Final Death of the Fitness Tracker
In November of 2015, I responded to a Groupon offer for a Jawbone Up fitness tracker. A student in one of my classes had one and after class had taken some time to show me the features. I was particularly interested in the sleep feature, where the band tracked your sleep and showed you how often you were in light sleep versus deep sleep and how often you woke during the night. The band also vibrated to wake you when you were in light sleep within a window that you specified, which was supposed to make waking up easier. The tracking of steps and activities was cool too.
I loved my band! I loved the feeling of accomplishment when I tracked all those steps! I loved that it synced to RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal and showed me all of my health information. And I LOVED the vibration of the band waking me up rather than a loud alarm clock. (I still set the alarm as a back up, which was good, because I discovered if you went a day without syncing the band to your phone, it would occasionally forget the alarm.)
I went through four or five iterations of my Jawbone. It crapped out fairly early the first time. I called, went through the troubleshooting and it was replaced quickly. By this time I had my husband (then fiance) on the band and was 'friends' with a few more people on Up. I almost always 'won' the step counts for the day. What a boost! Go me! The band crapped out again and again was replaced.
The second or third time that it pooped out, I admitted secretly to myself that I was kind of glad to have a break from it, although I missed the gentle vibration waking me up in the morning. It was kind of annoying on a week where I was sick, or on vacation, that it would tell me that I 'hadn't been my active self lately' and I basically needed to get a move on. There was no way to tell the software that you were under the weather or taking some well deserved time off. (Did it occur to me to just take the band off during those times and put it back on when I was feeling better or back in town? No... somehow I never thought to do that.)
This final time it crapped out while I was on my honeymoon. Not a big deal really. And I silently promised myself that this time, if it wasn't replaced, I would just let it go.
I just got off the phone with Jawbone. They offered me a 25% gift card to replace the band, but I'm no longer under warranty. (This last one did outlast all the others.)
I've decided that, for a while at least, I'm not going to replace the band. I did learn a lot from it and tracking my sleep was very helpful for me. I know when I need to get to bed to get the sleep I need. I know what days I'm most likely not getting 10,000 steps or more (Fridays usually, my day off running, and occasionally Sundays) and I know that I basically need to drink more water all the time.
I'm not going to say that the band wasn't helpful. I learned a lot from it and it held me accountable, which was great! The one thing that I regret was that I got my dad one for Christmas and it was kind of fun keeping up with him in an oblique way through it and knowing that he was seeing little maps of where I was running and riding my bike throughout the week. This is the second band since Christmas, so we didn't get a lot of time to interact through the program like I wanted.
I also miss the silent alarm. Probably most of all.
But I'm going to enjoy wearing bracelets again and not having to maneuver coats and gloves and sleeves around the thing.
I may get a new fitness tracker at some point. Once I decide what features are now important to me to achieve my goals. Or I may not. Really, how many fitness apps does one need?