Why I won’t buy a Fitbit

I have decided not to buy a Fitbit. I know everyone was on the edge of their seats, waiting to see if I would.

I am nothing if not a trendsetter for personal health habits (I say this completely tongue-in-cheek, my favorite sport is croquet after all.) But no, I have decided.

No Fitbit for me. No counting steps, no running circles around my kitchen island before bed, no tracking calories and heart rates and rest.

I am done with numbers. Done. Done. Done.

If there was a way to turn off the numbers of Likes and Follows and Friends on every social media account I have, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I am so over numbers (my apologies to all the statisticians out there.)

I blame my speedometer.

You see, a few months ago, it broke. Flat out broke. And since my car is a very mom-of-teenagers-paid-for-tank-utility sort of vehicle I didn’t bother taking it in to get it fixed. Instead I installed a speedometer app on my phone (yep, that’s a thing,) and adjusted.

Only, I don’t use the app as much as I thought I would. For one, my phone keeps falling off my dash. And for two, well, I discovered that I am a lot less anxious without it.

Why I won't buy a Fitbit

We live out in the country, ten miles outside a nice little college town, and between home and town I rarely have the opportunity to go faster than 60 mph. In fact I would guess that on average I spend most of my time driving in the 45-50 mph range. But I couldn’t tell you for sure, because, I don’t look.

These days I just drive. I speed up and I slow down when I need to. I don’t ride anyone’s bumpers, I yield and stop and go as signs and lights direct me, I try to neither impede nor endanger others on the road.

I just drive.

And you know what? It is amazing. It is relaxing. It is freedom.

I no longer rush when I drive. I gave it up when I realized that I could no longer do that frantic eye dance between my speedometer and the clock, pushing my car just a little bit faster as I try to beat the clock to my next appointment.

Which used to be the only way I drove. Fast, harried, anxious, racing – always racing. It was me and the speedometer against the clock and the traffic cop – always trying to squeeze in more miles than I had time for.

But once I no longer had my speedometer front and center, my desire to drive at warp speed began to dissipate.

The frenetic pace I had kept for so long began to lose its appeal, and soon I noticed that I was just driving, not zooming or speeding or racing. And I liked it. I liked not having a number to beat.

Why I won't buy a FitbitNow, I give myself a wide berth of travel time. I pad my leaving and arriving times to account for slow drivers, trucks filled with hay bales, unexpected downtown traffic jams (think Stars Hollow size downtown.)

Occasionally I go into the city an hour away, and when I get on the interstate I open the app and set my cruise control and away I go.

I drive faster, yes, but I still can’t seem to work myself into a hurry anymore. I’ve lost my edge. And I love it.

Which is why I am not getting a Fitbit or any sort of step counting device.

I don’t want to go backwards.

I don’t want to find another way to race against myself, or time, or you.

I don’t want to be anxious or competitive or stressed about the simplest human action that I am privileged to be able to do still – walking on this earth on my own two legs.

I do not want – or need – the temptation to quantify a beautiful walk on the beach, a day of antiquing with friends, a walk down our country road, the many laps I walk around our church each Sunday as I love and hug and serve.

I don’t want to get to the end of a great rainy Saturday, one I spent laughing with my kids, eating homemade chicken-n-dumplings, and reading a delish book, and regret that I didn’t take enough steps.

I don’t want the pace of my life to be set by an external force, but instead I want to be guided by a internal voice.

One that says be still and know.

Why I won't buy a FitbitLife is too short to measure my days, my moments, and my memories by the amount of likes an Instagram picture got, how many Twitter followers I have, books I’ve sold, or steps I’ve taken.

So, technically yes, I need a new speedometer for my car. But I think I am going to pass on installing one on my life.

I think instead, I will just live.

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again and again.

If you feel in your bones the need to simplify so you can live the life you're meant to live...

↓ This is for you.

23 Comments

  1. Seana Greer Turner

    To say nothing of the competition you can have with others wearing their fitbit and trying to see who will “win” each day. Ultimately, it comes down to a competition, either with self, with yesterday, or with others. I love this post! Nice to just live life without measuring it or documenting it:)

  2. Maryalene

    I have a Jawbone, but I do love the sentiment here. How nice to live and not be ruled by numbers!

    I can relate to the speedometer too. I used to have a van with some sort of electrical short and everything on the dashboard would turn off at random times. Sometimes the gauges would pop back on after a day, sometimes it was a month. It made me nervous to not know how much gas was in the van, but I never missed the speedometer.

  3. Lori

    I love everything about this, and I don’t have a fitbit either 😉

  4. Jill Foley

    I love this…I don’t have a fitbit, but I do keep track of so many things and have been wondering why. I keep track of how many miles I run each month, how many books I read, how many likes and followers I have on instagram…(I’m sure there is more, but that’s all I can think of right now). In some ways I feel like it motivates me to do more than last month, but if I fail to read 5 books instead of 4 or run 30 miles instead of 25, then I feel like I’ve failed. I haven’t failed…I’ve just read/run a little less. And what about those photos with less likes? I liked it enough to post it so who cares if only 50 people like it. Ultimately, I think it has turned these things I used to find enjoyable into an assignment that I now have to prove to myself and others that I’ve done. What’s really funny to me is that a couple times I’ve gone for a run without my phone (and therefore my tracking app) and have felt like my run didn’t “count” because I wasn’t tracking it. Ha!

