There is internal motivation and external motivation. Some people are wired to respond to one more than the other and that is just another example of personal differences. Nothing wrong with either one. For those of us that respond well to external motivation, many have found success with fitness trackers, apps, and other challenges where we get positive reinforcement from others.
Did ya know that I just earned my helicopter badge on my FitBit?! What does that mean? I don't know. BUT, I know that I gave myself a little pat on the back when I got the notification! It feels good to get recognition, and can give us a push when we have visible evidence that we aren't pushing ourselves hard enough. So what's the issue you ask?
Let me start by saying that I love technology and use it frequently in my health and fitness journey. I wear a Fitbit daily and have a host of apps that I use regularly. Heck, I even use a personalized app for my training clients with tons of success! However, we need to shift our focus from the app/tracker/challenge back onto ourselves. Ultimately, they are a great tool to help establish habits, but if we ONLY walk when we have our FitBit on, then it doesn't serve much purpose. However, if tracking your steps on your FitBit is making you fall back in love with walking and has created a morning walk routine, then keep on keepin' on!
You'll hear me say it a million times, but on the quest for health, our focus needs to be on habits. One amazing dessert, a week of pizza, or a month of take out food is not going to ruin us. And on the other side, that one workout, a week of 10k plus steps, or a month of yoga isn't going to fix everything. Assuming that you sleep for 8 hours a night (because you are, right?!), there are still 6,720 minutes in your week for you to create health. I turn 32 years old this August, which means that if I averaged 8 hours of sleep a night over the course of my life, I have had nearly 11 millions minutes of awake time. What am I doing MOST of the time is what has created the body and mind that I have today. I walk throughout my day. I take the dog on short walks. I take my daughter to the park. I make less time efficient choices for the sake of walking just a bit more. I park at the back of parking lots and take multiple trips up and down the stairs every day. Walking is a habit. It's just what I do. Just like I eat vegetables and fermented foods every day. I mean, I also eat ice cream and cinnamon rolls, but the MAJORITY of the food that I eat is there to make my body feel wonderful. It's all about the habits.
So, use your FitBit and your tracking apps, but please, make sure that they are serving their purpose. Make sure that they are helping you implement good routines into your day, and that you will continue those actions even when no one is there to cheer you on. That is the true test.
So tell me, what are your favorite apps and tracking devices?