I knew setting a 30 day walking challenge in the midst of an unusually blustery winter in Denver would be a challenge. Day 1 was exhilarating, walking in the park, seeing the geese and the cross-country skiers, enjoying the sun and the blinding whiteness of the snow.
Day 6 - not so much. I'd struggled a bit in the subsequent gray, bone-chilling days. I'd shortened my walks, and I'd even considered substituting time on the treadmill at the gym for the time outdoors my heart really wanted.
I'm not sure what happened on Day 6. I didn't walk. I could write a paragraph of explanations and excuses - but as a health coach I know that arguing FOR your limitations just reinforces them, so I won't.
The critical piece for me (as I know it is for you too when you don't follow through on a planned healthier action) is what I do THE NEXT day. What I say to myself. How I manage and generate my energy.
It is snowing a little bit right now. But I really don't care. I can already see that setting my sights on being consistent for 30 days has TERRIFIC value, even if I blew it on Day 6. Even if I blow it again on Day 17. Because even 25 or 27 days of walking in a snowy month, immersing myself in nature and proving to myself that I'm hardier than the tea-loving, poetry-reading-curled-on-the-sofa me thinks I am - is SO worth it.
I've already started another 30 day challenge - this time with a language app. 5 days in a row, and I already know so much more Portuguese than I did when I started! So what if I miss a day here and there? The lived experience of how my life is different and so enriched after embarking on a commitment to small, consistent practices - walking outside in winter, learning Portuguese - DESPITE imperfect action is both freeing and eye-opening.
Imperfect action. Deciding on something new I want to include in my day, and committing to doing it for a month so I can notice what is different, and how I'm different, when I succeed.
Is success still on the table? Didn't I just fail by missing Day 6 of my walk? Not in my book. (And remember - YOU get to define what YOUR success looks like). Now I know THE FAILURE occurred squarely in the past - NOT on Day 6. The failure was not listening to that voice that wanted to be outside, and walking, no matter what. The failure was believing that it would be too dispiriting to weather the setbacks - that it was better to NOT reach and stretch and enrich myself than to mess up once or twice (or thrice!)
Cheers to all of us who choose imperfect action and the awareness that makes messing up tolerable - or even worthy of celebration. Now for that walk.
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