In a bid to try and up my fitness while at the same time hopefully raising some money for a good cause, I decided to sign up for the Walk All Over Cancer challenge, run by Cancer Research UK.
This involves walking 10,000 steps a day for the whole of June. And, having had a Fitbit for a couple of years now, I know how difficult this is going to be, especially on the days I’m working. If it’s a day that I go into the office I drive and so walk 10 steps to my car and then about 50 steps from the car park to the office! And if I’m working from home and Jon’s around to do the school run and walk the dogs, I can easily find the furthest I walk is to the kitchen and back! In fact, on the days I’m working I am lucky if I hit 4,000 steps, which is pretty pathetic!
I’ve tried on numerous occasions to consistently hit 10,000 steps a day but have always failed after a few days, citing the usual excuses of being too busy with work or too tired. I decided though that to hit 10,000 steps a day I need to get into the habit of walking more. By creating a habit of, say walking the dogs before work, it will hopefully become second nature, rather than something I have to think about.
But I have also previously tried to create new habits like this and failed. So I thought I’d do some research (and indulge my love of self-help books!) and have started reading Gretchen Rubin’s book about mastering habits, Better Than Before. In this book, Gretchen explains that people tend to fall into four different categories, namely “Obligers”, “Upholders”, “Questioners” and “Rebels” and identifying which one you are can help you formulate the best strategy to create, and stick to, your desired habits.
Apparently I am an “Obliger”, which basically seems to mean that I am more motivated by accountability to others, rather than to myself. So, for example, I’m much more likely to stick with going to the gym if I go with a friend as I wouldn’t want to let them down. However, I’m much less motivated to go simply because I promised myself I would.
I’ve not finished reading it yet but so far have found it really interesting and am hoping this will help me with my 10,000 steps a day habit.
Anyway, the reason for telling you about the book is that, hopefully, by needing to create the habit of walking to raise money for a good cause, I will be much more motivated to stick with it than if I decided to do it just to get fit.
Also, by blogging about it, I’m effectively holding myself accountable to anyone who reads this (hopefully not just me as that kind of defeats the purpose!) My plan is to chart my progress and so I’d much rather be able to write about how I met my 10,000 steps a day than having to list all my excuses as to why something else got in the way.
But how am I actually going to manage my 10,000 steps a day? My current game plan is to:
- get up earlier and take the dogs out before leaving / starting work. This involves creating a habit of getting out of bed earlier and heading straight out for a walk.
- catch the train to work more as this adds a couple of thousand steps walking to the station and then to the office. This also involves getting into the habit of getting up earlier as the train won’t wait for me like my car does!
- walk the kids to school more often – again an earlier start required.
- go for a walk each lunchtime – I need to get into the habit of taking some time out at lunchtime, rather than sitting eating at my desk.
- go a walk in the evening now that they are lighter (admittedly this is only likely to happen if I am struggling for steps or it involves a stop in the pub!)
- as a last resort, pace around the lounge a few times before bed while watching TV!
And, as I don’t like to hassle people for sponsorship, I’m going to sponsor myself on a daily basis – so the more days I hit my goal, the more money I will raise. Another incentive to get me out there walking.
Also, I have friends who are also attempting this challenge and so hope we can spur each other on and drag one another out for an evening walk when one of us is still only on 4,000 steps at tea time! Again, I suspect a stop at the local pub will be an added incentive!
Finally, good luck to anyone else out there doing the challenge – and please let me know any strategies you have for hitting that magic number!