Occasionally, a personal note slips in.

   This is one of those times.


In the past I’ve discussed

the value of habits

and the challenge of change.


Enter the Fitbit


Now it’s more or the other DOOR…




   I’m a creature of habit. If the process seems to work, I stay with it. And why? It cuts down the number of decisions I have to make, and it leaves room to think about other things. I don’t have to worry every morning about brushing your teeth. I know you need to do it, so I lay out your brush and paste and just do it without troubling my mind.

   Now there’s a part of my life that concerns me. So much of what I enjoy involves requires sitting down, reading and writing–like I’m doing here. But if I’m too much in my chair, that’s not healthy. I need to move around, and regularly.

   So I get an inexpensive (not waterproof) Fitbit and set a goal:

   10,000 steps (or 4.6 miles¹) a day.

   Every day.

   So, missing only about 5 days over more than 2 years, I arrive at  5,598,478 steps.

   Then my Fitbit breaks (has a water accident).

   I can’t walk because it won’t be counted! If it doesn’t get recorded it doesn’t get done. It’s that simple. But as I lounge around in freedom for a couple of days I begin to reflect on the value of everything. Even life itself. (Periodically examining one’s reflexion in the mirror is a good thing to do!) I have put off several things and avoided other things. I have crammed in final steps up to the magic 10,000 late at night, disturbing my wife. She’s also annoyed when I insist on parking at the back of the parking lot without dropping her off first. (A great way to squeeze in needed steps!) Visiting family and friends has presented weird moments. Two-day and 3-day travel on the road (with others in the car) has been a nightmare, though my last 8-day cruise, with a bit of planning, went perfectly.

   So I had a visit with myself.

   I’ve encouraged others about building good habits, but also not to avoid “change” when called for. I reconsidered my values. I’m almost 77. Who’s Fitbit or anyone else to tell me that 10,000 steps a day is necessary? So I lowered my standards–that is, daily goal in Fitbitting!

   Now it’s 7,000 a day.

   And after two weeks I’m not less of a person. I’ve actually gotten some put-off things done. My wife is happier and my smile broader and more frequent! My health is the same, my artificial hip hasn’t complained (and never has), and I have a new super-special waterproof Fitbit to fiddle with. Even better, there’s no more driving myself crazy to get in 10,000 steps before the midnight witching hour.

   Instead, now it’s going nuts to squeeze in just 7,000.

   Focused change is possible at any age.


   ¹ Whenever some (serious) person questions whether my steps and miles have really taken me the equivalent of 2/3 the way across the United States, I qualify my bravado by clarifying: “I mean ‘Fitbit steps’ and ‘Fitbit miles.’ ” Fitbit moving involves a lot of averages and approximations. Some things like mowing and remowing 2-ft. high grass are great steps-adders, while carrying wood, groceries, or packages don’t get counted at all if your hands aren’t moving.