Through personal experience, I can say that individuals are becoming increasingly self-aware due to today’s availability and demand of communication and technology. I myself have used many different apps, such as MyFitnessPal, and even a Fitbit. They provide a quick and easy way for me to keep up with my health and well-being, through monitoring both my diet and fitness. In her article, Karen Dewart McEwen’s addresses this through self-tracking which comes in many different forms, but is focused specifically on health and fitness, as well as productivity and time management.
Dewart McEwen discusses self-tracking practices through a Marxist capitalist lens, where the self-trackers come to see themselves as labourers in an unpaid economy. As I discussed in my last post, the previous articles we have read all see competition as a bad thing, where we are all competing to one up one another. If we consider Garcia et al.’s view on competition, self-tracking can be considered a situational factor in motivating competition with oneself. It is a form of competition not with one another, but rather with oneself. And instead of this competition with yourself leading to any kind of harm, it eventually leads to individual productivity and internal happiness.
As mentioned in the article, health and fitness self-tracking platforms are there to encourage their users to set and achieve goals for self-improvement. For example, the MyFitnessPal app allows one to monitor their calorie intake, as well as calories burned through any kind of exercise. If one wishes, they can even set a weight goal for themselves and the app will automatically adjust the goals to help one achieve this weight. Thus, in a way this can be seen as competition with oneself, as one is ultimately trying to improve and better themselves through setting targets. Another example would be the Health app on Apple devices, which allows one to track their steps. Here, one can count their steps on one day and then aim to achieve a higher number on the following day, which is also a form of self-competition.
As jhk26 mentioned in their post, competition is inevitable as it provides merit, and self-tracking can be one way of achieving merit through competition with oneself. It is an individualized process, which is about one’s internal feelings and self-fulfilment. Individuals set goals and then work harder to improve and do even better, with their own well-being and happiness in mind.