On Watch

I got a Fitbit for Christmas. I didn’t ask for one, but my husband thought it would encourage me to exercise. I hear this often from people. “I got a Fitbit because I thought it would motivate me to exercise more.” What comes first? Do you get the device and then get motivated, or do you get motivated and get the device to stay motivated?

I was already inspired. Before I received the Fitbit. I knew I wanted to figure out an exercise plan for the colder months. Something that would work for me. Over the summer, I walked and ran outside. I knew I wouldn’t want to go out in the cold of winter to do that. But I also knew I wanted to learn to embrace each day, and that meant even embracing bitter temperatures. That means I have to walk even though it’s cold. I’d already begun. These are promises I made to myself. I intend to follow through–gadgets or not.

Once I opened the gift, I realized, in some ways, it could help me accomplish my fitness goals. My husband helped me set it up. I looked at all the things it could do and decided which things were useful for me and which weren’t. I went down the checklist out loud. Yes, I want to track my heart rate since my doctor has told me I have high blood pressure. Yes, I want to track my steps when I do walk and run and find out how many calories I’m burning. That would be interesting.

But no, I don’t want to wear it while I’m sleeping to track my sleep. Why not? My husband wanted to know. I just don’t want to wear it while I’m sleeping. I already know if I’m awake or asleep; I don’t care to collect any more sleep data about myself beyond that. He likes to track his sleep, but I’d rather not.

“Well, you can also get text notifications on your Fitbit. That way when I text you, you’ll get it right away.”

“Nope, I’m not doing that either.”

I think I respond in a timely fashion to texts. Most of them aren’t emergencies. I think people are too attuned to notifications on their phones. To me, they can be a real distraction from healthy conversation and human interaction that we need so desperately now more than ever. When I’m talking to someone and they abruptly look down at their wrist to read a text from someone else, I find it very rude. But they had to tell me they had a cheeseburger for dinner. Do we hear ourselves?

I’m also not going to wear it all the time, log my meals or the amount of water I’m drinking, and I most certainly am not going to use it to buy things. That just scares me.

At this point, he must’ve thought he’d made a bad investment in this device if his wife was not going to use half of its capabilities. But I told him if I don’t have the freedom to say no to things–no matter what they are–I am not free. Just because it has all these applications, it doesn’t mean I have to spend my time participating in them. And aren’t these devices meant to improve our lives? If I’m spending time tapping data into it instead of doing the things I really want to do, how is that an improvement? I refuse to be ruled by a glorified pedometer. It’s just another form of bondage. And worse because this is one we actually pay for and submit to voluntarily.

I think he not only respected my opinion, but he’s starting to come around himself. When we went for a walk, we both wore our Fitbits (because that’s one of the things I really want to do with mine), but neither one of us had our phone. I never bring mine. He said he forgot his. But I wonder. . .


About Amy Nicholson

A busy wife and mother pausing to ponder the beauty and complexity of life and share it with words.
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2 Responses to On Watch

  1. Catherine says:

    I no longer use my Fitbit. I do not like the tracking role it has in my life. I love that you called it a glorified pedometer! Enjoy the walking!


  2. Dick Benton says:

    You set the right tone on that one, Amy. People have no clue to the extent of today’s electronic bondage! We’re not stupid, but most have no idea to the degree we’ve been sucked in. The sirens are singing and the rocks are near.


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