There was a time in my life when I recorded every piece of food I ate and every step I took. I kept a meal and exercise journal — an actual journal — before I had one on my computer. Once online tools like LoseIt! and MyFitnessPal became popular, I tried a slew of those. I’ve had too many pedometers to count. All of those things helped me monitor my food intake and exercise, showing me all the calories I consumed, all the miles I walked, and other metrics I never fully understood but knew were important. But I never stuck with any of them.

Gabriel Koepp, the program manager of research operations at Arizona State University’s Obesity Solutions center, tells me I’m not alone: 90 percent of people who try some kind of fitness trackers stick with it for three weeks to two months, he says, and then stop using it. "It's cool to see at first," Koepp says, "but then the information the device gives a user isn't valuable anymore and people lose interest." That still leaves 10 percent, who he says will use one tracker to make lasting change in their lives. The brand of tracker is nearly irrelevant — for some people, all they need is a constant reminder of their progress, and that’s enough to keep them on track for years. This can work.

Now, companies are fighting to win over people like me — the 90 percent. The way to do that is to make an experience that is simple and understandable (no, those things are not synonymous) while making the same data more and more relevant. The Jawbone Up24 and the Nike+ Fuelband SE are both trying to do this — the Up24 wants to wow you with data you didn’t know you wanted, and the FuelBand SE makes movement a game. All I need is one I'll keep wearing.