When Apple first presented the Apple Watch I was sceptic. I had an original Pebble and the kinda-integrated-with iOS experience almost ruined smart watches as a concept for me before Apple could show me how they should be done. But the hype was real and I'm a sucker for new Apple hardware. Although the watch wouldn't be available in Belgium until later in 2015, I preordered an Apple Watch via a vague German PO box service and got the Apple Watch delivered to Belgium during launch week. My aluminum Series 0 Sport evolved into Series 0 Black Steel and I’m now wearing a Silver Steel Series 2 on a daily basis. I haven't bought a Series 3 yet. Mostly because Apple doesn't sell the steel version in Belgium yet.
I got hooked to the Activity rings shortly after I got the watch, and decided as a goal for 2016 that I wanted to complete my rings for a year. Januari 2016 started with a hangover and three full circles. Snow, Spring, a wedding and a honeymoon to New York later brings us to Summer 2016 and 9 months of perfect circles. Which brings us to October 2016. Another perfect month according to my circles, but no badge was given.
There are not many things that make me rage quit something, but needless to say, November 2016 was a month of lazyness. Until... the activity app decided to retroactively award me a badge for October on November 20th 2016. Gotta love software bugs...
Since I could have completed a #Perfect12 in 2016, I was motivated to try it again in 2017. With Apple awarding a special badge for a perfect week in January, it was the motivation I needed to try to complete all circles for a year. Again. 450 calories, 30 exercise minutes and 12 standing hours for 365 days in a row.
Long story short: Challenge accepted and completed. 12 months, 12 badges and a move streak of 382 as of today.
Although in October, 2016 almost repeated itself. My son was born in October and filling those circles became a challenge. With the exception of 2 days in October where I missed my blue circles, I just barely did complete all other days. The rest of 2017? A breeze. Nightly bottles of milk, walking around to rock my son to sleep, circles basically fill themselves.
Am I fitter after a year of chasing those circles? Maybe. Half way through 2017 I crashed with my bike and hurt my knee and shoulder. I already had the habit of walking every day and I kept doing it, knee hurting or not. Would I have just sat in the sofa otherwise? Probably. So that counts for something.
The Watch launched with a couple of challenges. 7 day workout streaks, double your circles, move streaks, and of course, badges for every perfect month. From those regular daily and weekly challenges only the 400% badge is missing. But I'm not an athlete or fanatic sporter. I walk for fun. Or commute via bike. So getting that one is still an unanswered challenge.
In fall 2017 Apple added the concept of monthly challenges to watchOS. Honestly? I don’t like them. The challenges seem random, and from what I hear from friends, often impossible. One friend got challenged for 25 standing hours a day, another had to triple her calories every day for a month. Since she had her daily goal at 450 calories, it seemed impossible.
Even worse? Apple’s algorithms to calculate the challenges seem off. I had to walk 200km in a month in August. On day three it told me I already walked 170km. And I ended that month with 263km and did not get a badge. (August was still a beta release, but even now the intermediate status updates are calculated wrongly)
So for now, I ignore the monthly challenges. Or get them awarded accidentally.
I do appreciate the special badges Apple’s awarding us on Holidays. Hiking 5km on Earth Day? Count me in. Start 2018 by completing my circles for a week? Just what I need to start the year.
Only negative point: most badges are only available in the US. I’d love a challenge for Belgian Independence day, Armistice Day or a Sinterklaas-badge on December 6th. (Apple, if you read this and need a European guy to invent badges: you can contact me!)
We’re now halfway in January and so far, circles are rounded every day. I do plan to start swimming again this year, so maybe, maybe, I can get that 400% badge this year. It’s the one activity badge I miss.
Also, if Apple ever releases a Steel Series 3 Apple Watch in Belgium, I'm upgrading. Maybe after I get that missing badge, just to make thing interesting.