An article in the most recent Sunday NYTimes caught my eye. The author describe DE’s suspicions about many fitness devices in her recent less than stellar experiences with one fitness device in particular. It also goes on to highlight the many flaws in relying on such often expensive, easy to lose, devices to help trigger meaningful changes in one’s health behaviors. Here are just a few excerpts:
From the moment I wrapped the band around my wrist, I was enamored with the idea of a device that could help me collect data about my habits and behavior, so that I could try to improve them. The only trouble was that the device didn’t seem to work very well.
The device’s inconsistency was frustrating. After a few days, though, I forgot about my newfound pet altogether, leaving it in a public restroom and then, after retrieving it, putting it in my back pocket and later accidentally sitting on it. Until then, the wristband had certainly been affecting my behavior. I felt Fuelshamed, embarrassed each time I glanced at the band’s dull surface and found it illuminated by a lonely red dot, a signal that I wasn’t active enough to appease the machine.
There are those people who also don’t believe these devices have much of an impact on changing, or establishing health habits:
“It doesn’t trigger you to do anything habitually,” said Michael Kim, who runs Kairos Labs, a Seattle-based company specializing in designing social software to influence behavior. “Habits are based on cues that happen every day, which leads to a routine and then a reward or achievement, which could just be something as general as an endorphin rush.”
So, for those individuals, companies, communities, and wellness professionals who are considering investing sizable amounts of money into these devices, one must ask, is this the most effective way to change peoples’ health habits? Or are we better off focusing on far less costly and complicated “nudges” that leverage the power of groups & our social networks, whether that’s within the workplace, one’s neighborhood, circle of friends, or family, to trigger meaningful, long term health habits? Why not try DE today for such a nudge where you’ll get far more bang for your buck for you and your group?