Something that has bothered me more and more in recent months, maybe even years, is the rise of the ‘Fitbit’.
I felt this a little bit back in the day when Satnav was first introduced in cars, and suddenly we lost our autonomy and desire for understanding our surroundings and planning ahead when we were going on a journey. We put all our trust in a machine, a piece of kit, instead of relying on our own understanding (and please let there be no road works to throw us off track). But it was ok, I understood, I clearly saw the benefits and it made sense on so many levels, any negatives were largely insignificant in the wider context.
But things have moved on a lot since then. I am not convinced it's so healthy anymore. I think the balance has tipped and instead of trusting ourselves and how we feel, we trust the data and the numbers worn around our wrists.
We base our happiness on this data.
We base our 'good enough-ness' on this data.
We base our worthiness as a human being on this data.
If we haven't reached our 10,000 steps we are not good enough. That’s the message that we are so often telling ourselves, often subconsciously, when we wear a Fitbit.
We track every aspect of our lives. But these numbers have no soul.
These goals do not shine a light on the nuances of what our body most needs. If we wake up the morning feeling a bit under the weather or if we get injured, or there is some other reason that it might not be so appropriate to pack in our 10,000 steps, we feel 'less than', we break that continuum, we ruin that streak.
I do get it and I do understand how on the flip side we can greatly benefit from how apps can support our lives, but at what point do these tools go too far? At what point do they no longer support us? At what point do we lose our sense of self in the process?
We are at the mercy of our own data tracking. We are spending more time in our heads analysing, but not in our bodies, feeling.
This growing disconnect is what I have a problem with.
We live our lives as if a paint by numbers artwork.
It looks all pretty, but we just followed the instructions and put the blobs of colour in the right places. We had no say in what it really looked like as the finished masterpiece. It does not allow us to colour outside of the lines, to make it our own, to understand the entire process of creation, of being ourselves, of being intuitive, of acknowledging the essence, the intricacies and subtleties of who we are.
We are so much more than numbers.
Where you can you take back the autonomy in your life today?
I have some ideas, and would love to hear your thoughts too…
Try spending five minutes simply tuning in and listening to your body when you first wake up in the morning and ask yourself what you need today. What do you really need to do, feel or hear?
Trackers can be great for accountability but there are others ways too. Try getting an accountability buddy to check in with. A real person to share successes with and provide mutual support to get through the tougher bits of the journey.
Take off your Fitbit and get moving for the pure joy and freedom of movement… not to measure or reach a quota. What kind of movement or exercise would bring your body and mind most joy right now?
Jo is the health and mindset coach who works with the ‘square pegs’ trying to force themselves into ‘round holes’. Her passion was born from a personal journey of plant-based nutrition being the gateway to stepping away from convention and conformity into a deeper connection with her true sense of self. When she’s not whipping up incredible dishes in the kitchen, you can find her sharing her recipes and words of wisdom over at www.includingcake.com and on Instagram @johodson