My relationship with Fitbit has changed drastically over the last year. In September 2015, I purchased a Fitbit Flex and wore it religiously for eleven months. I lamented my Fitbit failings along the way. Then I lost the charger. (Hah.) I could have easily found a new cable and kept stepping along. But I found that there were some deficiencies in my Flex compared to my now-current fitness tracking needs. And after scoping out my options, I finally acquired a black Fitbit Charge 2. I’ve been using it for two weeks now, and I’m extremely happy with the results.

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E is for Exercise — Why I Fail at Fitbit

My Fitbit software got an upgrade yesterday. Or, rather, I noticed it yesterday. Now, not only does it track how few active minutes I have a day, how many calories I eat, how little I sleep, and how hopelessly far away I am from 10,000 steps per day — but it also tells me how sedentary I am during my workday. Yay!

Basically, it does this fun thing where it tells you to get at least 250 steps per hour. Totally reasonable. But it only tracks this, by default, during the hours between 9am and 6pm. You know, the hours most people sit down and don’t stand up for quite a while. It makes sense. It also makes me feel sad. It’s just another reminder of how much I fail at Fitbit.

I bought my Fitbit Flex in September. I knew I wanted to be more active, but I also wanted some visibility into how active I am in general, whether I’m making an effort or not. And I have to say, even if my activity level hasn’t increased by a single step, I’m still glad I made the purchase. The data and insights are super helpful and interesting, especially when it comes to getting a restful sleep. I also love being able to see the exact time at which my cat jumped on my face in the middle of the night.

Despite my lack of goal-achieving, I try to do a couple of things differently now, at least, compared to before I had my Fitbit:

1. Walking to or from work

I live ridiculously close to my office. It’s a 5-minute drive or a 25-minute walk. However, that walk is just long enough to make me freezing in the winter or sweating in the summer. Plus I have to change my shoes… So I’ll walk home from work. Sometimes. And in the winter, not very often at all. This one’s a bit of a fail.

2. Walking…to the far Tim Hortons

If I’m going to be going to Tim Hortons anyway, I might as well get some exercise, right? …Right?

3. Exercise with Netflix

I have one of these so that I don’t just lie on the couch while binge-watching The Mindy Project. #progress

4. Walking in place (haha!)

So my manager noticed that I do this whenever we’re having a standing or impromptu meeting. That’s not Fitbit cheating, is it? Okay, maybe it is. But it’s better than sitting!

5. Hiking on weekends

Okay, this one’s legit. You can read more about my opinions on hiking in this post. But, of course, that’s only one day a week — not enough to carry my weekly average!

So now that I’ve identified some of the things that are working for me, what’s holding me back? I think it boils down to two things: self-consciousness and inconsistent motivation. Realistically, if I were consistently motivated, the self-consciousness likely wouldn’t even be a barrier. But having a Fitbit on my wrist is the norm for me now, so its presence isn’t a sufficient motivator. Looks like if I want to get back on the 10,000-step wagon, I’ll have to, like, actually try… Sigh. I’d better go get some steps.

What holds you back from your fitness goals, and how do you stay motivated?

Last night my sister took me to a drop-in Zumba class. I’ve tried Zumba once before – and trust me, I was no better this time than I was last time. For context, my sister has been dancing for, what, twelve years now? And I’ve been dancing for a total of zero. (Unless you count ballet in Kindergarten. Which I don’t.) Here are some of my thoughts from the experience.

I have no coordination whatsoever.

I knew that going in, but for some reason I figured I would get better as the class progressed. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to do any moves that involved my arms and my legs moving in different directions. I was less winded by the end than I was at the beginning, but no less awkward.

I’m convinced my sister and I can’t be related.

If you overlook all the other ways my sister and I are basically identical… Okay, fine, we’re related. I guess I’m okay with her being the athletic one. I’m the smart one. (I’ll keep telling myself that…)

I got my daily steps! Or did I?

My Fitbit buzzed during the class to congratulate me on reaching 10,000 steps today. But I have to wonder, how many of those “steps” were actually just from shaking my wrist?

I wish I could control the colour of my face.

Am I the only one whose face turns bright red whenever I exercise? It stays like that for almost an hour! It probably has something to do with the fact that I never exercise, but maybe I’m not alone in this.

I enjoy Zumba more when I recognize the songs.

Out of the hour-long class, I knew one of the songs. It was Pitbull, obviously. I found it a lot easier to engage and follow the instructor when I was able to anticipate the music and sing along in my head when I knew the words. I imagine that if I were to join a Zumba class and attend regularly, I would probably get to know a number of the songs in other languages. I noticed my sister had learned the words to some of them. Maybe this could be a minor motivation to make this a regular thing?

It was pretty fun!

Would I go again? Probably. Will I go weekly? Maybe not. We’ll see what the new year will bring!

Have you tried Zumba? What was your experience?

Goals for 2016

The new year is finally upon us! Well, actually, it’s been upon us for three days now. I love using the new year as a fresh start for pursuing my goals, so I’ve spent the last few days composing a list of the goals I want to achieve in the coming year. Last year was pretty great, and I was able to accomplish many of the goals I’d set out for myself. But there were still many things on my list that I didn’t complete. The common trend in those unachieved goals was that there was no clear motivation behind them – they were just items on a to-do list that were never done. This year, I really hope to focus on the goals that will have a real impact on my life.

More steps per day on my Fitbit

I purchased a Fitbit Flex back in September, and I love being able to see how much exercise I get on a day-to-day basis. I’d like to be more consistent with increased activity levels this year so that I can improve my emotional and physical well-being. My realistic goal is 50,000 steps per week, but I’d love to hit 70,000 (the recommended 10k per day)!

8 hours of sleep

This one is so hard to stick to, especially when the rest of my household doesn’t have a fixed sleep schedule (that’s the boyfriend and the cat). I personally benefit in a lot of ways from getting enough sleep, so I’d like to make this a habit!

Read more

I used to be a voracious reader, but now I’m ashamed to admit that Netflix has taken over. Reading has all of the benefits of television for me, without the downside of lasting lethargy. I’ve already started making a list of books I want to read on my new Kindle (both fiction and non-fiction), and I hope to wean myself off TV as much as possible.

Knit a pair of socks

This one is a bit arbitrary, but I just got a set of circular needles for Christmas, and I want to tackle the quintessential knitting project!

Improve my technical skillset

I haven’t narrowed this down yet, but I want to become more proficient in technology. This might be in the form of a new programming language, a concept or course… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Keep blogging

As I mentioned when I launched this blog, I want to stretch my writing muscles, share my thoughts, and get to know myself a little better. I hope to post at least every other day and nail down what this blog is really about!

Identify my dream job?

I don’t want to jump the gun here, but if I don’t make it a goal, how will I ever achieve it? I hope to do some soul-searching and research in the coming year.

Track and plan my goals

I’ve got a really sweet planner (more on that later), so I want to use it! Creating mini-goals will help keep me motivated and on track to succeed.

What are your goals for 2016?