Are You Making This Top Tracker Mistake? Here’s How to Stop

Woman practicing memory techniques so she doesn't forget her Fitbit tracker.

How many times have you arrived somewhere, looked down at your wrist to check your steps and realized you accidentally left your Fitbit device at home?

It’s something Fitbit firmware engineer, Andre Bertomeu, has seen happen to his family members. “I noticed they’ll forget about their device when charging it or if it dies before they have a chance to charge it,” he says. “So it will either sit dead or sit on the charger for days on end. Then it gets shoved around during cleaning or whatever until they leave and say, ‘darn, I forgot my Fitbit tracker at home’.”

Forgetting to wear your tracker every once in awhile may not seem like a big deal, but University of Washington researchers found that it’s actually one of the top causes of activity-tracking lapses. These lapses can lead to incomplete records, which, the study authors write, “can ultimately lead people to abandon [activity tracking].” And if less activity tracking leads to a decrease in healthy behaviors, your forgetfulness may get worse.

“It’s kind of ironic,” says Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, because the activity Fitbit devices can inspire will help a person’s memory. His research has found that healthy lifestyle interventions—like diet, exercise, and learning memory techniques—can improve brainpower and cognitive performance within two weeks (the full program is outlined in his book 2 Weeks to a Younger Brain).

Below, Small shares six of those research-proven strategies to help you boost your overall brain health—and never forget your Fitbit tracker again.

3 Memory Techniques—Plus Other Ways to Help a Forgetful Brain

Create a Memory Habit
Do you keep your floss next to your toothbrush so you remember to use it? Or your vitamins near the breakfast table? Think about when and where you tend to take off your tracker and then use the same memory strategy. “Create a routine where you put your Fitbit tracker down in the same place—kind of almost make a ritual of it—and think about what you’re doing so that you can remember it each time,” suggests Small.

“I take off my Fitbit Charge 2 to charge it, clean it, or for showering,” says Chris Jones, a principal program manager working on firmware at Fitbit. “To charge it, I put my keys near it—I can’t leave without it or my keys,” she says. “To clean it or for showering, I leave it on my bathroom counter next to my electric toothbrush and wedding ring. After I brush my teeth, I pick up my ring, Charge 2, bracelet, and hair tie.”

Look, Snap, Connect
“The biggest reason we don’t remember things is we’re simply distracted,” says Small. “Look is a reminder to focus your attention. Snap is a reminder to create a mental snapshot of what you want to recall later. Our brains are actually hardwired to remember visually, and this leverages that. And connect is a way of linking up those mental snapshots so they have meaning. If something becomes meaningful, it will be memorable.”

How do you put Look, Snap, Connect into practice? Let’s say you take your Fitbit tracker off to charge it while you make dinner and you want to remember to put it back on after you eat. When you pull out a pan, you might visualize a big battery or even your tracker hanging over the cupboard door. When you see your cabinet again, the same imagine will pop into your head, reminding you to retrieve your device.

Set a Reminder
Take advantage of the devices that you usually do remember. For instance, says Small, “if a person remembers his cellphone but has a habit of forgetting his Fitbit tracker, he might set an alarm on his cellphone as a reminder that he left the device in the charger.”

Get Regular Exercise
“A study of healthy older adults found that mental tasks involving executive control improved in a group that was prescribed a cardiovascular conditioning program but not in a control group that was prescribed only stretching and toning,” writes Small. And you don’t have to be a hardcore athlete—or even an athlete at all—to see results. “Studies show that just 20 minutes of daily brisk walking can lower a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” says Small. Check out The Best Walking Workout for Non-Exercisers to start easing into a new routine.

Reduce Your Stress
If you wear a Charge 2, Fitbit Blaze, or Fitbit Ionic, take advantage of Relax, Fitbit’s guided breathing experience. “If you inject a human subject or volunteer with a stress hormone, it causes temporary memory impairment,” says Small. “But meditation, tai chi, and breathing exercises can counteract these kinds of stress effects on brain health.”

