I panicked the first time it happened. I was shoveling snow in our driveway. It’s a pretty good workout and takes about 45 minutes to clear two inches of snow. I also knew I was racking up the steps on my new Fitbit Zip.
That little Fitbit was changing my life. I loved seeing how many steps I could get each day and kept pushing myself to keep getting more. Lots of steps were happening with that shovel in my hands. After about 30 minutes I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to see my total.
The Zip was one of the early Fitbits. It was a small rounded device about the size of a quarter. You could place it in your pocket or purse. It also came with a little rubber sleeve that had a clip so I could also attach it onto my belt loop or the top of my pocket. And, that’s where it was as I was shoveling snow.
I took my glove off and lifted the edge of my winter coat so I could flick the Zip to life and see my step total. Except…
…it wasn’t there. My Fitbit was gone!
Panic set in as I realized somewhere along my driveway my little Zip had come loose and landed in the snow. But, it was black so it shouldn’t be too hard to spot against a white back drop. I walked up and down the driveway, but didn’t see it. So I walked the length of the driveway again only slower. Still didn’t see it. Walked again. Even slower. No Zip. Again. Slower. Nope.
It was gone. Every snow shoveling step was gone too. It was that moment I realized I was addicted. I’m a Fitbit addict.
But, this is an addiction I’m OK with. Every day I have a step goal. For a long time that goal was 15,000. Early on with my Fitbit, I tried a one month goal of 25,000 steps every day. Tried, but failed because I missed it one day. A couple years later I aimed even higher…1,000,000 steps in a month. I picked July because it had 31 days and my daily goal was 34,000. I reached the million steps a couple days early.
Currently, my step goal is 20,000 every day for a year with no breaks. I’m calling it my 20k One Year Step Challenge. I started on September 1, 2018.
These step goals are changing my life. Here are 9 ways that’s happening.
- Health Freedom – Obviously, moving this much as a huge impact on my fitness and overall health. I feel better than ever. I know that sounds like a cliche, but I’ve had three physicals in the past 18 months and they’ve all come back amazing. I’m 58 and I am currently taking no medication. I have the health freedom to do pretty much whatever I want.
- Improved Marriage – My wife, Ava, and I walk together a lot. She has a Fitbit so she’s got her own goals and we typically walk together several times a week. The conversations are better when we are walking because neither of us is distracted. Ava is also battling breast cancer right now and this time together is helping us talk through the journey ahead. It’s been a very sweet season for us.
- Better Mental Clarity – I don’t know if it’s always been this way, but I think better when I’m walking. It’s become a pretty regular thing for me to get up and move if I have a problem to solve. In fact, even as I’m writing this blog post I’m getting up and walking around the room when I hit a mental block regarding what I want to say.
- Improved Creativity – Along with better thinking, I’m also re-discovering the joy of creativity. Part of my 20k One Year Step Challenge is finding something every day that I’m grateful for. As I’m walking I’m enjoying the challenge of working through how to creatively present that so it’s a little different each day.
- Emotional Stability – Ava’s breast cancer diagnosis is a scary thing. In those first few weeks there were a lot of unknowns. Thankfully, it was caught early, but there are still unknowns moving forward. I have felt the tension of this. Some days are worse than others. Long walks have provided me with a sense of emotional stability. Moving is very calming for me.
- I’m Learning Stuff – I have discovered the joy of podcasts. When I’m not walking with Ava, I usually am listening to a podcast. I have about a dozen that I am actively listening to. And, what is especially great is this journey of learning keeps growing. It seems that each podcast expands my knowledge and also expands my questions which compels me to find even more podcasts.
- I’m More Confident – Every day I reach my step-goal is another notch of success. And, each notch comes with a little boost of self-confidence. Now, when I wake up I no longer question whether I can reach my goal. Instead, I approach each day confident that I will. I may not know the exact path I’ll take to get there, but I know I’ll do what it takes to make it happen.
- Stronger Faith – One of the things I do while I’m walking is pray. This is something that has never been easy for me. My mind wanders. I’ll start praying for someone and within moments my brain is headed in a totally different direction. Minutes later I realize what’s happened. It’s so frustrating. But, while I’m moving it happens far less often.
