At 12:11pm my Fitbit vibrated. I looked down in time to see the little animated bird flying through fireworks indicating I had reached my goal of 20,000 steps for the day. It also meant I had just crossed the finish line of this 20k One Year Step Challenge.
The Challenge was to reach at least 20,000 steps every day for a year with no breaks. It started on September 1, 2018 and ended just after noon on August 31, 2019.
Ava and I were in Corolla, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I was walking on the beach when I hit 20,000 on the final day of this year long Challenge.
This was not the plan. That’s not where I expected to be when I finished this thing.
This past year has been difficult, especially for my wife. She found a lump two days before I publicly announced the 20k One Year Step Challenge. She waited four days to tell me because she didn’t want me worried. When I found out I thought about ending the Challenge before it even started.
Ava’s first scan was the day she told me. The lump did not look harmless. What followed was more tests, four biopsies, one surgery, 21 radiation treatments and lots of doctor’s appointments in between.
While, I didn’t expect a cancer journey when I originally considered this 20k Challenge, I did expect difficulties. I knew there would be some 15 hour days at work during our two week-long fundraisers. I also expected days when I wouldn’t feel great or the weather wasn’t great. Those were expected.
Assuming, I didn’t get sick or injured along the way, I expected to cross the finish line of this Challenge at home…maybe cutting grass since August 31 fell on a Saturday. That would be appropriate, I thought.
In June, Ava and I went on vacation to the Outer Banks. We both needed a break, but it was not to be.
Several months earlier, Ava’s mom was also diagnosed with cancer. While we were on vacation Ava was on the phone several times a day arranging care and making decisions for her mom. We left the vacation early because her mom’s condition declined pretty fast. We did not expect that.
As we were driving away, we decided to try a second vacation, if possible, later in the summer. Ava’s mom died five days after we got home and so we scheduled that second beach vacation in late August…a vacation that would end on August 31.
That meant I’d finish this 20k Challenge on the day we drove home from North Carolina. Six hours in the car makes getting 20,000 steps more challenging, but not impossible. I’d have to be even more intentional about getting all those steps. I was getting pretty good at that, so this new ending felt even more appropriate than reaching the finish line while cutting grass.
That all changed on August 28.
In the middle of our second vacation we were given the opportunity to extend our beach week an extra two days. We jumped on that! Can I tell you how much the vacation dynamic changed instantly? Instead of having only two full days remaining, we now had four. It was glorious!
And, instead of figuring out how to walk a lot on a day we would be in the car for six hours I now had a wide open day to reach the end of this 20k One Year Step Challenge walking on the beach…my happy place.
And, that’s where the Challenge ended…on a warm day in Corolla under a clear blue sky and light breeze. Not how I expected to cross the finish line, but perfectly appropriate.
Now that the 20k One Year Step Challenge is over people are asking, “What’s next?” They actually started asking months ago. Even Ava asked.
Goal: 20,000 Steps was never my first choice of the name for this blog. But, it matched the 20K Challenge and so I decided to go with it. But, there are two significant problems with this name.
- It was NEVER my intention to suggest 20,000 steps should be everybody’s goal. This was my goal. The name makes it feel like 20k should be your goal too. It shouldn’t. Your goal should be carefully considered and uniquely yours. Your goal should also be dynamic…changing as you grow and the seasons of your life shift.
- Even worse…the word ONLY kept appearing in the comments and emails I received from readers. As in…”my goal is ONLY 7,000 steps a day, or ONLY 9,000 steps a day. It saddened me that my goal of 20k made anyone feel like their goal wasn’t worthy. That’s so NOT TRUE. We are all at different places on this fitness journey and if you have a goal…no matter the number…it’s a worthy pursuit. I’m so sorry if my goal made yours feel “less than”.
So what’s next?
Starting next week, this blog will have a new name…a better name. You’re the real hero of your fitness journey and the new name will reflect that.
If your interest has only been my year long 20k Challenge, thank you for reading and for your encouragement.
If this weekly blog has been helping you with your fitness journey, I invite you to keep reading. While the name will be changing, the content won’t. You’ll still get stories, motivation, and practical suggestions to help you Win at Fitness one step at a time. Walking really is THE BEST sustainable fitness activity you can choose. I want this blog to remain an encouragement for you!
If you’re reading this blog for the first time and want encouragement and suggestions on how walking can transform your fitness journey I invite you to follow along. Just click FOLLOW (below if you’re reading on your phone…to the right and above if on a computer) and you’ll get an email as soon as each new weekly article is published. You can also check out the archive of over 100 articles HERE.
I’m not dumb. I know when folks ask, “What’s next?” they aren’t wondering about the blog. They want to know what I will do now that the 20k Challenge is over.
When my Fitbit vibrated at 12:11p on August 31 I stopped. I slowly spun around taking in the beauty of where I was and offered a prayer of thanks. I’m grateful to God for the opportunity and good health to reach my goal every day for a full year. I also thanked Him for those who were motivated to start their own fitness journey along the way.
I savored the moment then turned around and walked back to my beach chair. I sat down and watched the waves gently rolling in. I enjoyed the pelicans and seagulls flying by. I wondered what country was beyond the horizon. Where would I land if got in a boat and sailed in a straight line?
But, again, I’m not dumb. That’s also not what Ava and everyone else who asked the question, “What’s next?” wanted to know. They want to know what’s my next goal?
Is that also what you want to know? I’m truly humbled if that matters to you. What is my next goal?
I think you’ve already seen that movie. That’ll get boring really fast, if it isn’t already. The far more interesting question is…
…what’s YOUR next goal?
If you struggle with motivation to stick with fitness this blog will help. Every week you’ll get a new article with stories, motivation and practical suggestions to help you start a fitness journey that builds momentum and never stops. If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone and to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get an email with a link to each motivating article the moment it’s published.