Eat a Balanced Diet
Diets high in omega-3 fats fatty acids and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables are linked to less age-related cognitive decline—likely because they protect the brain from harmful inflammation and oxidative stress, says Small. “Try to limit refined sugars and processed foods, which are also not good for brain health,” says Small. Here are 5 healthy recipes your brain with love.

79 Comments   Join the Conversation

79 CommentsLeave a comment

    • @Nancy and they refuse to let the Apple Watch users play in their challenges. Going to run everybody away as soon as apple gets their social side going.

    • I always purchase warranty replacement at the retailer I buy majority of electronics. Had to have 2 Fitbits replaced due Fitbit #1 screen text blurred and rubber on wristband detaching on both due to sweat (model didn’t allow wristband only replacement). Even though Fitbit #3 is a newer model and has lasted a littl longer than the first 2 (4/8 months respectfully) wristband rubber starting to detach. Yes I can now purchase a replacement wristband but considering I’ve yet to make a year without something going wrong with 3 Fitbits independently replaced, next time I will purchase a Garmin or something that is more durable and most of all more sweat or waterproof (or resistant). Otherwise I love Fitbits functions and tracking capacity. The other part such a shame.

    • huh? The strap broke?, or came off a Charge HR ? If something wrong, you need to call FitBit to find out if they can help

    • My sister’s fitbit broke also. It was heartbreaking to her to spend a 100.00 plus dollars and then have it break. I love my fitbit. I find it motivating and keep me motivated. I want to buy at least three fitbits for Christmas presents. I would buy one more for my brother, but he does not believe in computers. Is there a way to use fitbit without a computer to charge it?

    • The Fitbit HR seem to have a faulty construction and many of them fall apart after about 6 months, many people including me have the rubber band come off the electronics. If you’re lucky they’re replaced under warranty, then the second one might last another six months before it too falls apart. Me, I’m on my third, fingers crossed that this one stays together. Not sure what I’ll do when this one dies.

    • here’s a corporate idea, make the fitbit vibrate when fully charged until the user puts it on. I want free fibit for life thanks

    • So sorry to hear that. Have you contacted fitbit? they have amazing customer service. My device was replaced when it broke. I had that device for two years and then this one broke and they gave me a discount on a new one. Good luck

    • I bought one for my son and one for myself and they both starting coming apart within a year…with irregular use and not getting them wet.
      Two other people I know had the same thing happen. One had it replaced twice and it still went the same way. The other sticky-taped it together and soldiered on!

    • I have two Fitbit trackers, one being worn and the other on charge. I love the way they automatically sync when switched over

    • Mine had broken as well, but I rang them and they hooked me up with a replacement despite being out of warranty, like a company that truly cared. I was an am truly impressed. I’m just a customer, not an employee nor a stockholder, although that may change now.

  • I have two fitbit Blaze and I hate both of them every time it goes died I can never get the time set again so I just stopped wearing it and went back to my 10 dollar watch that works

  • I get CRAZED if I forget my Fitbit at home !! If it’s not recorded , it didn’t happen !! It’s crazy , but you all know it’s true !!

  • I wish you would have one that you put on your shoe…..battery operated like the zip but secured on the shoe laces. Also lost my zip because it came out of the holder that you provided.

  • I wish you would have a Fitbit that is battery operated like the zip that would lock on the base of your shoe strings! I lost my zip as it must have slipped out of the case you provided.

  • Why would my Fit Bit Zips battery die so quickly? I have to replace the battery (2025) every couple weeks. This is my second Zip & the same thing was happening with the 1st one. Also it seems to have a hard time syncing to my IPhone

  • One of the biggest complaints about the tracker is that it DOESN’T show the alarm on it. It used to, but the promoted benefit suddenly ceased. and, of course, no response from FitBit..

  • Danielle, I am new to the east Bay Area. I am a runner and cyclist and hike also. Is there any groups are place to go where I can meet fellow cyclist or runners?

    Thanks,
    Morgan

  • I wish my Fitbit Alta would show my incoming phone calls. It did for a short time, but then it stopped. I don’t know how to get it started again.

