June 30, 2010

Results of June challenge #2: Walk every day

Okay, it's time to walk the walk.

I was amused when I reread this morning's post about how I did (not so great) with the June Food Stamp Challenge, and saw that I said I would write about my other June challenge, to "talk a walk every single day" in a later post. I didn't have time to proofread that post, and obviously meant "take a walk every single day."

But it was an interesting slip. It's easy to "talk the talk," whether the discussion is about non-consumerism, green living, cutting the grocery budget to what you would get on food stamps, taking a walk every day, or just about anything you can think of. The question is: can you walk the walk?

I challenged myself to walk every single day for 30 days, not because I'm normally a couch potato or because I want to lose weight. I did it as an experiment to see how it would make me feel. I love to walk, for so many reasons it would comprise an entire post, and need no excuse to get out there and get my feet moving.

Naturally, as soon as I posted the challenge on my blog, I was called to a job for three weeks, making it much harder to successfully complete the challenge. If I have to walk after work, it's less likely to happen than if I'm working from home and schedule it into my day. I might be too tired to walk, or get home so late that it's already dark and my husband doesn't want to go with me, or I might have plans right after work that leave me no time for a walk. Those three things did in fact happen, but I'm happy to report I still managed to take a walk the other 27 days.

So how do I feel? I don't notice any difference in how I feel, probably because I normally walk almost every day anyway. But I did learn something very important. I learned that when you put your focus on something, and plan your schedule around making sure that it happens, it does happen. Because you make sure of it. Because you care about it. Because it's a commitment you make to yourself.

So even though I didn't walk 3 days out of the month, if I hadn't made the commitment to walk every single day, there would have been many more evenings when I wouldn't have walked because I was too tired or I didn't feel like it. Some nights I might have thought I'd rather have a glass of wine instead. But every time I took a walk this month, sometimes just because I'd said I would, I was glad I did.

And THAT proves to me that whatever it is that you focus on, you'll make sure it happens. That's how people run marathons, write books, start businesses. Anything that you don't feel like doing some days, or that overwhelms you on others, or that you think maybe you were crazy to think you wanted, you can do if you make a commitment to do it every single day. It's about caring about your commitment more than your day-to-day feelings and moods. It's about making it a habit, a routine that you incorporate into your everyday life.

Of course your goal must have some basis in reality. You can assume I'm not talking about wanting to be an Olympic medalist in your 40s (wait, didn't Dara Torres do that?) Let me think of a better example: it might not be realistic to think you can still graduate from college if you've been around since the invention of radio (okay, Nola Ochs did it at 95). But unless you're Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin, they're not going to let you host SNL when you're almost 90, are they? Ladies and gentleman, let's hear it for the rockin' Ms. Betty White.... I think you get my point.

Look for more "every day" challenges coming up: meditation, yoga, writing. But I think I'll give myself a break for July. It's summer after all, and I can hear my husband making margaritas in the other room. He's already got the guacamole ready, so I'd better go now.

Did you join the June Food Stamp Challenge or my "Take a Walk Every Day" challenge? Did you take another challenge, or maybe you challenged yourself to give yourself a break? Please tell us about it in the Comments section.


Betsy Talbot said...

Making the walk a new habit is much more important than whether you did it all 30 days or not. I'd call this one a definite success.

We are what we do (not what we think, which is what we'd all like to think!). It takes action, not just thought and good intentions. Good for you for sticking with it this month.

(oh, and enjoy the margaritas!)

Those Tricks said...

Love the end of this post.
Way to go luring Ang from blogging with some margarita action, George! haha.
BTW - I read the food stamps challenge, too - and it is so sad that eating fresh, healthy, non-processed food is so much more expensive than buying fried carbohydrates and soda.
However, food is the one place we should have no hesitation actually spending money for good stuff.
mmmmm nutrients.