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'You can still do it'

I've become a slave to the demands of my wristwatch
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

Last week, in the middle of our news meeting, I stood up and paced to the other side of the desk.
“My Apple Watch told me it was time to stand,” I told my puzzled co-workers. “So, I stood.”
I knew what they were thinking. “If your watch told you to jump off a cliff, would you?”
I wouldn’t go that far, but I have become a slave of sorts to the demands of my wristwatch.
It reminds me to take more steps, to go to bed on time and to breathe mindfully. (A little blue flower on the watch face expands and contracts with each successful inhale and exhale in a series.)
Walking, standing, sleeping and breathing are things we do naturally, but many of us need help with fitness.
And it seems simple challenges and patronizing accolades do help.
“You did it! You met another hour toward your stand goal!”
Thursday night while relaxing on the couch, my watch vibrated.
“You’re so close!” was the message, with the image of my partially closed Move Ring. “You can close your rings! An 11-minute brisk walk should do it.”
So, I lugged myself into the garage, wearing pajama pants and slippers, for some brisk laps around the vehicles.
Sure enough, before I knew it, my watch announced the Move Ring had closed.
Shortly after that, because I had met my Stand Goal and Exercise Goal earlier in the day, the watch face exploded with fireworks-like rainbow rings, all three ceremoniously closing at once.
My day was complete.
It shouldn’t be surprising that I thrive on the system of goals and rewards.
I was the 6-year-old who practiced piano songs dutifully for the weekly reward of a shiny star sticker on each page.
I clung desperately to the monkey bar in the flexed arm hang test for my sixth-grade Presidential Physical Fitness patch.
I often obliged “double-dog-dare-yous” just to prove I could. (The electric fence was a learning experience).
It should be no surprise, then, to discover the success of my Apple Watch in motivating better behavior.
It tracks daily, weekly, monthly and yearly achievements on easy-to-read, interactive charts, rewarding cumulative good behavior.
If I complete seven qualifying workouts in a week, for example, I get an “award.” High quality graphics of gleaming medals appear in my profile data.
But I get chided for slacking in effort or frequency. “Your Move arrow is trending down this week.”
Yet, each day begins with encouragement. “You rocked yesterday’s workout! Keep it up today!” Or “Let’s do better than we did yesterday.”
Given all this encouragement and tracking, I should have long ago achieved my weight and fitness goals.
But, alas, my Apple Watch doesn’t yet know that when it tells me to stand, I often get up and walk to the fridge for a snack.

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