#1070 – FitBit

I’m not planning on buying an Apple Watch, but if one just showed up at my doorstep I don’t think that I would send it back. I’m not opposed to wearable technology, I just think the Apple Watch creates a solution for a problem I don’t have.

Not only am I not opposed to wearable technology, but it’s something that I have actually embraced. I’ve had a FitBit for a year and a half; it has definitely become a part of my lifestyle. As much as I never leave home without my cell phone, I also never leave home without my FitBit. And since I got my FitBit Charge, which also acts as a watch, I only ever take it off when I’m in the shower.

FitBit is an activity tracker. There are a bunch of different models that track different things. My FitBit Charge tracks my steps, calories burned, distance walked and flights of steps climbed. In the year and a half that I’ve had my FitBit, I think it has made a positive impact on my health. It definitely makes me more aware of my level of activity and acts as a catalyst to keep from being too lazy. If I get home after a long day of meetings, which usually involve sitting on my butt, seeing that I only have 3,000 steps will get me to go to the gym.

More than a lack of steps, though, I’ve definitely been motivated by the social aspect of FitBit. Like most everything these days, there’s a social component to FitBit. The app allows the user to add and interact with friends, encouraging them and engaging in challenges with them. The challenges are what have really impacted my life.

There are daily challenges, workweek challenges and weekend challenges. The user competes against his or her friends, trying to get the most steps. And man, do I love winning challenges.

I was in a workweek challenge earlier this year when I was sick. I probably should have been at home in bed, but I decided to go to the gym just so I wouldn’t lose.

Yesterday I was in second place in my workweek challenge so I spent a half hour on the treadmill, two hours on the elliptical and took my dog on a two-mile walk.

My sister said that the competition was good for me if it encouraged me to be more active and lead a healthier lifestyle. However, I’ve definitely felt some of the uglier side of competition.

Pride.

Anger.

Envy.

I didn’t spend two and a half hours in the gym yesterday because I wanted to be healthier, but because I was angry that I wasn’t in first place. Sure, there are definitely some health benefits, but those aren’t my main motivation. My main motivation is that I want to win and I want others to lose.

That is definitely counter to the attitude of Jesus. He told James and John that the key to being first was to be last. I’m pretty sure the key to being first, at least with FitBit, is getting more steps than the other people.

I enjoy some of the changes FitBit has brought into my life. Like most pieces of technology, though, we have to be aware of their downside. Being more active and healthier are definitely two great results of FitBit. But while FitBit may be extending my life, is it turning me into someone that people wouldn’t want around longer?

How have you seen the positives and negatives of technology in your life?

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