Are You in Control of Your Devices or Are They in Control of You?

My New Wearable Was Calling the Shots

Justine McGrath


Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

The whole smartwatch and activity tracker craze seemed to pass me by completely. Then last year I bought my husband a fancy activity tracker for his 50th. He loves running and he needed a tracker with good GPS.

It is definitely one of the best presents I have ever bought him. Daily he checks his stats and has become increasingly motivated by his achievements.

I am the sort of person who can be quite laid back when it comes to doing something for myself. But give me a goal or make me responsible for a deadline for someone else and I am all over it.

I avoided activity trackers for that reason. I suspected they would have me jumping to their tune. However, when I reflected on it and saw the joy of achievement my husband experiences on a regular basis, I realized they could also be a great motivator.

I get a sense of achievement every time I go to the gym, but this way I realized I could amplify that. So I gave in.

So far, so good — I think. I am enjoying looking at my daily stats. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I hit my daily targets.

But here’s the rub. The tracker is already in control. Drink more water, get more sleep, and do more steps. Where’s your daily activity?


I slept badly last night. I am so stressed today thinking of my lack of sleep and all that I have to accomplish. If I didn’t have my tracker I would be aware that I didn’t sleep well, but I wouldn’t have the evidence telling me so and highlighting it to me in black and white.

This is the key to wearables. It is absolutely essential you take control of your own emotions and behaviours when wearing them.

This is good training to be more emotionally intelligent. I am in control, and I need to remind myself of that. It’s a good reminder to stay healthy and to exercise regularly, but I will have days when that’s just not possible and that’s OK. It’s about not beating yourself up and accepting that.

Otherwise, what’s the point? The wearable is ruining your equilibrium and adding more stress, defeating the purpose.

The lesson I have learned here is that it’s up to me to control the wearable and to use the measurements that work for me and forget the rest. I have to remind myself that I won’t get detention if I don’t do my steps today or complete my daily fitness routine.

It’s the challenge of the conscientious person. So from now on, I’m the boss and I’ll keep that tracker in its place!

Do you have an activity tracker or a wearable? If so, do you love it or hate it — I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Justine McGrath

ICF certified Executive Coach. Specialist in EI. Author ‘Conversations with my Father — Jack Kyle,’ and ‘The Elephant Crossing.’