If you own some sort of exercise tracking device like a Fit Bit or a Fuelband, you are a ten-percenter. Market research shows that 1 out of every 10 Americans over the age of 18 has one of these high-tech wearables. That same research tells us that one third of those who got them have tossed them into the sock drawer after a few months. Apparently these folks were surprised to find that spending several hundred dollars on a new gadget will not make you fit. These are probably the same people who got a gym membership for Christmas, and stopped going around mid-March.
When questioned, some will say that the devices were poorly designed, or that the numbers they provided didn’t mean anything. The most common excuse is loss of interest. The simple truth is that someone who is already committed to personal fitness will see a tracking wearable as a tool; for everyone else it was merely a gadget that temporarily enslaved them.
Psychologists have weighed in, observing that humans are natural storytellers. Purveyors of personal fitness devices are beginning to exploit this, seeking ways to post workout goals and results on social media. The story of a fitter versus a fatter you is worth sharing. When you are tempted to slack off, public guilt is a powerful motivator.
As for those meaningless numbers, I propose instead an image of a giant slice of chocolate cream pie that gradually fills in as you burn off the necessary calories. If that goal is a bit too demanding, beginners could start with a picture of an Oreo cookie. Look for it soon on Kickstarter.