I recently purchased an Apple Watch, and I love it way more than I probably should. I had previously been using a fitbit from 2016. The fitbit still works great but I was wanting to incorporate more mindfulness and habit tracking into my watch. What I didn’t realize was the Apple Watch has an option to share your fitness activity (calorie burn, exercise minutes and standing up each hour) and compete with friends. I wasn’t planning on competing with anyone, but then my sister-in-law invited me to a friendly fitness competition with her.
I nervously accepted.
I’m not sure how Apple calculates fitness goals, but if you compete with friends you each have your own personalized goals to focus on so that you close those damn rings. What this means is I may need to burn an extra 800 calories a day to close my "move" ring, but my SIL may need to burn an extra 500 calories to close hers. I’m pretty sure the calorie burn is based on height, weight and gender. When you close a ring (calorie burn, exercise minutes, or standing up each hour) you receive points (you can receive a maximum of 600 points a day). The person at the end of the week with the most points wins.
When I accepted the competition I wasn’t really sure how I felt about my SIL seeing my activity AND I wasn’t sure I’d be able to close those rings and accumulate the points needed to compete. My SIL has three kiddos that are 5yrs old and younger, she is constantly moving AND she still finds time to get on the treadmill for a quick walk. She is someone that is willing to try even though the odds may not be in her favor, and she can be relentless when it comes to completing a task. I knew that since I accepted her competition invite I better show the hell up ready to go.
The first week of the challenge the odds were in my favor. Her watch (which is a series 2, and Apple just released a series 5) was not recording her exercise minutes. Despite it not recording her treadmill time, she still did it, and then she spent two days trying to get her watch calibrated. She googled everything she could, and finally ended up on the phone with Apple trying to calibrate the damn watch! We're still not sure if it's actually working.
At the end of the competition I had accumulated more recorded points. Even though the competition wasn't accurate or fair, I learned a lot about my own behavior and what drives me.
1. It doesn't really bother me that someone can see my "activity", BUT if you create a friendly competition out of it then I feel extra motivated to complete my goals. It doesn't seem to matter if someone was ahead or behind, I just wanted to close those rings!
2. Once the competition was over I slacked big time! I piddled around, worked on our bathroom, kinda cleaned, had ample amount of time for a walk and didn't go. Oh... and I drank a couple beers.... ugh.
3. I complained more when the competition was done. This could have been because my period was on the horizon, but I'm not sure.
4. I sat under my electric blanket A LOT more after the competition.
5. I let my feelings dictate my day, where during the competition I was much more focused and intentional. I noticed my feelings but they didn't run the day.
What this little competition did was really highlight that when I'm intentional and focused, I work towards my goals, which creates less internal distress and disappointment in myself. I can look back on the day and say I did everything I could to work towards my goals.
Keep in mind, I do NOT think every day needs to be focused and intentional. Life happens and there are days where one just needs a moment to relax and dream. My problem is I have more unfocused days than focused, and this creates frustration, and me complaining that I'm not going anywhere with my wellness and other personal goals.
Surprisingly, I did notice that I lean towards comfort when I'm not intentionally working towards my wellness goals. I want to be comfortable under my electric blanket, I want to only eat comfort foods, I want all my chores and tasks to feel comfortable, I want to comfortably focus on my overall wellness. May I have some comfort with a side of extra comfort?
The truth is, our brain seeks comfort and the easy road. This is a normal brain behavior... seeking comfort. It isn't bad or wrong that I'm seeking all this comfort, but I know that I won't create healthy habits, or reach personal goals, if I make comfort my priority in life.
Diet companies want weight loss to be easy. They promise us we won't miss our comfort foods, or have to workout too hard, or have to change our life too much... if we just follow their plan. It's a huge lie. If your goal is solely weight loss, or something more such as living an intentional and focused life, then you are going to be uncomfortable. Sorry. You may not be finger-nails-on-chalkboard uncomfortable, but you might feel a little squirrelly (like I did when I decided to share my activity with my SIL).
What I have to figure out is how to keep being focused on my wellness goals, even when my SIL and I aren't in a friendly Apple Watch competition. Maybe this is why community is so powerful when it comes to creating new habits? It's not like you need thousands of people to be in your community, I just had one, my SIL, and that was enough to keep on on the path.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! How does comfort play a role in your life? Do you focus on comfort like I do, and do you realize it? Send me a message on Instagram or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!