On 21 September 2015 I set myself a goal to walk 10,000 steps per day. One month went by and I surprised myself by achieving my daily goal every day! One month turned into two, two months turned into six and before I knew it I had gone an entire year of not missing my goal. So I kept going…. And yesterday marked the 1000th day in a row where I have walked at least 10,000 steps. Some people consider this an achievement, other people consider me crazy but as I stopped to reflect, I realised I learnt more about life than I thought possible from simply walking a lot of steps.
- Walking apparently does have health benefits!- The number one question
people ask me when I tell them about my step habit is “How have you done
it while you’ve been sick?” And the answer is “I haven’t been”. Sure I’ve
had the occasional cold or a headache over the past 1000 days but I’ve yet
to be sick enough to not get my steps in. Co-incidence? Don’t believe in
them. There are hundreds of articles on the health benefits of daily
exercise but I guess I am walking proof! (pardon the pun)
- Life is about the choices you make in the time you have– It’s amazing how many
people have said to me that they wish they could do 10,000 steps but they
don’t have the time because they work a lot, or they travel too much or
they are just simply too busy. I always appreciate their viewpoint and
rationale but here is what I know. I work 50+ hours per week, I have two
boys who are a handful at the best of times, I travel overseas a few times
per year and interstate every few months and generally speaking, have a
lot going on. However in the midst of this, I have made exercise and my
daily steps a priority. If I’m travelling I get up early and go for a run
before my day starts, if I’m in meetings all day I turn some of them into
walking meetings, if it’s raining I run around the house with the boys, if
I’m stuck on a plane I walk up and down the aisles. It’s really not about
time at all, it’s about how you choose to spend that time.
- Walking has made me a better mum- Unquestionably the best
thing to come out of this habit is the extra time I have spent with my
boys. Every Saturday and Sunday we set out to our local cafe (7000 step
round trip) and on this walk they let me into their minds. Over the years
I’ve learned about Pokemon, Minecraft, tales from the school yard, their
dreams, their fears, even their “secret” girlfriends. As a busy working
mum, this time is sacred and the bond it has formed between us could not
have been achieved on a 3 minute drive.
- You can inspire people simply by being you– Over the years, my mum
has bought a Fitbit to track her steps, my best friend at work has bought
one and is now step obsessed but the best was my eldest son telling me
that the only thing he wants for his 9th birthday is a Fitbit
(a green one 😊) because he wants to
“be fit like mummy”.
- I’m an all or nothing kind of gal– According to Gallup
Strengths Finder I have Focus, Discipline and Achiever in my top 10
strengths. Put simply I am someone that is innately built to set myself
goals, put structure and routine to these goals and then execute on them.
The reason I have never missed a day is because I know when I do, I will
likely give up on the goal for good. I tend to do things 100% or not at
all. Other people work in moderation but I’ve realised that doesn’t work
for me. And that’s ok because I’ve found out what does.
- You don’t always need to start with the end in mind– I never set out to go
1000 days without going under 10,000 steps. I only wanted to do 30.
However as I achieved 30, I upped the goal (classic Achiever) until I
reached 60. And the rest is history. What this taught me is that if I
really want to achieve something big, I can do it by starting small.
- If you cheat, you are only cheating yourself– My dad drilled into me
from a very young age that success only counts when you don’t cut corners.
I discovered about two months into my challenge that your Fitbit will
count steps if you’re simply moving your arm up and down. After blow
drying my hair and earning myself an easy 1000 “steps” I felt so guilty
that I had to take the dog for a late night walk to make up for it! So
every time I’ve been tempted to stand on the spot and move my arms up and
down, I think of dad and run on the spot instead 😊
- Tracking everything in life can do more harm than good-
if I track things whether it be steps, calories, my heart rate or how much
money I’m spending, I end up getting results. However one thing that did
not work for me was tracking my sleep. I spent months analysing my sleep
and feeling like an under-achiever when my Fitbit told me how many times I
was waking up in the night (probably from the stress of not being a “good”
sleeper!) so I came to the conclusion that not everything in life needs to
be measured. And I’ve been sleeping easy ever since.
- Life is easier when you plan– One of the reasons
I’ve managed to not miss my goal is by planning ahead. Over the years I’ve
looked ahead for what’s happening in my life and prepared accordingly.
I’ve bought Fitbit accessories to make my Fitbit fashionable when I’ve had
nights out (ps- the dancefloor gets you thousands of steps!), I’ve bought
spare chargers so it never has a flat battery, I’ve packed sneakers when
travelling so I can run even when I only have 30 minutes to spare and I’ve
given up wearing high heels at work because that means I won’t walk to the
coffee shop that will give me the most steps. Every day I know exactly
what needs to happen in order to hit my goal and so far I have yet to be
- Achieving one goal makes other goals seem possible- Last year I
joined F45 and one month in decided I was going to not only enter, but win
the club’s 8 week challenge. Sure enough I gave it everything I had and
did just that. What gave me confidence was knowing that if I planned, set
myself rules, made it a priority and followed through that anything was
So there you have it. Perhaps I’ll go another 1000 days, perhaps I won’t. All I know is that for now, I’m just going to take it one step at a time. Or rather 10,000 steps…. 😊