Dealing With Fitness App Daily Streak Obsession
How do you deal with fitness app daily streak obsession?
I’ve talked before about how often you should change up your workouts and my answer was you should change it when it stops serving its purpose or stops having the desired training effect.
But how do you know when something’s not serving its purpose anymore?
It’s easy to carry on doing something because we’re comfortable with it.
We’re familiar with it.
And it feels natural to us, even if it no longer aligns with the reason we started doing it in the first place. And that’s just something that we ended up doing a little bit out of habit I guess.
I can give you two pretty good examples from my life that have happened quite recently.
Breaking Up With My MyFitnessPal Streak
I started tracking my daily calorie intake with MyFitnessPal a few years ago.
The purpose of that was specifically weight management.
And I was tracking my calories and my nutrition and using it to inform my nutritional choices. And it was working well for a time.
Gradually over time, my consistency slipped. So I was still tracking some stuff every day, but I was starting to miss stuff.
Often, because I just didn’t want to see that I had that, or maybe I overate at dinner and it was going to put my calories for the day over what my target was. And I just didn’t want to put that on record.
But I was still tracking something every day at least.
And MyFitnessPal gives you some information on your streaks. So that is how many consecutive days you’ve logged in and logged some food information.
And my consistency slipped to the point that I was still logging in every day, but I was missing out a lot of information. So it wasn’t really that effective.
Instead of using it to inform my nutritional choices and keep track of what I was having, I was using it just to basically maintain that streak.
And that streak was something that wasn’t really benefiting me in any way whatsoever.
It’s definitely not what I had signed up for.
But I had a slight obsession with that streak built into my mind now.
It took me something like three months from the point of identifying I was doing that to actually having the confidence to one day, just say, yeah, I’m done. I’m going to skip a day, lose my streak and then just start fresh or something like that.
But that’s how entrenched it was in my mind.
And that’s how it shifted from actually being something beneficial to help me track my nutrition, to being something a little bit damaging because I was just obsessed with maintaining a random number that didn’t really have any actual bearing on my day-to-day life.
And just for the record, my streak got to something like 2,500 days on MyFitnessPal. So that’s 2,500 consecutive days. So that’s a lot of years of logging in every day and tracking at least something.
Breaking My Peloton Streak
Another shorter-term example I can give you is when I signed up for the Peloton app when gyms closed in the UK.
I signed up to help with my workouts and my fitness over lockdown and it was doing wonders for me. The first few months, especially I really enjoyed the instructors. I had really enjoyed the coaching.
The music was great. I didn’t have a bad workout for, well, I don’t think I had any bad workout for the first few weeks, or maybe even the first few months.
After around six or seven months, that kind of all just stopped for me.
I’ll spare you my rant for my dislike of how Peloton’s app has changed and how the experience of their workouts has changed. That might be something for in future.
But I got to the point where I started to find myself getting angry or annoyed with every workout and really having to spend a lot of time skimming through the app to find a workout that I thought on paper, I might enjoy let alone actually getting through it.
But I was still doing it because I wanted to tick the box to say, I’m doing these workouts.
And again, Peloton also does daily streaks. So I wanted to maintain my daily streak.
It didn’t take me anywhere nearly as long to break up with Peloton as it did for me to break up with MyFitnessPal. It took me a couple of days and then I just decided “Let’s cancel. And if I decide to rejoin, then I can just rejoin”.
But I’m still in a couple of Peloton groups and I still see people get quite stressed and quite annoyed that they might’ve broken their one year or 60-week or 100-day streak.
And it’s almost as if they think it kind of undoes all the work that they’ve put in to get to that streak in the first place.
And that’s, again, it’s not serving the purpose that you signed up for. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t hit X number of consecutive days. What matters is your health and your fitness and how it’s improving that.
How Do You Get Over Fitness App Daily Streak Obsession?
So sometimes it’s worth taking a moment to pause and take stock of what you’re doing for your health and fitness, whether it’s your workouts or your nutrition or any other healthy habits you’re trying to build.
And then just ask yourself a few questions, things like:
- Why did I start this when I did? What was the reasoning behind it?
- Is it still serving the purpose I need it to?
- Is it still having a positive impact in any other ways?
- Are there any other options that might help me better achieve that original purpose, I’d started this in the first place?