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6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Activity Tracker

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Summary: Learn what you can to do take full advantage of your activity tracker so that it can help you achieve your goals.

Get the most out of your activity tracker with these tips.

Now that we’re several months into 2018, it probably feels like half the people you know have some sort of activity tracker such as a Fitbit, Moov Now, Samsung Gear Fit Pro, Polar Watch, Garmin, etc. You might have some friends, however, that you’ve noticed purchased a tracker, wore it for a few weeks or even a couple of months, and then you never saw it on them again. Perhaps you’ve even done so yourself?
Just like a New Year’s resolution, activity trackers are easy to obsess over for a short amount of time and equally as easy to ditch after forgetting them for a few days or getting busy with other parts of your life. If you want to make your activity tracker part of your daily life rather than spending the money on it and then ditching it into your sock drawer, there are a few techniques you can use to get the most out of your activity tracker.
  1. Don’t expect it to do the work. Your activity tracker might be an amazing piece of equipment, but at the end of the day, it can’t do the activity for you. You have to understand going in that whether you wear the tracker or not, you’ll still need to do the work if you want to become more fit and active. You can’t buy the tracker thinking working out will be somehow easier now that you have it. 
  2. Take advantage of its features. Most fitness trackers have features that allow you to customize the data for your body and what you want to learn about yourself. Make sure you read about all the features of your tracker and get the data you most want beyond just steps. Some options are heart rate, calories burned (although remember this isn’t perfectly accurate), sleep, and food. 
  3. Set your own goals (and start small). Fitbit automatically makes your goal 10,000 steps a day. But if you normally get 1,000 - 2,000, that might be overambitious and you’ll burn yourself out before ever reaching that goal. Reset the goal to something like 4,000 and then slowly increase as you choose. Don’t let yourself get frustrated by not reaching the automated goals or think less of yourself for not doing so. Everyone starts from a different place. 
  4. Get your friends to join you. Whether you simply love to be a part of a group or you’re big on competition, rope your friends into joining you. Most activity trackers have a community option where you can become friends with other users and see each other’s steps or other data. Create a group with your friends and either cheer each other on or challenge one another to a competition. Knowing that someone else is watching will keep you accountable to hitting your goals. The key, however, is to know what your goal is and to not beat yourself up or overdo it because you can’t keep up with someone else. 
  5. Track your food. A lot of people will wear their activity tracker, see how much they’ve moved that day and think (even subconsciously) that they can eat more. Or, they simply don’t realize how much they eat and are disappointed that they haven’t lost weight even with the activity tracker. Nutrition is more than half the battle when it comes to health and weight-loss, so if that’s your goal, then you need to track your food as well to make sure you aren’t negating your hard work in the gym. Even if you track for a week every once in a while, it will help you get an idea of what you’re eating. 
  6. Don’t take it off. One of the biggest reasons people quit using their activity trackers is that they simply forget to wear them. Once you get out of the habit of wearing your tracker and checking your steps and other data is no longer something you look forward to, you’re not going to put it back on. Make it a habit to keep your tracker on at all times or set it right where you’ll pick it back up if you have to take it off.

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