It’s approximately 1,900 steps from the front door of my apartment to my desk at work.
It’s approximately 40 steps to and from my desk to my friend’s desk at work.
It’s approximately 1,600 steps to the nearest Trader Joes.
And it’s approximately 1,200 steps to Chipotle.
My name is Michael, and I’m addicted to my Fitbit.
Cue the beautiful, rewarding wrist-buzz, here.
This morning alone, I had one friend text me that they’d left their Fitbit at home, and another inform me that his battery had died just as he sat down at work. How either of these situations happened is beyond me, however I have become somewhat of a keeper of the Fitbit experience for many in my life.
I should confess, I’m a Fitbit pusher. Over the past year, I have convinced more than two-dozen friends to buy a Fitbit. And, while I have no regrets, I do feel as thought I’ve enabled several into this addicted world of step-watching and buzz-rewards.
I mean, there are people at my work who I remember having a Fitbit before remembering their name. I would walk by them in the office, hold up my arm and say, “Hey, Fitbit friend!” It bordered on ‘weirdo new guy’ and ‘bless his heart.’ I digress, and I recognize the amount of, “OMG I got a Fitbit,” and other related articles that are alive and poppin’ these days. There’s certainly no shortage of dissonance, that’s for sure (like this piece, and this piece).
But it’s magical, the moment when you realize you’ve reached your step goal. The moment that buzz sends tingles through your body (and netherregions). That moment you realize nothing else in the world matters except for the 10,000 steps you just smashed with ease. While I am potentially getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it, I should add, nothing makes one feel more like an ogre-troll (yep, just made that up) than laying down for bed and realizing you’ve only actually hit 3,000 steps that day.
Let’s be honest, this happens a lot. And the competition options do not help with the troll-like feelings.
As an unpaid-ambassador of a device I love so dear, I had a moment this past week where I realized it had gotten too far out of hand. Allow me to break this down:
One of my best friends was seeing this guy for a few months (they’re no longer dating, but still friends). Let’s call him, “Dude.” My friend invites Dude to a group with myself and the person I have been seeing for a few weeks. Here’s the catch: the person I am seeing has history with Dude. Of course, I was completely taken back by the invite to this group. And, of course, I eventually viewed this as a major challenge.
I had to beat Dude. Dude was going down. Down Dude, down.
You get the point.
It was 10:00PM the night of our challenge, and just as I synced my phone to show these fools who was boss on the Fitbit workout, I discovered all three competitors were several-thousand steps ahead of me (dammit, Dude!). And, I was well-over my 10K daily goal. So, what’s a pathetic soul to do to make up for this atrocity? I did what any competitive almost-thirty year old would do: I threw some shoes on and headed outside to catch up. I walked. And I walked.
And I walked some more. I synced my steps, and realized they, too, were acquiring steps while I was out pacing the streets of DC. Finally, an hour into this walk and seeing my bedtime flash before my eyes, I stopped mid-step and exclaimed out loud, “What the hell am I doing?” I wasn’t going to win this challenge. Hell, my friend who started the challenge had just got his Fitbit – and we all know how eager people are those first few days of tracking (borderline behavior of a Crossfit newbie, just saying).
I walked back to my apartment, took a shower, and plopped down in my bed. 14,000 steps was good enough for me. It had to be. Hell 1 step was good enough, and 14,000 was certainly just enough, too. And even more, my worth was not in a bunch of steps. My worth was in me, and what I felt and am feeling, and am working on feeling. Progress. That’s enough. And I was at peace with my…performance.
Friends, if you have a Fitbit, or if you have any other type of device that tracks your weight, your work out, your daily whatever – please do it for you. Be in competition with yourself. Set your own goals, and achieve your own successes. Be at peace. These devices are good, and they can do good things. But don’t place your value in what the numbers say. Whether it is 14,000 steps (or 30,000 as my friend got on his first day – again, eager newbie) or 1 step, you control where you go. Go there (and, of course, wherever, “there,” might be).
Now, get to steppin!’
On the move,
*I recognize people have real addictions, and while my “addiction” to my Fitbit may seem in jest, please know this piece is intended to be playful and not used in comparison to individuals whose addictions are more serious or self-consuming.