If you haven’t undergone the Apple Watch experience, and it is an experience, let me tell you how it works:
At its most basic level, the Apple Watch is a fitness device. Sure, it includes all the extra bells and whistles, probably the best bells and whistles, that a modern smartwatch has to offer, like text and email and phone call notifications (so fun to ignore calls from my Apple Watch). You can check the weather which is handy. It’s got a timer app which I use a lot more than I thought I would. The calendar widgets add some convenience. Those things are all cool, but they’re the outer layers of the onion. Keep peeling back and you’ll find a physical activity monster at the core. Apple calls it the Activity app which sounds fun, because who doesn’t like activities? Well, these activities aren’t the fun kind. The Activity app tracks three things: active calories burned, exercise minutes, and number of hours you stood (you don’t have to stand for 12 hours, you just have to stand for one minute per hour, for 12 hours). It also sets daily goals for each of these categories, of which you can only customize calories burned. The exercise goal is set to 30 minutes per day, and the standing goal is for 12 hours (again, you only have to stand for one minute per hour). It communicates your goal progress through one little three-ringed circle. Oh, the agony one little digital circle can cause. As you burn calories and exercise and stand, those three rings slowly fill with color. Your job is to make sure all three are filled up, or closed, by the end of each day.
For the first few days, this is exciting. It’s really fun to watch those little rings close, and it’s way more satisfying than it should be to see the whole circle filled. You can go back to see your history in month blocks, plus Apple offers neat little badge things for miscellaneous accomplishments and challenges. No, not real badges, you can only see them in the Activities app, but still. If closing the rings wasn’t motivating enough the badges will surely get you moving.
After the honeymoon period is over, reality will set in. I’m a competitive person, lots of us humans are, and when one or more of those circles aren’t closed I feel like I’ve lost, which is obviously unacceptable. So every day, my number one priority has become closing those rings; if everything else I do fails, at least I have this. Within the first month or so I began to realize just what I had signed up for. This Apple Watch experience isn’t just about ignoring phone calls from my wrist, it’s actually about taking over my life. In order to earn (achieve? accomplish?) one of the available badges, you literally need to close every ring, every day, for an entire month! If that’s not a takeover, I’m not sure what is.
The Apple Watch promotes a type of maniacal addiction to exercise. I’ve developed habits I wouldn’t have dreamed of five years ago in order to facilitate the obsessive-compulsive urges this device inspires within me. My body hurts, my mind is exhausted, but those digital rings on my wrist are closed and it’s all worth the relentless pursuit. Side note, I’m in surprisingly good shape.
You should get one!