Day 46: Challenges

One of the many challenges of trying to walk 15,000 steps a day is the initial streak hurdle. When you’ve only hit your step goal for one, two, or three consecutive days, it’s easy to blow it off and start over again if you’re too tired or cranky. You haven’t gotten very far just yet, so no big deal right?

That’s the challenge I’m facing right now. I’m exhausted and I want to go to bed. My step goal seems out of reach since I’m only at 5,842 steps for the day. Hitting 15,000 would require over an hour and a half’s worth of living room laps, and frankly, it just doesn’t seem worth it right at this moment.  I’m so tired! Isn’t getting a good night’s rest more important?

When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter what excuse I come up with or how I justify it. What matters is what I choose to do or not do, and the only person it really matters to is me, right? Why all the drama? Sometimes going to sleep is the right answer. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself tonight.

Days 2, 3, & 4: Fail so soon?

I managed to push through and hit my goal on Tuesday, but yesterday was a fail. I lost track of time and ended the day almost 2,000 steps short. I can’t say I’m doing much better today either. It’s already past 8:00 pm and I’m not even at 5,000 steps yet.

I’m finding it a lot harder to hit my step goal this time around. I’m not as motivated as a I was the first time. I’m not sure if that’s because I haven’t slept much this week, or if I’ve just lost my “why.”

I know why I want to do this. I can still remember how much better I felt a month into this challenge. It got me to my lowest weigh in years and helped me continue to lose inches off my jiggly bits. But knowing why you should do something, and why you want to do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll actually do it. At least, that’s how it is for me.

I need to find something else; something that’ll really get my motivation fire going. And, although I should probably feel embarrassed to admit this, in the past, my most successful motivators have been pretty shallow, and not always so nice. You know, like showing off to a guy I liked, making an ex feel regretful, making a girl I didn’t like feel jealous, and most recently (during my first attempt at the challenge), buying some cute new clothes I feel pretty in.

Dumb and shallow? Sure. But effective; at least in the short term. The problem I’m facing now is that getting older sometimes means you care a lot less about, or don’t have any real use for, the first three motivators I listed. Which is a good thing right? I mean, I’m happily married and I don’t really have time to dislike people, or at least, give them any thought. And the fourth motivator, well, I sort of splurged on Black Friday, so I really can’t do any more shopping for myself for a while.

There was a time when I found running a race or doing an obstacle course thingy motivating; but I’m not really feeling those lately either. I’m out of ideas.

I can’t wait on finding the motivation to do this though. There’s no guarantee that I’ll ever really find it, so I just sort of have to do it right? Take it one day at a time? One foot in front of the other? Focus on each step and hope that at the end of the day, it adds up to 15,000 of them?

There’s this book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. I may have mentioned it in a previous post. Anywho, that’s sort of the whole premise behind it: where you end up in life is the result of all the little choices you made each and every day. You may not notice the results right away, but that nightly dessert you choose to eat could turn into a 5 lbs weight gain over the course of a couple of years. The morning walk you start taking could have the opposite effect over a long enough time. So, motivation or not, I just need to focus on doing those little things every day – consistently.

Day 76: I did it!

Day 76

I made it to the gym this morning. I didn’t want to go. I dreaded it the entire walk to the gym; but I went and I worked out. Granted, I felt weak and cranky, but I got it done.

That being said, I realized I’m not really enjoying this new workout I’m doing. I’m not sure whether to stick with it, or try something different. I won’t make any decisions about it tonight, but I will definitely give it some thought and try to come up with something tomorrow.

Regardless, I’ll stick with the program for now. My husband won’t be around in the morning, and I have to work, but I should be able to complete my scheduled high intensity interval training (HIIT) early in the am from home, before the children wake up.

Assuming I wake up on time that is. I’ve been averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night; no bueno. I’m exhausted. I need a real, full night’s sleep.

Speaking of sleep, it’s past my bedtime. Good night everyone!