  5. Mackenzie

    I love this post so much 🙂 My phone tracks how many steps I walk but if my phone isn’t on me, no steps tracked…and that’s okay. To be honest, I am quite tired of electronic devices and their heavy influence in my day-to-day.

  6. Sarah

    I love this sooo much! My first “I’m never buying a fitbit” thought came when a friend posted her sleep graph. Why oh why would anyone want to know how poorly they slept? The times they were awake, etc? I’d just get angry about it, which would probably effect my sleep! 🙂

  7. Michelle Wyman

    Thank you for sharing these well measured thoughts on letting go of “the race.” I live in the SF Bay Area where the roads are full of vehicles driven mostly by aggressive drivers in a hurry. I caught myself loosing my cool while merging onto the freeway yesterday on my way to work. Your post is timely. I have resisted the fit bit trend as well. But now I also want to make a commitment to slow down in general and resist joining the culture of competition. I guess I’m ready to be the turtle instead of the rabbit. I may hear a few horns blowing as I adhere to the speed limit but I hope to enjoy more of the scenery along the way!

  8. Samantha B.

    While I applaud your desire to get rid of numbers and such, I’m appalled that you are promoting getting on the freeway and poking around on your cell while driving! It’s one thing to not live by numbers, it’s entirely another to endanger the lives of others because you’re too cheap to fix your speedometer. If driving without one is so safe, then you don’t need one on the freeway. I’d rather someone speed than fiddle with their phone.

    Be careful. It’s our loved ones on the road. And yours.

    • Deb

      I’m with you. Totally down with not getting a Fitbit for all the reasons mentioned but to draw parallels with that and a device that is there for your safety and that of other road users strikes me as odd. I’m sure no one’s going to go out and disable their speedometers just to see what it’s like or start fiddling with their phone while driving as a result of this post, though. Everyone else seems focused on the Fitbit part of the story, it’s only you and I who have been waylaid by the safety issue!

  9. Kathleen

    Amen! I’m not a huge tracker of things but I really resonated with your words.

  10. Susan C

    A while back I heard about a study (sorry that I don’t recall whose it was, so I can give proper credit) that concluded people using step-trackers walk more, but enjoy it less. I’m all about enjoying my walks.

  11. Linda Sand

    This makes me thing of the day Robert Fulgham, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, took off his wristwatch and strapped on a compass.

  12. Emily Falke

    All the love for this. Thank you.

  13. Regan

    LOVE this! Down with the numbers game :o) And this line “… the simplest human action that I am privileged to be able to do still – walking on this earth on my own two legs.” – tears came to my eyes reading it. How I don’t fully appreciate such a wonderful gift! Thank you!

  14. Dawn

    I soooo applaud your attitude and wish more people shared it! I haven’t worn a wristwatch for years and sure don’t intend to replace it at this late date with an electronic counter of any kind. I rarely even know where my cellphone is. I grew up without any of the devices most kids today have and so did my kids for the most part. Am hoping they pass on the tradition to their kids ~ imagination and fresh air are so much better for you! Without counting your steps…

  15. Laura Davis

    Thank you for sharing. I have found Fitbit to be an invaluable resource to me. Well worth the price. It motivates me to go to the gym and keeps me aware of how much or how little I’ve been active. That being said, too much of anything can be a bad thing. When the motivation and goal is health, everyone wins. 🙂

  16. Guest

    Enjoy reading your perspective and agree that life is about so much more than racing and tracking. I hope it doesn’t discourage those who need some motivation to be more active from buying a Fitbit, though. Self awareness is so important and sadly, I learned within two days of having my Fitbit that I fell into the sedentary category (as do the vast majority of Americans). I had learned shortly before that my cholesterol was above the top end of healthy and my doctor gave me 6 months to improve it. I didn’t change what I ate but by george, I got 10,000 steps in every day. My cholesterol fell more than 50 points during that time. When I don’t wear my Fitbit, I don’t go out of my way to take walks around the neighborhood or park farther away from stores. Yeah, it would be nice to not think about those things and it’d be nice to eat whatever I want whenever I want also. Right up until I’m on meds for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. 😛

  17. Catherine @simplebeautifulandlovely

    Hi Jerusalem, what a great metaphor (the speedometer) to apply to life about a living in the moment and letting go of numbers.

  18. Joel

    Sure. Just keep fit. For some the steps are motivation and not hassle. Hospitals aren’t fun and health is not noticed until it’s gone.

  19. Kamina

    I love this, thank you. xx

  20. Cathy L.

    Thank you for sharing. Sounds like you are enjoying the simpler things in life at a slower pace and enjoying it more. Great attitude!

  21. Gail

    Love this about a tracker! I stopped wearing mine weeks ago because it was running my life. Originally, I thought it was a healthy addiction. I think there may not be such a thing as a healthy addiction. I still walk as much as ever and know if I’ve spent too much time sitting. But I’m so much more comfortable now that I don’t wear my FItBit. (But maybe fix your speedometer….)

  22. Susan

    I see where you are May’s author for Forward Movement. I’m a faithful reader and contributor. Reading your brief bio in the back of the devotional, I see you live in Conway, Arkansas. My son and his wife live in nearby Russellville, and my son works out of Conway. I look forward to traveling through May’s devotional with you. Oh, and by the way, my husband and I were given Fitbits for Christmas. I am growing weary of looking at it. I’m tired of worrying about heart rates, steps and sleep patterns too. It’s all up to God; right? Glad to meet you, Jeruselem.

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