Apple Watch: The Psychology behind the “Close Your Rings” Feature on the Activity App, and How to Achieve Your Daily Goals

Apple Watch Close Your Rings logo from the Activity App

The Apple Watch Activity app has one simple objective: to take you towards better health one day at a time. But not many Apple Watch owners use it effectively. The key is to consistently close your rings on a daily basis so you can keep enhancing them until you reach your final objective. The only problem is, consistency is a weakness for all but the most disciplined of us. Apple has refreshed the Close Your Rings page on its website. Check it out, it might just inspire you to try harder.

So, how do you motivate yourself to close your rings on the Apple Watch Activity app every day? Here are some tips to get you moving, exercising, standing and closing your rings daily.

Get Obsessed with Closing Your Rings

The only way to accomplish a goal is to be obsessed about it. Every successful person will tell you that. Why did you buy your Apple Watch in the first place? Because it looks good on you or because you want to look better because of it?

Understanding the purpose of closing your rings will help you be more focused. Why should you close your rings every day? You don’t need more than one reason to do so. Find that reason and stick to it like glue, and it will have you closing your rings on a regular basis.

In an old blog article I recently came across, Grant Cardone, the author of Be Obsessed or Be Average, says this:

“Goals aren’t a New Year’s resolution or a journal entry or a bumper sticker; they are critical to your life’s happiness and fulfillment. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t write goals down on a Post‑it note and look at them once in a while. Eat, sleep and breathe your goals. Not just because you “should” but because you can’t not. Feed the beast so that it becomes so powerful there is no room for doubt. Because the moment you divert focus from your goals or take your eyes off them, you get lost in all the noise of your mind and the world.”

And therein lies the secret to closing your rings. Your mind shouldn’t have an option or choice to close your rings. As Cardone says, do it “because you can’t not” do it.

Naturally, there are opposing views, but in this case, you’re not affecting anyone else in a negative way just because you’re closing your rings every day. Just watch out for over-obsession. According to Dr. Alex Lickerman:

“like all addictions, with time obsession unbalances us. We often begin to neglect parts of our lives we shouldn’t. If allowed to become too consuming, obsession causes us to devalue important dimensions of our lives and tolerate their atrophy and even their collapse.”

After all, it’s just not worth being super-fit if the rest of your life is falling apart, right?

Find Your Obstacles and Overcome Them

What are some of the things that are currently preventing you from achieving your goals or closing your Activity rings? According to various studies, the following are the most common obstacles when trying to achieve goals that you’ve set for yourself:

  1. Procrastination
  2. Making excuses
  3. Listening to pessimists
  4. Focusing on past failures
  5. Giving in to fear
  6. Too many goals
  7. Lack of focus
  8. Lack of consistency
  9. Negative mindset
  10. Stuck in your comfort zone

Do any of these hit too close for comfort? Those may be your biggest hurdles on your path to achieving your goal of closing your rings every day.

How do you overcome these challenges? Maybe it’s time to get a new perspective on what obstacles really are:

“Appreciate that obstacles serve a role other than cause emotional distress. To contest reality will not earn you support since life always prevails. Leaning in to your challenges however, helps you move through the obstacle rather than allow it to dominate your life.”

What does the author of that piece, Tony Fahkry, mean by “leaning in to your challenges”? It means you embrace them, find the resources to overcome them and then push your way through them. Remove the emotional element of being faced with an obstacle. Look at it objectively and try to figure out what you can learn from it. Most importantly, understand that obstacles are there for a reason.

It your goal impractical or unreasonable? Are you not equipped to overcome it? Do you lack specific skills that will help you deal with it? Answering these questions will go a long way in helping you overcome your biggest hurdles.

Make Your Goal Attainable

You can’t go from being a couch potato one day to being a champion marathon runner the next. You’ve heard it said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. That is true of any goal. You don’t stand up and walk a thousand miles before you first stand up. If getting up and getting moving is your challenge, then first overcome that. The rings help you do that.

Set goals that are achievable but a bit of a stretch. The Activity app makes it easy to set realistic goals that you can start achieving from day one, and the rings help motivate you to close the loop. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle at a desk, for example, set a low calorie burn goal for your Move ring. Similarly, set Exercise and Standing goals that you can achieve with just a little more effort than you’d normally put on a daily basis.

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” — Earl Nightingale

The key word here is “progressive”, so don’t worry about how you’re going to run that marathon next July when you’ve just started running. Figure out a realistic goal that you can keep stepping up as you consistently keep hitting it. In this case, start running a quarter mile or half mile on a consistent basis, and then keep stepping it up as you move towards your ultimate goal of running a full marathon.

Celebrate Your Achievements, No Matter How Small

Did you burn 500 calories daily for the past seven days after struggling to be consistent for the past two months? Celebrate with something you love, like a massage at the spa or an evening out with your friends. Remember, celebrating milestones is not the same as celebrating mediocrity. You’re rejoicing going past a mile marker, not the mile marker itself.

When you learn to celebrate each achievement on your path to your ultimate goal, it becomes more enjoyable and you start looking forward to the next time you achieve a mini-goal. Don’t worry about others making fun of your mini-goals. You will have the last laugh.

Are You Doing It Right?

If you’re new to Apple Watch and you’re trying to close your rings for the first time, you might not be doing it right. Watch this video to figure out what you may be doing wrong.

I hope these tips have helped you gain a better understanding of how to close your rings on a daily basis. Apple Watch makes it easier than ever to track your performance. Make full use of it so you can enjoy the long-term benefits of better health. Apple Watch Series 4 is the best Apple Watch yet. If there’s a health tracker that can help you achieve your fitness goals in 2019, this is it. Also consider picking up a pair of AirPods 2 when they’re available later this year. It’s totally worth it.