My Pedometer should come with a Sisyphus Warning

Recently I made a commitment to improving my health through diet (gag) and exercise (ouch). Unexpectedly, I have become a FitBit pedometer addict and there is no 12 Step Program (pun intended) to alleviate my suffering. I must reach my 10,000 steps a day.

  • I obsessively check my stats all day long.
  • I have sniffed out every co-worker with a FitBit wristband and I send them pedometer challenges.
  • I take advantage of every opportunity to gain another step. I have resorted to walking in circles while waiting for elevators, pacing at the bus station, and parking my car far away from my destination. Strangers must think I’m a crazy person but it’s all FitBit’s fault.

On Friday, I reached the goal of walking 25,000 steps in a single day. It was a pivotal moment and I should have felt euphoria but part of me realized that as soon as I closed my eyes for the night, I would wake up with the score of ZERO. Every day, no matter how far I reached, I would always start the next day over at ZERO. I am suffering from a Sisyphus complex.

Because my wristband can be a cruel at the stroke of midnight, I decided to shift my definition of what it means to be a successful walker. Now I want to create memories associated with those significant statistics. I must get off the treadmill and step outside into life.

I decided to try to conquer my Sisyphus complex by literally climbing an actual mountain. This past Sunday I survived my first hike in the Colombia Gorge with my friend Nicole. It was amazing to go with an experienced hiker and just enjoy the views. But after many hours, I had only reached 17,000 steps, nowhere near my weekend goal. Sisyphus urged me to go on but my legs of Jell-O were done. I had one of the most enjoyable walking days (as seen by my photos below) and yet my FitBit mocks me.

Hike2 Hike4 (2)  Hike4 (1)Hike5


















I had an epiphany on the drive home. The habits I exhibit with my Fitbit obsession are the same tendencies I deploy with my writing:

  • I obsessively check my daily word counts.
  • I have a strong social group of writers who encourage each other to make time for writing.
  • I go to every conference and workshop I can afford in order to learn the latest writing technique and publishing gossip.

Yet, once again, when I’m done writing a story, I have to start over with a blank page and a ZERO word count. To me, it always comes back to ZERO. Does anyone else feel like Sisyphus is your sidekick? How do you keep pushing the rock up the mountain?


About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on April 27, 2015, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I agree with Stacy, you need to consider long-term goals instead of just the short-term daily goal. Instead of 10K steps per day, what is your goal for a month? A quarter? A year? And tie those to related goals that don’t have specific step counts (e.g., to see the top of Mt. Jefferson, to look into the crater at Mt. St. Helens).

    Same thing with writing. It’s great to have daily, weekly, annual word count goals. But if those goals aren’t tied to a finished product you don’t have the same intrinsic experience of accomplishment. Great to have a goal to get 100K words in a year, but tie that goal to the publication of your novel “She Who Hikes Wins Love.” That is the stretch goal you need.

    Congrats on getting in shape. I admit I’m envious. I have a pedometer I’ve started wearing. Right now I’m trying to consistently get to a minimum of 5K every day. So, at least 10K a day is like gold medal territory to me. It’s amazing how hard that is to do and all the excuses I have not to move away from the computer.


    • Thank you Maggie! Your advice and friendship is always appreciated. I wish I was actually getting in shape. I’m getting my daily steps but it doesn’t affect the scale….. Yet!


  2. I’m like you, Jessie. The starting zero every day (word count and Fitbit) freaks me out. So, I look at totals and graphs to feel better. 🙂
    Also, your step count freaks me out because it is always way higher than mine when you show up on my Fitbit dashboard. 😉


    • Thank you Asa! I’m glad I’m not alone 😄 i’m sure Sammy would love to help you get a few more thousand steps in your day


  3. Stacy McKitrick

    You might start over with your word count, but your completed book count goes up. So do your walking days. Maybe you need to look at that growing number instead.


    • Thank you Stacy! I firmly believe that the next-generation at the pedometers will have some sort of overall total to appeal to people who hate the ZERO!


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