What’s My Motivation

I hope I’m not the only person who remembers the Sprite commercial from the early 90s about motivation.

Along with my diaversary, I just passed my one year anniversary of moving across the country. When I left Florida I weighed about 25 pounds more than when I had arrived there 7 years before. Over that amount of time it doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, but I got to a place where I was just not comfortable (or happy).

Slowly but surely I am making my way back to a place where I feel healthier and better. Changing my diet has helped a lot. Changing my environment has helped more.

And with that, there are a variety of ways I have been monitoring my path back to health (Kim wrote an excellent post recently about self-tracking and there was an excellent video chat about self-tracking with the MedicineX crew that took place recently as well.).

Designers suggest there are multiple reasons why people wear self-tracking devices. There are multiple reasons why *I* have tried self-tracking devices. I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried. But I can’t find the motivation to keep using most of them. I just don’t get the point.

And maybe I get my fill of self-tracking and feedback I get from my Dexcom. Maybe it is more than enough to have access to self-tracking information every 5 minutes from a device that is inserted under my skin for weeks at a time and from poking my finger to make it bleed and sticking it on a meter several times a day. Maybe it is asking too much of myself to track anything else.The information I get back from them is just not enough to inspire me to keep using them. I can’t integrate them easily (or mostly, at all) with the information I get from my pump and CGM and it’s all I can manage to get a doctor to look at the reports just from those.

On that note, as much as I try to avoid the feeling associated with my CGM results, there are days that staying within the lines makes me feel happy and successful and seeing too much yellow and red (outside my range) makes me feel upset and frustrated with myself.

The colors on my Dexcom are like little badges that motivate me. As I found out at the MedicineX conference last year, badges are designed by those who create self-tracking devices precisely to motivate the user.

I set a goal, I reach that goal, and I get a reward – even if that reward is just an extra icon on an arbitrary graph.

In the end, is there really any difference between icons on a graph, a tick mark on a scale, an old pair of pants fitting again, or an A1c result at the endocrinologist’s office?

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