Daily goals: Battling resistance
I have a few goals that I want to keep daily. One is walking at least 10,000 steps, or about 5 miles. Yesterday I was only at about 3500 steps by 5:30pm and the battle began. And I was losing. And I really had no excuses why I should not be able to get the remaining 6500 steps in.
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to achieve the goal of walking at least 10,000 steps. So I began going through the checklist to see what could be the source of resistance keeping me from completing my goal.
Here’s the typical advice (that wasn’t working):
Make it measurable. Seeing the numbers will compel you to close the gap and reach the 10,000 mark!
- I have a Fitbit, which I love, and is why I knew I was falling short in the first place. I began telling myself I would boost my weekly average on another day, just not today.
Make it achievable.
- I only had 6500 steps left. At a moderate intensity of 100 steps per minute, I was looking at an hour of walking. If I walked faster, I could accomplish this in just over 45 minutes. Easy.
Just get out and move. Once you do, you’ll find it easy to reach your goal.
- Fine – except I had started my walk and within 300 steps began battling the inner dialogue with myself about just turning around and going home.
Get a dog. They need daily exercise. They will motivate you.
- I have a dog. My cute little energetic walk/run/hike partner was with me. We go out everyday. But, he doesn’t need 10,000 steps daily like I do. Cesar Milan says just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough. Segundo had done his business. A little tug of war at home will suffice.
Make the time.
- I had the time. It was only 5:30pm.
Find a nice setting, like a park or a lake.
- I had reached the park and Lake Washington is 0.7 miles from my house and is in view well before that.
Where is the resistance coming from?
I did a check in with myself.
- Physically I felt fine. I had energy and wasn’t sore from crossfit. I wasn’t sick.
- Just because I had done crossfit, this goal stands in a category of its own.
- The weather was pleasant. No rain to blame this time.
- Desire? Yes, I desire to meet my goal. But apparently desire for the expected outcome of health does not always motivate enough to result in action.
The battle was in my mind. I had no excuses.
Here’s how I won the battle in my mind and achieved my goal:
1. Awareness of where the battle was taking place.
I had to understand what I was fighting up against this time. Going through a check list and listening to my body, mind, and emotions helped me identify where I needed to focus. Just becoming aware that I had no excuses but needed to win in my mind helped me find a plan to win.
2. Keep moving regardless. One step at a time. Don’t turn around.
I knew turning around would be giving up. I decided to keep battling and see if I could win since there was no harm or danger.
3. Focus on the goal and your why.
I want to be healthy, strong, and able to live a long life serving others while enjoying the journey. There’s lot’s of research around the specific 10,000 steps goal as a life long habit that will help me reach that goal.
Sometimes focusing on the goal is quite simple and literal. Focus for much of the walk was simply on walking itself. That is, nothing else but one foot in front of the other. Focus on the next step.
4. Visualize what it takes to reach the goal.
I have a pretty good sense of the route I need to take to complete 6500 steps. So I visualized myself continuing through the park, completing the loop, making my way through the neighborhood, and then back home.
5. Change your self talk.
I began telling myself “you can do this”. “Stay focused”. “Just keep moving”. And then I reminded myself of words that describe me (or I want to describe me.) Healthy, disciplined, focused.
6. Positive distraction like listening to a podcast.
I had started with one podcast and was way to distracted by my inner dialogue about not wanting to be on this walk. So I asked myself, which podcast would feel fun and indulgent? For me it was listening to Vinnie Tortorich, America’s Angriest Trainer. I switched to that one and it immediately helped distract and motivate me.
7. Knock it out. Git ‘er done!
I kept walking, and then I sped up to a jog, just to accumulate more steps faster. Then I started walking again. Then a ten second jog.
When I got home I realized I needed 983 more steps. So I took out the trash. By the time I was ready for bed I needed 237 more steps. So I walked from one end to the other of my tiny condo. Back and forth until I was solidly beyond the 10,000 mark.
Yes! Goal achieved! I won! Another day on the books of success. Now that is motivation.
Which is good, because today, I started at 0 steps again. I have been up and working and at 11:53am, I confess I have 9724 steps to go. Which brings me to the final way to win the battle in the mind.
8. Remember the success you have had. Celebrate it.
Let moments of achieving goals remind you that you can do what you set your mind to. Yesterday’s success will motivate today’s win. While I don’t win the battle every time, I want to focus on the times that I do and what I did to get there.
What battle of the mind are you facing?
You can do what it takes to win. Now focus. Go and git ‘er done!