Final Step Count: 18,477

Day 68: And I thought living room laps sucked

Day 67

You know what’s worse than living room laps? Walking/marching in place. Want to know how long it takes to walk 13,000 steps by walking in place? I’m guessing more than an hour, maybe more than two. I wouldn’t know though because I gave up after about half an hour.

It’s the first time I’ve ever outright given up on hitting my steps since I started this challenge. The little room in the boat was hot, the floorboards creaked, and my knees kept making strange, old-people sounds. After about 30 minutes of trying to walk in place quietly after everyone else had fallen asleep, I said screw it and went to bed.

I’m back to zero.

Final step count: 5,412

Day 68

We’re headed to the island the movie Castaway was filmed at today. It’s the third island in the picture below, from left to right.

We plan to do some hiking, so hopefully I shouldn’t have any trouble hitting my step goal. I really don’t want to make this whole “not hitting my step goal” thing a habit.

Current step total: 247

Day 58: Meal prep my way did not happen today

Day 57

I searched for recipes after publishing yesterday’s post and decided on a few. I made my grocery list and went to bed feeling motivated. I assumed today would be a productive meal prepping day…

Final step count: 20,421

Day 58

But it wasn’t. The day started out all right; I got up, took big kid to her soccer game, then came home and went grocery shopping. I didn’t get all the things I needed to do the prep I had planned, but I did get the ingredients for pumpkin chocolate chip protein muffins and oatmeal chocolate chip protein cookies.

I was pumped to make my muffins and cookies. They were an impulse decision, but a good one. I’ve been struggling with this protein thing because I’d rather eat cookies right? So why not make some that have protein in them?

Unfortunately, life with kids happened, and I lost my temper. I acted childishly. I got cranky and threw my own little tantrum. The half mixed muffin batter is currently sitting in my fridge, and at this point, I’m considering just tossing it. The worst part is, I skipped my workout today and now I regret it. I feel like if I’d gone to the gym, I would have been able to shake off this mood. At this point, it’s too late in the day to go without it affecting my sleep.

I’m trying to reframe it as a blessing in disguise. I’ve been sore since I started working out consistently, so an extra day of rest might not be such a bad thing, right? Maybe if I tell myself that enough times I’ll start to believe it.

I’m sure after a good night’s rest, I’ll feel better in the morning. I just need to keep moving forward. It hasn’t been all bad; despite my bad mood, I haven’t gone over my calories for the day.

Speaking of moving forward though, I need to start walking some living room laps. I didn’t realize I was so far behind on my steps for the day. Ugh.

Current step count: 5,523

Day 34: I need a nap.

Day 33

So I didn’t stay under my calorie goal yesterday, but I didn’t blow it by a whole lot either. I consider that an accomplishment considering it was our weekly dinner with friends last night. I managed to “just say no” to cocktails and did a pretty good job of paying attention to my portion sizes.

Final step count: 15,153

Day 34

Our morning routine has changed. My husband has to leave for work earlier, so I have to get to the gym earlier if I want to get a workout in before work. It was hard enough getting up at 5:30 am most days; now I have to get up at 4:30 am. It sucks, but you’ve just got to do stuff that sucks sometimes to reach your goals.

I’d like to write some sort of chipper, inspirational thing or two about how I don’t regret my workout this morning (which I don’t) and I’m super motivated for the day ahead; but I only got five hours of sleep last night and I have a headache. All I want is a nap, and maybe a burger and fries. It’s just one of those days.

Current step total: 7,242

Current step goal streak: 4 days
Previous step goal streak: 2 days
Longest step goal streak: 13 days

Days 12 and 13: Catch-up post

Day 11

Despite the best of intentions, I didn’t reach my step goal on Monday. My reminders helped a bit, and I thought I was well on my way to hitting my goal by the time the last reminder went off; but little kid was struggling to sleep and he seemed to have a hard time breathing. Despite our efforts to help him feel better, my husband and I decided to take him to the hospital to get checked out. Better safe than sorry.

By the time he was checked out, diagnosed, and discharged, it was past midnight and I was about 500 steps short of my 15,000 steps goal. Oh well. C’est la vie.

