19 days into my green day challenge, what have I learned?
Here are 5 lessons that apply not only to my goal of taking 10,000 steps every day, but also to any goal worth pursuing.
- Plan ahead. Today is Sunday, so I’m planning the week ahead. As I review the calendar, I’m mapping out when and where I’ll exercise. This week I’m traveling, so my exercise gear is the first thing I pack.
I’m also thinking about the many small ways I can rack up steps – take the stairs, walk around at the airport, pace in my office while preparing for a meeting, stroll around the floor and say hello to colleagues.
- Get steps in early in the day. This is similar to “eating a frog” – or doing the most difficult project of the day early on.
Taking 10,000 steps isn’t hard, but as the day wears on and demands stack up, it’s more challenging to work in exercise time.
Since it’s Sunday I decided to treat myself to a morning workout at the beach. I caught up on some reading on the treadmill (in the picture above), and it will be a green day before lunch.
- Do whatever it takes. Some days, despite the best planning, it’s not possible to get the steps and the big projects done in the morning.
Because I’ve committed to this challenge, my decision isn’t about whether or not I’ll take the necessary steps. It’s about how I’ll get them in.
Sometimes that means a late-night walk with my husband in the rain – after I’ve already spent an hour on the treadmill.
- The progress principle fuels other goals. The pass/fail nature of my green-day challenge means I only have to focus on the quantity of my efforts, not the quality.
There’s no value judgement to how well I carried out my green-day tasks. All that matters is the yes/no aspect of whether I took the steps or not.
The only fear of failure involved is if I don’t take action. That action creates momentum and a feeling of accomplishment. It frees up energy and bandwidth to focus on other, more challenging goals.
- Make it fun. On Friday when my husband picked me up from the airport, we headed to a nearby beach city for dinner.
We spent a half hour strolling along The Strand, enjoying the beautiful sunset (pictured below) and catching up with each other.
While I was traveling and using the hotel fitness center, I streamed episodes of a favorite show on my iPad. The time flew by.
The best part of my green days?
By New Year’s Day 2016, I’ll have racked up 45 green days.
And instead of setting a goal to start exercising, I’ll be able to pursue a far more interesting goal.