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Tips on tracking Your Fitness: Do You Need a Fitness Tracker?

With the beginning of a the new year just a few days away, health and fitness resolutions are also about to begin. One of the most common gifts for Christmas will be some sorta fitness tracker to help with tracking your exercise and wellness goals.

But ... a lot of people also wonder: ‘Should I get a fitness tracker?”

The answer: It depends.

Man using a fitness tracker
Working out

For some people, it can be a really helpful tool.

This is especially true if you...

✓ Are numbers-oriented. For instance, maybe you have an engineering, actuarial, or accounting mindset.

✓ Have more advanced goals. Think elite athletes, bodybuilders, models, and other people who get paid based on how they look or perform.

✓ See data as information—nothing more. The numbers don’t define you. They aren’t part of your identity. In this case, fitness tracker data can be helpful—because you can view it as just that.

Fitness trackers
Fitness trackers

But for others?

Fitness trackers can leave them feeling like they never do enough.

These folks tend to see weight, heart rate variability, or sleep quality as a statement of who they are.


You’re more likely to fall into this category if you…


✓ See the behavior you’ll track as a chore, making comments like, “I have to do this to lose weight.”


✓ Don’t feel you have a choice. You might say, “I don’t want to exercise, but my doctor told me I have to.”


✓ Do the behavior to avoid feeling guilty. In other words, you exercise because you don’t want to feel bad about not exercising.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with a fitness tracker to find out if it’s right for you. (Well, besides the expense—if you don’t like it.)

But they’re also not necessary for success. (People were “optimizing” their health way before Fitbit, Oura, and Apple Watches came along.)

You could find a fitness tracker to be awesome. Or it could be awesome for a while, and then completely unnecessary or even frustrating later. Or it could be a poor fit from the get-go.

If you’re using one, every now and then ask yourself:

“How’s this working for me?”

Is it helping your motivation—or hurting it? Do you appreciate the data—or ruminate over it? Does it keep you engaged in a healthy way—or leave you feeling guilty and frustrated?

Your answers will give you all the data you need to know what to do next.

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