Periodically I am prompted to download one of those large iPhone updates on my cell phone. Normally I have no idea what the update changes, but sometimes it adds a new app, like “Wallet” or “Watch,” that appears on my screen but I never use thereafter.
One of the recent updates added an app called, simply, “Health.” I ignored it, too, until I inadvertently opened it two days ago and saw that it is tracking steps, distance walked, and flights of stairs climbed, and then creating a daily average. Those results are displayed on a dashboard chart against a kind of goal line — like 14,000 steps — that lurks just beyond my standard daily output. Based on what my Fitbit Friends have said, it sounds like a iPhone variation of the Fitbit. (The “Health” app also allows you to do other things, like identify and download other apps that will collect and analyze other personal health data, in categories like “sleep” and “nutrition,” but I’m not going to worry about those.)
As soon as I saw the tracking dashboard for the app, it hooked me. I’m not a super-competitive person, but I am goal-oriented — even if it’s a goal set for me by some anonymous app added to my iPhone in a generic update. As soon as I realized that the app was tracking flights of stairs climbed, I felt strangely compelled to take the stairs to try to up my average. And even though I walk a mile and a half to work everyday, I’m still coming up a bit short of those 14,000 steps, and I feel an irresistible urge to try to hit, and then surpass, that goal.
Our brains are wired in different ways. Some people find the motivation to exercise within, some never find it, some respond to doctor’s orders, and some are encouraged by measuring their progress and trying to improve those numbers. I’m definitely in the latter category. Today I’m going to change my routine to try to get to those 14,000 steps — and a few more flights of stairs to boot.