UPDATE: My streak ended on day 1,043: The streak is dead; long live the streak.
I love a good streak.
I am on day 232 of walking at least 10,000 steps a day. Now, I know this is a little feat since it’s the minimum recommendation for movement in a day, but it has taken a lot of effort to be this consistent.
I have felt myself going through four distinct phases in adopting this habit.
- Enthusiastic Beginner. I started last fall, walking around my neighborhood when the weather was nice. There was enough daylight after dinner to take a pleasant stroll. I listened to new music podcasts, and the miles just flew by. It was only when it was raining hard that I had to get creative and do things like walk at the mall before dinner, after ordering, and after dinner to get the steps in.
- Struggling Beginner. The days grew short and cold. It was hard to always get the steps in. I don’t have sidewalks in my area, and I tried walking the narrow, snow-filled roads only a few times before I decided that was too dangerous. We were having our basement done with plans to get a treadmill, and I just had to hang in there. There were delays, and delays, and delays. These were the dark days of keeping my streak alive.
- Intermediate Habit Former. Once I hit 100 days in a row, I told myself I wouldn’t obsess about whether I got 10,000 steps or not on a particular day because it’s an arbitrary goal that doesn’t really matter. Yeah, that didn’t really happen. I wanted the steps, and I did anything to get them. I took laps around my living room/kitchen/dining room circuit while my family was watching TV, which meant that about every eight seconds I walked in front of them. Sorry! On the day of a road trip down to D.C. after work, I walked the streets in clogs during my lunch hour and then had to walk a Virginian parking lot during a dinner break on the road. On a bitterly cold and windy night, we rushed down to New Haven to meet people when I still needed another mile or so, and I ventured out of the restaurant on my own for a chilly jaunt.
- Habitual Walker. Once the treadmill was up and running and the habit was in place, walking just became a regular part of my day. Some days I get up a little early, some days I walk before dinner, and some days I finish up before bed. It just feels right to get at least that much activity in every day, and I love a good walk to clear my head after a stressful day.
I keep a pedometer in my pocket, and the common advice that’s shared all the time really is true. Tips like taking the stairs, parking farther away from the store, and getting up from the computer periodically all add up. I have a pretty sedentary job, so I usually only have about two miles in at the end of a school day. That leaves about three miles to get in on the treadmill or during a walk after school.
I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of a person (About), so I worried that if I ended the streak, I would instantly become a couch potato again. Now, though, I think the habit is well ingrained. One day my streak will inevitably have to end, and the next day will be day number one.
#32. 101 things in 1001 days. Walk 10,000 steps a day for an average of six days a week.