  • EVERY time I leave home, I know I have 2 ‘electronics’ my fitbit and cell fon and my door/car keys. I’ve never forgotten any of them. I’m just not ‘dressed’ to leave the house w/out 2 & keys. It works for me.

  • It seems that my Blaze holds charge a lot less than it did initially. I have to charge it so often, and I’m EXTREMELY busy as a new professor, so I have been going without for a few days now and I really miss my fitbit. I just don’t have the money to upgrade to another and I don’t have the time to constantly babysit it’s need to charge. I hope that the next device that y’all come out with holds the charge longer and holds up for more than a year and a half. (y)

  • I keep my charger in the bathroom, and every day my morning routine includes putting my Charge 2 on the charger while I shave and shower. By the time I’m dried off the battery has topped up completely, and I’m never in danger of it running out — it rarely goes more than 24 hours without being charged, even though it could last 5 days.

  • I wear my Alta 24/7 and only take it off to shower and to charge. In both situations I keep it next to my hearing aids.

  • I’m on my second Fitbit, both straps broke, one got replaced and now it’s broke. I won’t be buying a Fitbit ever again.

  • I charge mine every morning when I shower. By the time I’m ready, it is too. I put my glasses beside it. I can’t go anywhere without them.

  • My Fitbit is not counting my steps accurately at all. For example: Several days ago I walked twice as long as I did yesterday…and yet it counted more steps on the day I walked the shortest distance. Is it counting arm swings? If it is counting arm swings, it will never be accurate for me, as I often walk my two very large dogs at the same time…hence, arm swings are often not present. Also, I noticed when I set it up, it asked whether I was right or left handed…and on which hand did I wear the tracker. For me it’s complicated. I’m ambidextrous. I chose to wear it on my left wrist. Soooo…

  • My tracker stopped working a month or so ago even though I had glued it 3 times when it had started to come apart. I tried to use my wife’s old Charge HR (got her a new Alta with a thin band) but the cover was also coming off of her Charge HR and after wearing it for a couple days, tried to charge it and it wouldn’t work any more. Both of those Charg HRs were replacements and were a little less than one year old. We are hopeful that the new type as is her Alta which is affixed with magnets, will last longer.

  • I️ have lost all my steps twice. Oct I️ had full 10000 plus days. It’s amazing what a metal game we play. My app had to be reloaded for some reason. Can some technical wizard find them and put them back PLEASE

  • it would be great if the fitbit actually gave you a real result,
    I had 2, both of them did not last 1 month and fell apart!

  • I bought the Fitbit Zip..it uses a battery n it never leaves my pocket…no forgetting no battery to charge…5000 miles walked with it.

  • An article about remembering to wear your Fitbit? Really? Isn’t this a glaring shot of the obvious? I read this thinking I was doing something wrong with my Fitbit….

  • Love my fit bit, helped me lose 4 stone and keeps me on track, never thought I’d ever exercise till i was fast approaching 50, my only wish now is that I’d started 30 years ago.

  • Hi, I’m a cyclist and have a fit bit one what is the best why to track as it seems it does not give me the steps I want. I also do spin classes and put the one on my shoe. Please help

  • Love my fit bit, I had to reset it last week, I had a really active day and it did not register it correctly, I was so disappointed as I like to see all goals met. This little item has really made me a more active 66 year old. I even wear it to the gym.

  • Hi I use a cross trainer about every day and generally put in the same effort to keep to my times / distance. I notice that it records a higher consistent heartbeat only when fully charged and the strap fairly tight

  • I don’t know what to tell you about the tracker. I use it with an iPad and it worked very well but now I can’t see the steps, although I can on the Fitbit as I wear it. It says ‘tracker not found’. Felicity

  • I wish Fitbit would sync with my iPhone, so that when I forget to take it off the charger, my phone would track my steps and sync back to Fitbit.

  • I find the points I get are arbitrary. I got 4 points for a treadmill 26 min at 14:30 pace and 3 points for 45 min at a 15:00 pace. That does not make sense
    I also did a spin class for 45 min and did 16 miles and got 2 points. Really?

