I’ve walked at least 20,000 steps every day since March 21, 2018. That’s ten miles a day.
On January 1, millions of people began a brand new journey towards fitness. On March 1, millions of people will no longer be on that journey.
On January 1, I walked 20,000 steps. On March 1, I will walk 20,000 steps. Will this happen because I’m better than others? Not a chance! Will this happen because I’m stronger. Nope! Will it happen because I have more discipline? Hah! That’s a laugher!!
The reason is momentum. Fitness momentum.
Have you ever tried pushing a flywheel? A flywheel is a heavy wheel that takes a lot of energy to get started. Those early pushes feel like you’re getting nowhere. But, if you don’t give up and keep pushing, the wheel begins to pick up momentum. As the wheel gains speed it takes less and less energy to keep it going.
That’s the beauty of fitness momentum. Once you have it, you expend far less emotional energy to keep it going. And, therein lies the reason most fitness journeys end way too early. It’s not about the physical effort, but the emotional effort.
The new year offers an empty canvas. It’s an invitation to start over and pursue change. The idea of personal transformation is powerful. That emotional fuel is what drives many fitness goals. Sadly, it’s not sustainable.
Research indicates more than 92% of all goals are abandoned before the finish line. Even more striking is that most goals don’t last past Day 17. I’ve lived this pattern.
I found a gym membership that was super cheap and and didn’t require a long-term commitment. This probably should have been my first clue, but I was so excited! I mapped out my weekly gym schedule. The plan was perfect.
Until it wasn’t.
My emotional fuel lasted about a week. What I felt after that was the hassle of getting to the gym. It was winter so the weather became an issue. Snow and ice in the forecast became an excuse. But, even more damaging to my quest was the realization that the gap between where my fitness was and where I wanted to be was large.
My gym plan barely lasted two weeks. There were sporadic visits for a few months, but they were meager efforts to keep my fitness shame away. Finally, I just gave up. I kept paying the monthly gym fee for a couple years, just in case…
Sadly, this isn’t my only fitness fail. It wasn’t until I realized I was doing January all wrong. My goal on January 1 should not be fitness transformation. That’s way too far in the future. My goal really needed to be immediate and consistent wins. And, they could not require so much effort that they’re not worth it.
I didn’t start walking 20,000 steps the day I got my Fitbit. Far from it. It took a while to build that momentum.
I started small.
Most of us start fitness way too big and we simply can’t cash the check our emotions wrote at the start. The goal in January shouldn’t even be fitness. The goal should be to create a fitness habit. It’s like building a chain one link at a time.
Walking for fitness is a perfect way to start, or restart, a fitness journey. Walking is sustainable, flexible, effective, and FUN! Walking is fitness hiding in plain sight.
The 30 Day Fitness Challenge is a simple, yet powerful, way to create a fitness habit. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge is designed to help you start small to reach your fitness goal every day. And, every day you reach that goal moves you even closer to fitness momentum.
To optimize The 30 Day Fitness Challenge you’ll need a step tracker. I recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR. While it’s not cheap, it’s less than a few months at the gym. 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)
Of course, you could walk and get the same fitness benefits without a step tracker. But, with a Fitbit you start seeing fitness as an all-day thing and not simply those 30 minutes when you’re “taking a walk.” It was a complete game changer when I got my first Fitbit.
After you get your Fitbit (or if you already have one) you need to figure out how many steps you walk, on average, right now. Wear your Fitbit for seven days and calculate your daily average.
It’s important NOT to do extra stuff during these seven days to boost that average. It’s not a competition. If you’re below 10,000 steps that’s not only OK, but expected. The average American walks less than 4,000 steps a day.
Add 500 steps to your seven day average and this will be your goal for The 30 Day Fitness Challenge. Just so you’re prepared…some days will be easy and some will require extra effort. You’ll want both. What you don’t want is a goal that requires a lot of effort EVERY day.
The next step might sound cheesy, but it’s actually very effective. Make a commitment to reach your daily goal. Here’s the cheesy part…sign a contract with yourself. You may have a couple days where that signed document is the difference between reaching your goal or not reaching it.
Lastly, you want to track your daily steps. Every day you reach your goal is a WIN! The bigger objective is to build a chain of 30 straight wins as you are creating your fitness habit. Again, the act of writing down your progress might be the extra motivator needed on days that feel harder.
This guide to The 30 Day Fitness Challenge Plan includes both a contract and 30 Day Win Tracker. It’s totally free and you can get yours here.
By the way…if you don’t see an email from Walking is Fitness check your spam filter.
The first 30 days are the most critical for any goal!
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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Do you wear the Fitbit constantly and, if so, how do you keep it from counting as steps your arm movements when you’re standing still? For instance, mine counts as steps the arm movements I make when cooking, blow drying my hair, etc. Thank you. And, Inso enjoy the blog & the helpful information.
Hi Terry. I do wear my Fitbit all the time. Like you, I don’t want steps counted that aren’t really steps. I haven’t had that issue with arm movements. If I do, it’s so minimal that I haven’t noticed. I use the Fitbit Inspire HR, by the way. Love it! Thanks for ready the blog and for your question.
I’ve had the same problem with Fitbit and other trackers worn on the arm. However, I’ve found that the Fitbit Zip does track steps accurately. It attaches somewhere on your clothing (pocket, underwear, bra, etc.) and truly only tracks your steps rather than other movements. The Zip costs $60 but isn’t well advertised, however.
Hi Gloria, I have a friend who leads worship at her church. She plays guitar and gets a bunch of “steps” doing that. Clearly, it happens, but it hasn’t been my experience…at least not in a noticeable way. Or…maybe I’m just not very demonstrative and don’t move my arms much when I’m not walking. My first Fitbit was a Zip and I loved it. I prefer the Inspire, but the Zip was great. Fitbit no longer has it on their website and hasn’t for awhile. Thanks for reading the blog!
Thank You!! I guess getting started will be the challenge for me. I am currently working in construction as a driver. Differently not much in walking. Long days during warmer weather months, therefore, being exhausted is normal (12 – 14 hours days). Early morning are out during the day perhaps a hundred or so… Evening and night?? Hmmm…
*** Perhaps, a change in career?????
Hi GT. Having a job that REQUIRES more sitting does make it more challenging, but not impossible. The focus of the 30 Day New Year Fitness Challenge is starting where you are and adding a few more steps. Most of us start way too big and that’s why we fail. Start small. Think long. Increase gradually. You’d probably surprise yourself with where you can eventually get…even without a job change. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!
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