How Nancy Made Fitness Stick in 2019

This wasn’t Nancy’s first attempt at fitness. But, it’s the first one that really stuck. Nancy says in the past she has focused on her long-term goal and a setback would throw her off track. And, she would quit. Another fitness fail.

Nancy got a Fitbit for Christmas in 2017. She says it helped her move more, but she didn’t challenge herself with a daily goal so the results were minimal. That changed a year later.

Nancy became a grandmother in June 2018…a little boy. She wants to be the fun grandparent who can roll around on the floor or run around with their grandchildren.

Nancy recognized for that to happen she needed to get moving even more! Nancy’s biggest challenge was her desk job. So, on January 1, 2019 she challenged herself with a daily goal of 10,000 steps.

Sadly, most goals, including New Year’s Resolutions, end in failure. Research indicates that failure rate could be as high as 92%! The simple explanation is that most goals are fueled by emotion which rarely lasts for more than a couple weeks.

Additionally, most fitness goals are WAY TOO BIG to start. Once the emotions are gone it all just feels overwhelming. That’s the problem with 10,000 steps as a daily target. It’s more than double what the average American gets every day. But, 10,000 is the number thrown out there as the ideal so it’s the one Nancy grabbed a hold of.

Before January 1, 2019 Nancy’s daily average was between 3,000 and 5,000 steps. In other words, Nancy DOUBLED how much she was moving every day. And, to make it even more difficult, Nancy’s goal was to reach 10k every day for a full year with no days off.

Oh…and one more thing. When Nancy decided to double how many steps she was getting each day, she wasn’t exactly sure how she was going to pull this off.

Nancy lives in Maryland and listens to 95.1 SHINE-FM, the radio station where I’m part of the morning team. On January 17 I mentioned that if you have a New Year’s Resolution and you’re still on that journey your chances of success increase from 8% on January 1st to 40% on January 17th. Nancy heard that and sent me a message saying she wanted to be part of the group that makes it to the finish line.

And it looks like she will!!

Nancy is still going. Since January 1st she has reached 10,000 steps without missing a SINGLE DAY. She quickly figured out how to reach her goal every day even though her job requires a lot of sitting.

Nancy added a one mile walk each morning. And, I love how she does this…she gets to work early and walks outside, around the grounds, where her office is located. And, she does this even when the weather sucks.

Nancy also gets an hour for lunch and quickly realized she doesn’t need a full 60 minutes to eat so she has added in another walk before returning to her desk. And, then Nancy enjoys a final evening walk with her husband around the neighborhood.

The most challenging days for Nancy are when she flies to Las Vegas to see her grandson. Those are five hour flights so she plans ahead and gets her steps before she even boards the plane.

How did Nancy make it when few others do? How did she join the Elite 8% who reach their goal? I know, Nancy still has the rest of this month to go, but I have no doubt, and neither does she, that she will make it!

Nancy says in the past she would only look at her long-term fitness goal and she approached that with an “all or nothing” mentality. That may sound like a winning formula, but it’s not.

All or nothing usually describes how emotionally invested you are. Once those emotions start fading it doesn’t take much to knock you off course.

That’s what used to happen with Nancy. She says all it took was a setback and she would quit. When that emotional fuel is gone, and it feels like there’s no progress, a setback raises the question, “Why am I doing this?” If all you have is how you feel about it, and you’re not feeling pretty good, you’re done.

With Nancy’s 10k One Year Step Challenge she changed her perspective. Instead of looking at the long term goal she instead focused on her daily goal. She understood that what she was really doing was building a fitness chain. Each day she reached 10,000 steps added another link to that chain.

And, just as important, reaching her daily goal represented a daily win worth celebrating. Even when it felt like the fitness results weren’t happening fast enough, Nancy remained committed to the process and knew those results would eventually come.

And, they have. Nancy has more energy and fitness momentum!

We’re coming up on another New Year. Maybe you’re thinking about things in your life you’d like to change. And, maybe fitness and health are on your list. The possibility of fitness transformation can be exciting. That’s why so many of us make this a big goal.

The challenge is the excitement of that future transformation fades long before you reach the transformation itself. In other words, you’re working hard and feeling no results as your emotions are fading. That’s a clear recipe for giving up.

Nancy realized there would be no fitness transformation until she established fitness momentum. And, the momentum only happens after she created a fitness habit. She figured out where there was time in her day to get 10,000 steps. On those days when her schedule makes reaching her goal more challenging, she becomes even more intentional.

And, each day Nancy reaches 10,000 steps she adds another link to her growing fitness chain which adds more fuel to her fitness momentum. And, that momentum will carry Nancy into 2020 where she is considering more even more changes.


If you don’t have a daily step goal, I want to challenge you to give it a try and create a fitness habit. I call it The 30 Day Fitness Challenge. This free guide will walk you through how to get started. It’s very easy.

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.


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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.

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  1. Thanks for sharing my story Dave, but I couldn’t have done it without you sharing your journey and this blog. You provided me with tools to help change my thinking and keep me motivated. You have been a true inspiration. The advice in your blogs have helped me build a strong fitness foundation that I can now build on. You made it clear that my goals, didn’t have to be the same as your goals, but your tools could still apply and be helpful. Three things you wrote about that especially helped me were: 1. your motto of “Start Small. Think Long,” 2. build a fitness chain and 3. be intentional. Thanks to you I have learned new ways to keep my goals. I may be just 28 days away from completing my 365 day, 10,000 steps a day, challenge, but more importantly, I realize this challenge has created a new lifestyle and strong habit and foundation for going forward. Something I can build on in 2020.

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories and passing along such great advice. Advice that works not only for fitness, but for any goal someone sets.

    Have a wonderful, blessed holiday season. ~ Nancy

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