That’s what I said when I realized that my Apple watch was dead… and I didn’t have a charger with me.

It meant a day of flicking my wrist for the time or weather, only to be met with a tan line.

It also meant no step counter.

While it’s been a minute since my 200+ day streak, I still strive to get in 10,000 steps each day. To get there, I have to sneak in walks around the block and take a stroll on my lunch break, but it’s worth it.

That day, as I headed out for a walk, I thought, this doesn’t even count

If a good habit isn’t recorded, did it even happen??

The short answer is, of course. 

The long answer, however, is more complicated.

Measurement is a powerful habit-building tool. It’s highlighted in books like Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Studies have shown that simply measuring a habit, even without making overt plans to make a change, can help us to improve our behavior.

But there are downsides to this strategy.

We can get fixated on metrics and disregard our end goal.

Measurement without a connected purpose is useless. 

If you’ve ever found yourself obsessing over the scale or rushing through a gratitude list, you might have gotten more focused on the measurement than the meaning.

For me, not having my watch inspired me to think about why getting outside each day and stretching my legs matters to me. Reconnecting to that “why” was a welcome pause.

So yes, by all means, keep measuring. But make sure it serves your purpose too.

To being better without counting out individual potato chips,