Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
You may be surprised to know that I did NOT take a single walk this weekend. In fact, my goal for yesterday, Mother’s Day, was to NOT get out of my PJs! And NOT feel guilty about it! Proud to say I accomplished the first part, but I admit there was a little guilt about being unproductive. (Good for you, though, because it inspired me to write this blog.)
Because I’m a walking coach, and I’m always encouraging others to walk more, many people think that I take long walks EVERY DAY. Nope! I am far from perfect, and in fact, it’s not about being perfect. None of us are ever going to be perfect. So, let’s stop beating ourselves up over it! And instead, let’s celebrate every little step we take in the right direction!
Progress, not perfection is what we should be focusing on. And remember, if you were to graph your progress, it doesn’t look like a straight, diagonal line going higher and higher (or lower and lower, depending upon your goal). There are going to be ups and downs. Progress is looking at the big picture over time and seeing positive movement in the right direction.
My philosophy for exercise (and nutrition) is MODERATION! So, this weekend, I was pretty much a sloth (one of my daughter’s favorite animals), barely covering a mile. But last month, I logged about 18 miles in one day because I walked a half marathon.
But those are the extremes.
More typically, I log 4 to 5 miles throughout an average day. But I go out for an exercise walk only about three times a week, averaging about 3 miles in about 45 minutes each time, according to my MapMyWalk log. That’s up from averaging two 30-minute walks a week back in 2015 and 2016.
Progress! That’s what I’m talking about!
And here’s the thing about progress, seeing those improvements can motivate you to do more. (It’s been a while since I’d looked at my data, but now I’m feeling inspired to step up my routine!) In order to see the progress, though, you need to know where you are starting from and then track what you are doing.
You can do that with…
- pen and paper,
- an Excel spreadsheet,
- an app like MapMyWalk,
- an activity monitor like FitBit,
- or a combination.
And taking a big picture look at what you’re doing puts dips or missteps like lounging around all weekend (or eating a slice a cake) into perspective. The sooner you get back on track the less effect any indiscretion has on your progress toward achieving your goals, whether they are exercise, diet, or other healthy lifestyle changes that you are trying to make.
Keep taking those steps forward toward a healthier, happier life and don’t let the occasional step backward trip you up!