When I began Operation Suck Less 2014™ I knew walking would be a key component for both exercise and reflection so I decided a pedometer would be useful to provide accurate progress updates.
Doing absolutely no research other than seeing it mentioned by Wil Wheaton and others on my social streams, and it for sale on Amazon.com, I decided to get a Fitbit One; Wil Wheaton walked along a rail road track looking for a dead body in a movie ages ago, I figured he must know something about walking.
Once it arrived, I clipped it on immediately and completely ignored the instructions until I realized it needed to be charged and I had to do all that initial set up business which luckily was quite easy.
My first few days were about getting an understanding of just how little I was walking; I knew the golden triangle of bed, couch, kitchen, was not packing on the miles but seeing the actual numbers on that tiny digital screen reinforced that doing just about anything was going to make me Suck Less in 2014™ but that I had a long way to go to get back to my 3 to 5 miles of walking a day.
I have a tendency to overdo, skipping that whole enjoying the journey business and wanting the immediate results; this usually leads to big setbacks and cranky moods. So while I had a long way to go to hit my goals, I also needed to take care of my injuries and make progress gradually. The Fitbit provided the means to do this by allowing me to add a number of steps each week and telling me when it was time to stop and to ignore that other voice in my head telling me I was being a wimp and should keep going until I crumpled in pain.
Slowly, I was able to build my daily steps from nearly nonexistent to 8,000 – 10,000 depending on the days other activity and I am confident I will continue to increase until I am back to 10,000 a day minimum.
My walks vary each day from pacing the hallway to wandering around the neighborhood in random directions and I use the gym track and the treadmill when I am focusing on intervals or trying to be less pokey. No matter which approach I take, I can always tell how far I have gone in a day and how many more steps I need to reach my goal.
When I remember to clip it on, the Fitbit is so easy and it automatically syncs with my phone app and the website, tracking steps, miles, stairs and more. It can go quite a long time without needing a quick charge, which is a huge plus. The product has several features I have not bothered to use such as a vibrating alarm and sleep monitoring but just knowing I have that option works for me.
Fitbit has a social component as well and although I was hesitant to add my first friend, I like having the playful competition as well as sending cheers, or taunts, to others. I was concerned about privacy but it is easy to keep hidden what I do not feel like sharing with the masses. I was also concerned about feeling like a lazy slacker compared to others, but decided I am just doing my own thing and I am only competing with what I accomplished yesterday, not my friends; I tell myself this, yet I am totally annoyed when others walk more than me. Grrr.
A favorite, and silly, feature is the messages the product will randomly send like “hold me” and “walk me”; they always make me smile. The badges are nice as well as they are not over done but only for meaningful milestones. When I received a badge for walking my first 50 miles, it made me feel good knowing that all my little, slow steps could add up to a trip to the burbs and back.
I have mixed feelings about the notifications telling me how many steps I need to make my goal. When I am feeling motivated, they make me get out there and walk. However, when I am feeling tired or my knee achy, it makes me what to tell the little bit to piss off and mind its own business. Either way, so far I have reached my goal each day. Go me!
Right now my Fitbit feels like an obsessed friend encouraging me in my quest to Suck Less in 2014™ but I can see a time where it might feel like a nagging pain in the butt, judging and stalking me as a sit on the couch being a slug. It will happen but I hope that day is a long way off and, more so, that it only lasts a single day.
I think it is cool that I know 4 people so far that have purchased one of these handy gizmos based on my usage of it, but it would be way cooler if I got some kind of a commission or maybe a personalized one in a sweet color as a thank you. For the time being, I will have to be satisfied sending them cheers now and again until they go ahead of me on the friend leader board and I will have to decide to walk more or just unfriend them.
So thumbs up for my Fitbit. It is doing exactly what I needed by helping me reach my goals without going overboard and is adding a bit of fun to the process. And now it is time to stop typing and go walking.