A Man With Two Is Never Sure

img_0165I am about to start rocking a smart device on each wrist. It’s going to look goofy, but I am driven by necessity. See, this past weekend I went to a convention and got in about 30,000 steps over the course of the weekend. Back when I was tracking my steps this would have been a pretty normal weekend, but I’ve been off that habit long enough that I am embarrassingly sore this morning. Enough so to make me want to get back in the habit.

The problem is that I stopped when I switched to the Apple Watch. It’s a great device, and I love mine, but it is crap as a pedometer. Not because it can’t track steps (it can, very well) but because that information is not privileged in the interface. Either I have to drill down into the health app to see my steps, or I have to use a third party app (pedometer++) which is great, but which can’t display in realtime because of the watch’s limitation.

Intellectually, this shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just a few more seconds and a few more clicks to check my steps – how in the world can that have a drastic impact on behavior?

My suspicion is that it’s all about keeping the information at top of mind. When my steps are presented to me, I stay mindful of them (and the associated behaviors) with no effort on my part. When I have to find them, that introduces enough friction that it’s easy to forget to check, and by extension to then forget the behavior.

That’s the theory. An alternate theory may be that I have just been slacking, and I can’t rule that out. But I have enough experience to know that if I try to solve this problem with good intentions and brute force willpower, then I’ll have a few good days before it all collapses for perfectly legitimate reasons. I need to build a ramp, and in this case, this ramp is going to mean wearing two watches.

 

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