  • my best friend is my Fitbit Surge and we dance in the sun rain and snow and wind. I manage to get 5500 steps a day but need to lose weight because i stopped smoking in May 6, 2017 and gained 30 Ibs and need encouragement to get back out there and get 10000 steps a day. Or my dietitian says 30 minutes 3 times a week, I’m still not making my goal. thanks for your support Brenda

  • As an older Fitbit user I found I have to apply more “aides memoires” in my daily life than when I was younger, and my way of reminding myself to put my Charge 2 back on is to leave my glasses next to it. I need my glasses, so don’t forget them and as a consequence don’t forget my Fitbit!

  • This information and helpful hints are wonderful… keep them coming – I always want to know how I can keep myself ‘more’ active – being 71 these are always welcome in my life!

    I have always had the Fitbit ONE and loved it, wore it all the time – I was very sad to see it is not supported any longer. I am trying to get use to the AltaHR, but wearing something around my wrist is not my first choice. However I do enjoy the reminder to get up and move each hour.

    Thanks again!

  • I agree… it took a while to make it a habit, but now I feel lost without my fitbit. It has helped me to stay accountable and lose 155 lbs over the past 14 months. I used to set reminders, and leave it in plain view at all times 🙂

  • I was only thinking about this yesterday but could it not work like the Bluetooth trackers where if your phone goes out of reach or your Fitbit goes out of reach of your phone that either one notifies you? Notification on phone or vibrate on Fitbit (charge 2)?

  • I wear my Fitbit all the time except for charging and showering. I wish it was able to track my strength training, though. It looks like I only exercise twice a week when I do my cardio.

  • You get so use to have tracker on your wrist , even when you take off for charging it feel like something is missing from your body.

  • Hi My Alta the band was broken , I just bought online 2 months only .
    How can I replace or get a new one from your company ,

  • I have had my Charge 2 for almost a year now and I don’t know what I would do without it. In fact it is a bit of an obsession.

    In the year I have never missed my daily step goal (20,000) and I have added other activities like cycling and my elliptical machine.

    I use it to track calories and sleep as well as physical activity. have lost 75 pounds and feel fantastic.

    I am so hooked that I have convinced a few of my friends to join the Fitbit obsession.

    Thanks Fitbit. You have really made a difference in my life.

  • Can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am that Fitbit discontinued the Fitbit One. I cannot wear anything on my wrist for medical reasons. I LOVE my One and have promoted Fitbit in general, but especially the One, to so many people – many who have also purchased One’s because they do not want to or cannot wear the item on their wrist. I have worn my Fitbit One everyday for over 2-1/2 years – and have logged over 15,000 steps EVERY SINGLE DAY for over 2 years. Fitbit has made activity a focus in my life and I am thankful for that. However, when my One “dies,” I will look elsewhere. The Flex is a far inferior product. One of my friends lost her One & purchased the Flex – she is disappointed that it only tracks steps (might as well buy a cheaper pedometer that does the same thing). Now her battery has died and in our small town she is having trouble finding a replacement battery. If you want to get rid of one of the pedometer style products, it should have been the Flex. Please reconsider. Dreading the day that my One bites the dust.

  • I have never forgotten my Fitbit. I only take it off to shower. I put it on charge when in shower and clean it before putting it back on. When it needs a longer charge I take it off while reading or checking e mail, Facebook etc. I have run downstairs to get something and realised I don’t have it on. But it’s rare and just for a couple of minutes. You could say I’m addicted to my Fitbit and I love it!

  • Hi Danielle,

    Very good article. I leave my fitbit Ionic beside my hair brush when i have a shower and when it is on the charger i sit next to it while i am on the computer. I know how it feels when you don’t have your fitbit on. Especially when you are close to beating your PB.

  • It has happened to me ! (Sadly I was half-way through a 10,000 step major walk when i realized!) I had to drop back home and continue my walk (luckily I did 15,000 that day although the watch only showed 10,000 🙁

    What I do now as I walk out the door is say to myself “Check 3 things!”……
    Door keys? “Check!”…..iPod?(for music)….Check!……Fitbit Watch?…….
    Check!”

