Calorie trackers, sleep trackers, activity trackers… In 2016 you can monitor and quantify just about anything imaginable. While the ability to count every step and log every calorie (consumed and burned) is a dream come true for most health and fitness enthusiasts, new research shows it might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research indicates that measuring an activity makes it less enjoyable. Moreover, the less you enjoy something, the less motivated you are to continue, which seems counterintuitive when you think about the purpose of fitness trackers. But it appears measurement can undermine intrinsic motivation—it impacts how we see and experience the activities we engage in. In a nutshell, counting how many steps you take makes it feel like “a job.” Unsurprisingly, the effects were strongest with activities that were done purely for fun. However, if you’re working toward a specific goal, like weight loss, the effects on enjoyment aren’t as strong.
The takeaway? If you love your active lifestyle, try to enjoy for just that—not how many calories you burn. And if we’re talking about making working out more enjoyable, we always find new activewear motivates us to get to the gym. Scroll through to shop some of our favorites!
What motivates you to work out? Tell us in the comments below!