I’ve done it. For 31 days, I have taken more than 10,000 steps. I’ve done this to raise money for a cause that’s really important to me, Cancer Research UK, but also for myself. By being more active, I’m reducing my chances of getting cancer, lifting my mood and exercising my heart. My physical and mental health is benefitting from this activity. Why wasn’t I doing it before?
I’ve written previously about how sport (and by extension, exercise and activity) has always felt, for me, like something for other people. As a child I was always last in races, never strong, and preferred bookish and crafty activities to running about. I have a pretty fixed mindset when it comes to sport and exercise. I can’t do it. That’s not me. This is something I am trying to work on. It doesn’t matter anymore if I’m the slowest. What matters is that I’m doing SOMETHING. I don’t have to be good at it. I just have to enjoy it.
It’s true that the guilt of missing the target made me take the extra effort to walk a bit more, even on days when I was tired and it was dark and/or rainy. Also, having my friend undertaking the same challenge has helped. I’ve wanted to keep going to keep her going, and her keeping going has kept me going.
So, how do I keep up some activity now that my challenge is over? I’ve been thinking about the effect the target has had, and have decided that I can keep on using targets to motivate myself, but can be a little more flexible with them. I’d like to hit 10,000 at least 4/7 days. That seems like a reasonable, achievable target. When my general fitness is better, I aim to dust off my bike and start doing some cycling. This should hopefully coincide with warmer weather, too, although you never can be too sure in Wales.
Hitting 10,000 steps happened before 2pm today and I’m very pleasantly surprised and pleased by this. I want to end on a high note, so it will be interesting to see what my final set total is by the end of the day.
It’s very easy to use these physical steps as a metaphor for self-care. Lots of little things add up to one big achievement, and to more positives. I need to keep stepping along, and seeing what awaits along the path.