    If all three check-n OK, I am on my way! 🙂

  • My fitbit has stopped showing sleep pattern properly. Earlier it used to show different stages of sleep. Not now, I have not changed wearing position.

  • My firbit tracker is not showing different stages of sleep for last four days. The app says that I may not be wearing it properly, but I have been wearing it ever since buying it. Moreover, some times the time it is on charge, it shows the time as my sleep time.

  • My tracker doesn’t always recognise certain foods when I use the scan option, even though they are fairly common foods- is it just that they are not in the ‘library’ or is there a problem?

  • Hi Danielle, thank you for the info. I LOVE my fitbit. I am 61, trying to get rid of pounds but I never see many articles for the 60+ crowd. My generation is huge like 75 million of us, as an ex-surfer and ex-black belt in TKD I rather read your material than AARP. Please ask the FITBIT powers that be to write more researched articles on my age group! Thanks! ps: I,m Daniele too w 1L

  • I charge my Fitbit while I am in the shower every morning. My charger is plugged up with my electric toothbrush. When I brush my teeth, I put my Fitbit back on. I never forget it and it is always charged.

  • Oh my goodness , contact fit bit . Mine had band issues twice ,they replaced the band’s twice by mail no charge ! ! Fit bit is awesome !

  • I absolutely love my Fitbit Charger. My husband gave it to me last year for Christmas. He says “you like that Fitbit more than the ring I gave you”. I love the ring and I wear it daily but I take it off at night before bed. Not my Fitbit!! The only time I take it off is when I need to charge it. I charge it at night as I am showering and getting ready for bed and then I put it back on my wrist. I have two very nice watches, however, I haven’t worn either of them since I got my Fitbit! I check it regularly to see how many steps/miles I am doing in a day and I have set it to “gently” let me now when I need to get up from my desk and walk around for a while. My Fitbit is like having my own personal trainer to motivate me.

  • Yes, I agree with Nancy Lynch.
    Tthe number one way to make sure you don’t forget your tracker is to have a tracker that actually remains intact and wearable.
    I absolutely love the way the Fitbit HR has improved my activity levels, my attitude to stairs and enabled me to track my HR and sleep, BUT I won’t buy another. Two devises falling apart in the space of 20 months is not acceptable.
    It is a common and we’ll know proble, and yet there is no solution.
    The original Fitbit is too simplistic now, all the new Fitbit are too large for my wrist.

  • Could you please help. The strap on my Fitbit came apart last night and is unable to put back together.Even if I purchase a new strap it would be impossible to put back together. Can you help.
    Thanks

    Theresa Merredy.

  • Protip: buy an iPhone 8 or X then your tracker won’t sync so no worries about leaving the fitbit at home as a useless paperweight. win win for Fitbit, no silly storage of units and they get your money for something useless.

  • I’ve purchased 3 fitbit devices over the last 3 years and just recently my 3rd device broke. Device 1 would not sync after months of trying abiding by the minimal guidelines provided by the bot help tool. Device 2 after a year started to rip and eventually ripped so much by the face connection, simply stop operating. I didn’t give up as I love this device over their competition. Device 3 lasted much longer and I avoided issues experienced with the first two until a few weeks ago. The magnetic connector started to cause me issues and the band began to randomly break apart, but I thought it was me. After dealing with this issue for a week, I inspected the band and it appears that magnetic and lock-in band connection is broken.

    I have spent $120 times three and am sick of buying items that can’t seem to last beyond a year. I wear my device everyday and appreciate the ability to track my steps/heart rate with a device that didn’t cost me multiple hundreds like the Apple. That said, I give up, I am a very busy mom, manager and all around human….wasting time with a device that I have to buy every year or so is not in my plan.

  • is it ok to use a drop of super glue on the band of my fitbit where it hooks on to the face – it falls off easily several times each day and I have lost it several times. After reading all the reviews – I have come to the conclusion a new band is not the answer

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