Don't Blame Technology For Your Lack Of Motivation Or Willpower

07/10/2016 16:37
Bogdan Kosanovic via Getty Images

A few years ago, I was working on the final draft of a history essay that was due the next day.

I was sat at the desk in my pokey little bedroom, but my back was aching (due to bad posture and a cheap office chair) so I decided I'd rather finish my essay in bed.

I picked up my laptop and proceeded to walk across the room - and then snap! - the battery died and I lost a full day's work.

I swore, I almost cried and I considered throwing the laptop out of the window. I blamed Dell, I blamed the degraded battery that meant I had to rely on plugging my laptop into the mains and I blamed the power cord that had wound round my chair so tightly that it came flying out of the laptop as I walked away.

I didn't blame myself, I blamed technology.

But looking back it was entirely my fault: I didn't save my work; I'd ruined the battery by leaving it permanently on charge; and I'd been twirling around on my chair all day and getting the wire caught.

To be honest, I haven't really thought about that day until I came across a recent study that that claimed fitness trackers aren't making us healthier.

Just like me and my Dell laptop, people are blaming tech for our human shortcomings. They say that only a bad workman blames his tools and our gadgets are only as good as the person using them.

When fitness trackers first came out, we couldn't wait to get our hands on them, hoping that this new contraption could help make us walk more and sleep better. But after the hysteria came reports in 2014 and 2015 of mass abandonment, with users ditching their wearables within a year of purchase.

Now, studies claim that fitness trackers aren't making us healthier or helping us to lose weight.

But I'm skeptical. Fitness trackers can monitor your physical activity, help you keep track of what you eat, connect you to friends who are also trying to get fit - but it can't get your arse off the sofa or hand out of the biscuit tin.

I was one of the early adopters of a fitness tracker and (for my sins) an early abandoner. Was my wearable to blame for my lack of willpower? No, I was. To say otherwise is like buying a gym membership and blaming the gym when I only make it as far as the coffee shop.

The same thing goes for e-cigarettes. When people get one they have grand plans to give up smoking altogether, but I can't count the amount of friends who vape in the week and cave on the weekend after a glass of wine.

Again e-cigarettes can offer so much, but they aren't going to stop you walking into the newsagents or poncing a cheeky fag from someone in the smoking area.

Humans like quick fix, something that will rid us of undesirable elements without much effort. You can hardly blame anyone for buying into the idea of losing weight for the price of a £90 fitness tracker or quit smoking for a £30 e-cigarette.

Sorry to break it you, but the problem isn't the technology but lack of motivation and willpower. If you want to see results or improve your lifestyle, no gadget alone is going to do that for you.

Breaking or forming new lifestyle choices is difficult, it takes determination and perseverance. Technology can act as an incredible aide, but you have to work with it and invest time into it.