Fact: Breaking habits are hard. What lengths will you go to in order to quit your bad habits? If it's a matter of health, then it makes sense to spend the extra dollar on a wearable to stop smoking, avoid the cookie aisle at the grocery story or to leave your office desk to take a few steps instead of sitting all day.
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Fitness tracker and smartwatch apps, plus fitness apps in general, help you monitor calorie intake while there are plenty of apps that try to help you avoid cigarettes. There are also more and more wearables incorporating reminders to move or stand up as well.
Some say it's a matter of postive reinforcement - actionable encouragement opposed to nagging that will make all the difference. It makes sense considering you're more likely to do something if you want to, opposed to having to do something and hating it. So, if done right, wearables can be pretty effective gadgets you can turn to for help to correct your bad habits.
WEAR - Fitbit Alta
For the past few years, it's been said that sitting is the new smoking. It's so easy to do, especially if you're at a desk all day then go home to sit on the couch all night. It's a tough routine to break.
Apple Watch makes you stand up every so often with buzzes but it can get pretty annoying. Fitbit Alta on the other hand, uses its reminders to happily tell you to get up and add a little more movement to your day.
The simple, "You're almost there, 100 steps to go!" remarks are oddly less irritating - though understandably, they can be just as easily ignored. Personally, I've found myself listening more to my Fitbit than my Apple Watch. Perhaps it's the cheeriness or the fact that I'm walking around opposed to just standing there, staring angrily at the Apple Watch screen waiting for the reminder to go away.
NEARLY THERE - Pavlok
For $169, you can plop a Pavlok on your wrist and get zapped into order. According to the company, its wearable is so effective, you can break a habit in five days or less.
The idea is to take away temptation by sending an electric shock from the device to you whenever you want to carry on your bad habit. Thus, your habit is associated with pain resulting in you stopping smoking or whatever your vice happens to be.
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It's an interesting concept and one that's seen success in terms of funding and user satisfaction, but there only seems to be negative reinforcement involved - nothing really positive. Some zaps are also manual - what's motivating you to keep shocking yourself?
The same can be said of the latest Pavlok Shock Clock which is essentially the first device - but with only an alarm clock shock feature that jolts you out of bed. Again, intriguing but it can be easily taken off and tossed to the side so you can carry on sleeping in like a lazy bum.
SQUARE - Lumo Lift
The Lumo Lift is suppose to help you with your bad posture by buzzing each time you start to slouch. While great as a concept, the execution isn't so great. We found in our review that there's no mode that lets us take a breather from incessant vibrations.
Taking the Lift off coaching mode makes you refer to the app which would often be forgotten. Perhaps reminders like Fitbit Alta's which come every hour to encourage you to stand up rather than Lumo's constant buzzes would be less annoying and more gratifying in the end.