5 Lessons I Learned from My 30-Day Oculus Challenge

How it started…and how it’s going are basically the same photo

About two months ago, I made the big announcement that I had bought an Oculus virtual reality headset (by Facebook) for the purpose of staying active.

I was very excited about my new toy; I told you all about the new games I had been exploring and how I’d been getting my steps in throughout the workday.

Update: I probably used it for a solid 17/30 days in April. Womp. Womp. Since April, I have barely used it at all, to be honest. I am just as surprised as you are, considering how jazzed I was about it revolutionizing my workout from how routine.

Considering there are no failures — only lessons, here is what I learned about the Oculus, about myself, and about life in my attempt to use the Oculus VR headset for 30 minutes a day throughout the month of April:

  1. Doing something every day for 30 days is not easy: It is exciting to set up a new routine and work towards a new goal. It is also easy to fall back into old habits. It’s the same effect as the “New Year, New Me” syndrome that leaves 80% of Americans abandoning their New Year resolutions by mid-February. After the first few days of leaping to the headset, some days I forgot to pick it up, while on other days, putting it over my face felt like an elaborate and cumbersome chore. The truth is; every day we wake up feeling different; some days we are more zealous than others. Consistency requires a level of discipline that I honestly was not committed to giving to this challenge.
  2. Commitment must be anchored in something deeper than novelty: Novelty of the idea, the product, the person… I started off strong, but truth is, it only took about a week for the novelty to wear off. (Granted I had been using the device for a few months prior to this challenge.) Blame my Sagittarius moon or my Millennial attention span, but regardless, the headset lost its shine (not literally) and quickly got redundant. There were still many games to explore, and within some apps, my free trial still gave me access to numerous experiences, but the excitement of experiencing VR that I had felt when I first tried on my headset was lost. The headset didn’t get old, it just got old to me… just like getting to work from home in PJs.
  3. The Oculus is a great alternative for in-home movement: It is a great alternative to flailing my arms around or marching in place to get 250 steps each hour in the working day. It’s a fun way to get my heart rate up. It’s a creative avenue for dancing without having to formulate the moves myself. The scenery in games such as Supernatural is stupidly beautiful, but not worth $20 a month for me, considering the space and equipment I could get at a gym with a $30 monthly membership. I look forward to trying VR for movies, and TV shows, which I haven’t done yet. I have no clue where they will take things next, but there is so much potential in the space — the possibilities are endless.
  4. VR has its own glitches: As to be expected with any new technology, there were a few hiccups. I got stuck in the “boot loop” more times in two weeks than I ever should have in the lifespan of the device. I’d get in the mood for a workout, place my headset over my eyes, and look through the lens only to be met with the loading icon…on a never-ending loop. After resetting, charging, unplugging, and doing everything Reddit users suggested, often my only choice would be to leave it alone until the homepage reappeared on its own hours later. There were other minor glitches within apps where my movements were not captured or directives were unclear, but nothing that significantly hindered the experience like the “boot loop”. Of course, this is not why I have not been as frequent with my Oculus, but it did take few days off my count. Any excuse I can muster up shall be listed in this piece.
  5. Learning to pivot is one of the greatest secrets to peace: Anyone who has gone through hardship in life can attest to the fact that life throws you curve balls. (Just ask one of the 20 million Americans who lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic.) Trying to prioritize an arbitrary challenge I made for myself while life continued to happen revealed to me how I prioritize, pivot, and procrastinate. When life happens, I pivot on the things that matter; they get rescheduled from morning to afternoon, from Monday to Wednesday. Whatever it takes, they happen. As time progressed and the challenge became less of a priority, there was less pivoting and more procrastinating …till the month was over. Considering what else was going on in my life at the time, I am not surprised the Oculus challenge took a back seat. The true challenge was making peace with “falling off the wagon” when life threw curveballs, and not staying down when I fell the first time. Sometimes 30 minutes was split into 3 10-minute sessions, and some days it just did not happen.

In conclusion, the Oculus is a nice-to-have. I think the Facebook Company could promote its use cases more. If you are considering getting one, I recommend doing it, particularly if there are multiple users in the household who might share an interest in using it over time.

As for me, now that things are open again, I know I won’t be using it much. I’m glad I do have it around for when I feel like switching things up as I tend to do…any day now.

Ultimately, my favorite workout takes me to places like this… with all 5 senses.