We humans today are a funny breed. Always looking at our phones, our attention never in one place for very long, interruptions at each meal, can’t finish a conversation without a distraction, we are guilty for only half-listening. We are almost bored if something isn’t electronic, pretty looking, with bright colors and graphics. We can hardly take a picture without editing it, or putting a cartoon ears and a nose on it.
I get it. I have a phone. I might be considered a low phone user in that we don’t have kids and do not depend on my phone for work. In fact, at work, I tend to resent phones as they make my job a lot more difficult as customers can’t be in a store for 30 minutes it seems like without their phone being a constant distraction. They hear a “ping” from their email and just HAVE to look. I’m sure that the weekly specials from Costco can wait…even though that 48 pack of toilet paper looks like a great deal. In my opinion, phone etiquette seems to be lacking and rudeness is spilling over into other areas of our lives and somehow it’s considered acceptable.
This leads me to my point. Say you want to lose weight and you down load an app. It’s so trendy and pretty looking. “The colors are beautiful” you say to yourself…”oh I love that shade of pink”, “what font is that?”, “it has such a catchy name”, “that fit lady must have gotten in shape from DL the app.” Lol.
It has a way to track calories, exercise, how often, how long, how many times per day, week, month, year. You can analyze your progress in the charts and graphs. “Oh man…this is awesome!” you say to yourself. “I can even scan the bar code of a bag of peas if I want. This is really going to keep me organized. I just know I will stick to the program if I get this app.”
So the next day, you get a prompt from you app reminding you to record your breakfast calories, and to plan for 30 minutes of cardio later, which you agreed to yesterday. “Huh…so I still have towork out and track my food? You mean, it isn’t done for me? But I DL the app…and it’s so beautiful.” Yup…losing weight still comes down to eating less and exercising more. Not only is that news not sexy, but it’s downright harsh. My grandma could have told me that.
I have an app that’s pretty awesome for the Bowflex Max Trainer…the Ultimate 14 minute work out! It’s got it all…first of all it’s beautiful. It has a little dial on it just like the monitor on the machine itself. Once synced to my phone, I can see and compare calories burned, average heart RPM, average burn RPM, per workout, per week, per month, and so on. For the 14 minutes that just went by looking at my app, I could have done a work out.
I DL an app to help remind me to do things….like take vitamins, take prescription, drink 2x 32oz jugs of water, menu plan for the next day, be in bed by a certain time, how many times a week we walk our dog, track my budget, and 3x per week to get on the Max Trainer. I put a little check mark beside the ones I complete as the day goes on. This is quite helpful in many ways and I’ve been using it for a long time.
The workouts show up on my app without fail, however it doesn’t mean it gets done 3x per week. In fact I don’t know when the last time was I actually did it 3x per week. There are 3 main reasons. Either my back hurts, I’m exhausted from a long day at work, or I don’t feel like it. Hmmmm…the shine sort of wore off of those excuses as I’m writing them down. The app is very pretty though and part of me wishes the Max Trainer could be done for me. When I put it on the list, it made me feel like I was halfway done but nope…I still gotta do the actual workout. It’s only 14 minutes, you know, which was one of the reasons I bought it.
A friend of mine DL an app for budgeting and money analyzing. It’s unreal. It tells how many purchases he made in a month, the average expenditure, how many times he purchased clothing this month compared to last. It shows the total for groceries. How much he spent, how much she saved. Then it shows graphs and percentages…it’s so organized and beautiful to look at. So I asked him “so has it helped you with your budgeting since you got the app?” There was a hesitation and I realized I wished I could un-ask the question. The time he spent looking at graphs, he could have been doing something more meaningful. We’re all guilty…remember playing a video game and then looking at the clock and it was 2 hours later? How many times have I gone on Youtube for a specific reason and then went down the rabbit hole of something else? 50 minutes later…but those crazy cats…they sure are cute and funny!
I think what I’m saying here is: technology is our friend. Maybe it can help track, organize, or remind. It can be fun and it can be beautiful. However, it can also be a distraction and get us off course. It isn’t a substitute for action. When you want to make something happen, please understand it won’t be done for you. DL apps that assist the action – and don’t trick yourself into thinking it’s instead of the action.
When it comes to budgeting, there are a lot of pretty and hip looking gadgets out there. One thing that is very different about my system is, by today’s standards it’s simplified. I don’t want you getting distracted with a bunch of bling. There are no charts, graphs or analyzers. I don’t really see the need for that. What good is knowing how many transactions you made on groceries last month, the average transaction, and how often you shopped, and then check out what the bar graph looks like? I’d rather show you how to cap your grocery budget for the month and give you tools to accomplish that so that you can come out on top this month.
To me, you know what’s beautiful? Getting a solid budget system in place so that you can get free of debt and on to better things.