Final step count: 14,547

Day 12

As I lay in bed last night trying to get the little kid to fall asleep, I realized I hadn’t written my daily post. I had a fleeting moment of panic- I’ve already failed to keep my step goal streak going (more than once); would my challenge fall apart if I missed a day of posting as well? I considered reaching for my cell phone and trying to quickly type something up to post from the mobile WordPress app, but little kid was finally asleep and I was afraid that if I moved, I’d wake him. Welcome to mom life.

That being said, it occurred to me that if my challenge fell apart over one missed post, I had no one to blame but myself and my tendency to see things as all or nothing. Despite all of the changes I’ve made this year, I still struggle with wanting to do things perfectly; and the problem with perfection is that it’s not usually realistic. Shit happens. Life happens. Mistakes happen. Failure happens.

Striving to be your best, to succeed, and even to be perfect, are admirable things; but giving up because perfection becomes unattainable is dumb. It’s weakness. Strength and success come from picking yourself back up after you’ve fallen down – especially if you’ve already fallen down and gotten back up numerous times before. You haven’t truly failed until you give up and stop trying.

Final step count: 12,118

Day 13

Unfortunately, I “failed” to hit my step goal again yesterday, but I’m still here. This challenge isn’t over yet. I’m not giving up.

I needed to write this post today because little kid is still sick, and it’s been difficult to get back to my routine. If you haven’t figured this out already (despite the numerous times I’ve written about it), I really need my routines and habits. Without them, I feel “lost.” I needed to remind myself today that I can’t give up. Regardless of what’s happening in my day-to-day life, I can still do things. I can still work towards my goals. I just have to push through the mental roadblock that is trying to convince me otherwise.

I have a habit of listening to audiobooks. I love reading. I can get lost in a good book, but that passion is limited to mostly to fiction. Despite my love of reading and learning, I have to make a greater effort to read non-fiction books; but I’ve discovered I can listen to them with little difficulty while I drive, do the dishes, or get ready for work. My library uses the OverDrive app, so I’m able to borrow audiobooks and listen to them through the app for free.

I mention all of that because I’m currently listening to The Clarity Cleanse by Habib Sadeghi. I hesitated to borrow and listen to this book because I’m not a huge fan of health-related books that rely on anecdotal evidence to support its claims, but it was available at the time and the books I was originally searching for weren’t, so yeah.

Anywho, from the couple of chapters I’ve heard thus far, Sadeghi claims that most diseases are psychosomatic – he believes they’re caused by the brain. His argument is that the negative emotions and thoughts we hold can make us ill, and if we can process those emotions, we can cure our illnesses. His reason for a lack of empirical evidence for his assertion is that this connection just hasn’t been studied enough (or maybe at all?) yet. Now, I can’t say I necessarily agree that a disease like cancer, for example, can be caused by negative emotions; but I do believe that having the right mindset can help with a speedy recovery from an illness, and it is true that when we are stressed or upset, our body responds physically. There is evidence that the mind does play some roll in how we feel.

All of this brings me back to this post today. I’ve been feeling physically gross this week, for a lack of a better description. There are obvious physical reasons why: I haven’t been working out, I’m eating mostly junk food, I haven’t been drinking much water, and my Garmin says I’ve slept between 4 – 6 hours a night for the past three nights (barely averaging an hour of deep sleep each night). I should feel bad, but I can’t help but wonder how much of my own mental state is playing a role in exacerbating how badly I feel? Can a shift in attitude make me feel even the slightest bit better?

I can’t say for sure, but I can write that I do feel more motivated since I began writing this post. I’m still tired, I still have a dull headache, but I’m more willing to get up and try to get some things done. I feel less cranky than I did earlier as well. It may not be a significant change, but it’s enough to get me back on track with hitting my step goal today, even if I am starting pretty late in the day.

Something is always better than nothing. Some progress is better than no progress at all. No day is wasted as long as you take at least one step forward, right? Even if you started off by taking two steps back.

Current step total: 2,876

Current step goal streak: 0 days 
Previous step goal streak: 1 day 
Longest step goal streak: 6 days