- I’m Rarely Bored – I don’t have time to get bored. It’s not easy getting 20,000 steps every day. If I start getting bored all the time it’s a sign my goal is too low.
I finished shoveling the snow that night and went back in the house feeling like a part of my daily purpose was lost. The next morning I stopped at the store on the way home from work and bought a new Fitbit. It was pink. I wanted to easily see it should I ever drop it again.
I’m a better person when I’m moving more and sitting less. Having a daily step goal is the thing that makes that happen. It’s not an exaggeration to say these goals are changing my life. I believe the same thing can happen to you. But, what should your step goal be? That’s a topic for next week.
One more thing.
Months after that snowy night, as I was returning from an early spring walk I noticed something on the edge of the road several yards from the end of my driveway. It was slightly crushed, having been run over, but still recognizable. It was Zip.
Weird, but it felt like finding an old friend.
30 DAY FITNESS CHALLENGE
If you struggle with making fitness stick you can change that today. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge will help you begin building a fitness habit that creates fitness momentum which eventually leads to fitness transformation.
Walking is fitness hiding in plain sight. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge will help you set the perfect Fitbit goal for you. The Challenge includes a contract you can make with yourself. That might sound cheesy, but having a signed piece of paper is a powerful motivator on those days when you just don’t feel like it.
Every day you reach your Fitbit goal is a win. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge includes a Win Tracker to celebrate your progress every day!
Best of all…The 30 Day Fitness Challenge is free!!
If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR. This is the Fitbit I use to track my 20,000 steps a day. The Inspire HR also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.
(By the way…if you use the link above to but a Fitbit Inspire HR this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)
Lastly, this blog is designed to help you embrace walking as a fitness activity. It’s sustainable, flexible, effective, and fun. Every week I post new articles with stories and helpful suggestions to Win at Fitness.
If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above on your computer) you’ll receive an email with a link to each new blog post.
[…] Keep trying things till you find one you enjoy enough to stick with. I will always recommend walking and step goals. It’s easy to start with lots of different ways to make it challenging and fun moving forward. I recently posted an article listing nine ways walking has changed my life. You can read that HERE. […]
[…] But, none of that matters. Walking for fitness is working. I had two physicals this year and both came back strong. But, it’s not just the physical benefits. There are nine ways my step goals have changed my life in ways that running never did. I wrote about those and you can read that entire article HERE. […]
I want to set a walking goal to improve my physical health.
Hi Lourdes. I’m posting an article on Wednesday that will walk (pardon the pun) you through exactly how to set a step goal that will help you gain forward momentum to improve your physical health. Thanks for your comment. If you haven’t already hit the FOLLOW button I would suggest doing that and you’ll get an email notifying you the moment the article is posted. It’s actually the first part of a five-part series that will help you win at fitness by walking.
How do you get 20000 steps a day? What does a typical day look like. I’ve been walking since 2014 and started at 10k per day and each year progressing. I reached the 12k per day and with my schedule sometimes it’s 10 mins to midnight stretching to get to the 12k. This year I want to increase to 13k and I know where there’s will there’s a way. But hoping for a hint to better manage it. I’m called obsessive by family now. 20k seems so far away?
Hi Tammy. First off…way to go with the 12k steps every day. That’s 3x the average. I also like your goal to stretch that to 13k this year. You’re doing it right by slowly, but consistently, adding to your total. Clearly, you have made this a part of your life. I’ve heard the “obsessive” comment too.
You’re also right about “where there’s a will there’s a way”. That’s really what has done it for me. I’m committed to reaching my daily goal and I find a way every day to make that happen. I wrote a little more about that in recent blog post titled 11 Ways to get More Steps Today. I hope that will help you!
[…] This Win at Fitness plan uses walking as your foundational fitness activity. Obviously, there are lots of ways you can reach a fitness goal, but I’m convinced walking is one of the best. (You can read about 9 ways walking for fitness has changed my life HERE.) […]
[…] For me the answer is an easy yes. There are few things I’ve ever owned that spark as much joy as my Fitbit. I got my first one six years ago and it has changed my life. (I won’t go into detail about that now, but you can read about it HERE) […]
[…] walking also helps me to deal with stress. When I wrote about the 9 Ways a Step Goal Can Change Your Life, Ava, was early in her battle with breast cancer and I was feeling that. I took lots of long walks […]