This site has changed tremendously in the time I've used it for my journey. Most of the changes have been absolutely fantastic; the once difficult-to-navigate site with hidden articles is now so easy to use! Perhaps one of the best changes was the development of the tab system; new members can find what they need without the amount of help once necessary. Class Teams' participation is down because this and other features eliminated the once prevalent confusion new members faced when they joined.
One aspect never really made sense to me: SparkPoints. SparkPoints have meant very little to me since the first day I joined SP, yet many people find them encouraging; for them, the points are valuable because as they amass points they explore the site further and grow more. Excellent!
My point totals never reflected the amount of time, energy or growth I've gained here at SparkPeople. Why not? Quite simple: I have never clicked for points just because I read an article or watched a video or slide, etc. For me, the SparkPoints PAGE had and has more value; I used/use it as a check-off list of the daily features that I want to be sure I do. As such the points are to me nothing more than check marks that say "I did that today".
Points. I've never been into them at all and often in the past would read or do things without clicking for points. This used to be especially true of articles that meant the MOST to me. Why? Because it used to be that if we clicked for points the articles were marked as having been read; for me, NOT clicking meant that I might be re-reading the articles I found most helpful!
Then, SP made it so that we could delete the 'read' notations of articles that we'd read more than six months prior by merely clicking a spot on the account pages. That made sense to me. We grow and in re-reading articles after 6 months or a year read with different perceptions. And now? I can get points for the same article day after day; not sure I like that at all, to be honest. But this beats the old system because once upon a time a member could have read an article one year and two years of growth later would see it from a different light and not get points. I find I'm wasting time looking at articles I'd read just a month ago because I won't remember the titles.
I now spin the wheel/s and even click the flags, even though I think they distort actual accomplishments. And the points totals mean even less than they ever did. We get points for activities that I did automatically but don't get points for things like team leadership (an unpaid job when we really put our hearts into the tasks). Points seem distracting to me because it seems that many people think progress is revealed by those number totals; in fact, progress does not show anywhere but in real life, in the changes we've made, the improved results observed on scales or in doctor visits or that terrific feeling in the abdomen as we walk more comfortably and for longer distances!
Whether a person is a pointaholic or a JustDontCareAboutPoints person, focus on real life movements towards a healthy lifestyle remains the most important achievement for us all. If watching those point numbers add up motivates you? Go for it! Just make sure that when you click for points you have gained SOMEthing so the points have meaning. When you clickclickclick on the Start Page, do take time and thought so that you read each of the goals before getting those 5 points; taking care to personalize your goals will make the 5 points have true meaning, so looking at each of them WILL bolster your commitments to yourself.
Do points motivate YOU? Pros and cons?
As for me, I still don't care about the points but if someone ever sees them I guess the even lower than it should be number will indicate I've been active on the site. And as for you? Whatever your goals, whatever is most helpful to you: remember this maze of a site has it all whether you have a ton of points or bare minimum.
I've now been active on SP for eight years. And am pleased to note that several of the people who also have been here that long or longer are still active, still growing as each of us reach toward ever-evolving goals. To those who have not been here long or who feel discourage or even feel they've outgrown the site because they've reached initial goals, I say revamp how you use the site, reconsider how you perceive those SparkPoints, re-energize and revitalize. Whether you mean to amass points or not, this site's tools will grow with you. And you'll still learn, though in a different way and perhaps more intensely, from those same articles you read the first week you joined.