My Year of 10,000 Steps a Day
I did a pretty interesting thing in 2016 - I set a "resolution" that I actually kept for 365 days. (counting the rest of the year!)
On New Years Day, I was standing in the kitchen with my Mom looking at the last week of steps on my Fitbit app. I realized that I hit my goal of 10,000 steps every day for the last week except for one day. My Mom had gotten a Fitbit for Christmas so I casually asked her, "Do you think we could get 10,000 steps every single day this year?"
I actually don't remember exactly what she said, but whatever it was, I took it as confirmation that she would do it with me.
And so, a two minute conversation turned into a me missing my goal on only 7 days this entire year.
Although I think that 10,000 steps is a pretty arbitrary number, it turned out to be a really great number for me because it took effort for me to get that much activity on most days based on my lifestyle, but it wasn't so much of a stretch that it was a time drain or caused me to overdo exercise.
It's amazing how little I can move on a normal work day if I don't pay attention. Even more impactful than general movement during the day, was how it forced me to take a walk most nights. Instead of sitting down on the couch after a day of sitting at my desk, I would have to get out into the fresh air and take a walk around the block. In hindsight, that was pretty awesome both physically and mentally.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I employed many well known habit tactics without even realizing it.
- I had an accountability partner
- I thought my Mom was doing this with me up until I went home to visit in May. That turned out to be really critical because I didn't want to let her down or "break the pact". It kept me going through the cold, dark and rainy winter months.
- Power of Momentum
- By the time that I found out that my Mom wasn't doing it (sorry to call you out, Mom), I had strung together many consecutive days, weeks, and months. I had only missed 1 or 2 days at that point so I had enough built up momentum behind me to keep going alone.
- I shared my goal with friends
- From the beginning, I started telling pretty much everyone I spent the most time with about what I was doing. I had people asking me how it was going and I wanted to live up to my word.
- Effortless tracking and visualization
- I didn't have to think about recording anything or taking any manual actions. My Fitbit app did all the work and I could just look down at my wrist and see my progress for the day.
- Didn't let perfection get in the way of good
- The first time I missed a day I was pretty bummed for a few minutes but I quickly moved on to thinking, "Ok, let's see if I can keep it to one missed day." Halfway through the year, my Fitbit broke and it took 7 days to get a new one. I kept my normal routine that would generally get my 10,000 steps but didn't stress about "ruining my goal."
- No special equipment or circumstances required
- I travelled a lot this year and it would be been hard to keep up with something if I needed anything special to make it happen. (Fitbit is always attached to my body and the app is on my phone).
I actually had a lot of fun with this! I did some pretty funny things to "get my steps". Two that come to mind are:
- An 11:30pm after-dinner and drinks walk, then jog around the block in flats with friends. (This ended up being a miss by a few hundred steps. Should have started jogging earlier!)
- There was one day in Taiwan when I got home from dinner at 10:30pm with only 2,000 steps. There was no gym and no where to go so I ended up walking up and down 19 flights of stairs for 90 minutes and had to jog in the hallways. Made it with 3 minutes to spare!
As we wrap up 2016, I'm obviously thinking about what I can do using the same strategies in 2017.
I am definitely going to try and get fewer than 7 goal misses to beat last year. I also have another idea... but I probably won't write about it until later in the year so you'll have to ask me in-person. :)
*I also have to mention that my Mom also gave me her Fitbit to bring back to China when mine broke for a second time over Thanksgiving. So, Mom gets the assist big time in this year-long commitment.