility for my own actions. Do I take a step in the right direction, or a turn for the worse?

And tomorrow, it all starts again – my results are washed clean. I’m up and walking. Today was the best day ever? Great, but soon those numbers will disappear. Yesterday was a washout? No matter, today can be better. I’m free to choose. 

That’s not a bad prompt to get every morning. So many positives from such a small device.

Want Success? Aim Lower!

If you keep consistently missing the target, don’t aim higher – give yourself an easier target to aim at! You know it makes sense. How often do we set unrealistic goals – then punish ourselves for falling short? I know I do.

Take my Fitbit for example (other fitness trackers are available). When I first bought my shiny new exercise tracker, I was super keen to make it work for me. I even went for long walks in my lunch break to increase my daily step count. Once I got home, I was literally walking around the room to make sure I made my daily quota. It was 10000 steps or bust.

Why 10000? Well I thought it was some sort of medical recommendation to improve fitness. It turns out to have been a marketing campaign for an older version of a step counter, way back in the 1960’s.

Anyway, back to my efforts. Things went great for a month or two. It may have been less, but my memory is a touch hazy. Then gradually I started not trying so hard to reach my goals. And then the Fitbit seemed to be irritating my wrist, so I was wearing it less and less. And if you’re not going to achieve the target, there’s no point wearing it, right?

But as I started a healthy eating plan recently (it’s not a diet, definitely not a diet) I thought that would be a good time to charge up my Fitbit. It was at the time totally depleted of energy – not unlike myself.

But lo and behold, I still wasn’t hitting the magic steps barrier. And the trouble is, if I wasn’t close by the evening, there was no point to increasing my steps. I figured, if I’m going to miss my target, I might as well do it by a mile. Or several.

But then a thought hit me. Why not lower my target? 8000 daily steps seemed more doable. First, I had to overcome the ‘shame’ of lowering my target. But I gave it a go anyway. And you know what, it worked!

On day 1, I was walking around the room again to get my steps up. By Day 2, I’d reached my goal without even thinking about it. Ironically, it was on my way back from picking up a fish and chips takeaway meal. The Healthy Eating Plan was taking a slight hit. But, one goal at a time, eh!

So, the moral of the story is, if you’re not reaching your target, make it more realistic (that’s ‘lower it’ to you and me). How good does it feel to reach a goal, no matter that it’s smaller? It certainly helps to keep that ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ on track.

Happy stepping!