Not too long ago my friends and I started a walking challenge (organized by yours truly, thank you very much). The goal: walk as many steps as possible in 30 days. While this may seem like an easy feat, it’s harder when your friends are a group of overachievers determined to win. The competition has been fierce and blistery. So, as you can imagine, I’ve had to pull strength and resourcefulness as I try to stay in it without simply choosing to lay down with a bucket of fried chicken in front of the TV (Oh, wait, that sounds amazing…..Ack! Focus). That strength and resourcefulness is another way to say: I’ve needed to re-learn some lessons about compassionate self-motivation during this walking challenge.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but I’m not winning at this challenge. But, in case it wasn’t clear already, I’m third-place. From the bottom up. We are 8.
That said, I’m still really enjoying this whole game. I’m enjoying it because I’m doing it with people that I love, building community, taking care of myself, and learning lessons that I couldn’t learn watching chopped at 7 PM on a Friday evening. Instead, I’m walking so much that I can’t help but spend a lot of time thinking. It’s not specifically walking meditations (though I think those are fantastic). Anyway, because I’m so awesome, I’m gonna share some of the things that I have learned through this journey.
Here are 4 lessons about self-motivation I’ve learned from this walking challenge:
- Walking takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Most of the time you spend walking, you could spend watching TV (clearly, based on how many times I’ve mentioned TV here, I should consider a “read a book sometime” challenge after I’m done with this whole walking business). Ask yourselves: which one yields better results for your holistic wellbeing? Okay, the reality is that the answer depends on the day you ask me. Most of the time it’s walking; other times it’s the TV. And that’s okay. I’m nothing if not realistic and chill about taking care of yourself. That’s what makes it holistic: it’s about balance.
- Lack of time is an excuse. You can make time for anything you want to do, as long as you make it a priority. As we speak, I am dictating this blog post while sitting on my toilet into a speech to text app. See, I’ve been telling myself that if I wanted to stay in this walking challenge, I couldn’t take the time to sit behind my computer and blog. But I have a mentor who asked me to write 3 blog posts a week. She is a tough cookie and I fear her wrath. So I had to get creative. Enter this app, which, by the way, is very nifty. My point is, that if you really want something, you’ll make time for it.
- Do you want to win or do you want to play. This nugget of success motivation comes courtesy of my sister. Although she came in dead last for the first 15 days of the challenge, in the past few days she has passed me, another friend and another friend. When I asked her the other day (me all grumpy) how the heck she was beating us all, she responded, “I realized that I was playing to play. Now, I’m playing to win. So anytime I don’t want to walk, I ask myself, ‘Do you want to play or do you want to win?’ That keeps me motivated.” And it should you too.
- Sometimes playing is just enough. Lest these sound like the ramblings of a loser, I’m serious. At some point, the competition was so heated in my home that it was no longer fun to talk to my sister, my friend or my husband. All conversations started with a suspicious, “Where are you going today? How much are you walking?!” Heck, even the dog got a nasty look whenever I saw her venturing into the yard to walk without me. So, at some point I had to take a pause, breathe, and realize that I preferred the self-motivation I had when I was playing. When I kept a play mindset, it helped me destress and improved my overall wellbeing. I’ve had a blast since then.
The point I want to make is that, yes, winning is great, but sometimes the best way to get there is by playing. That’s what I call compassionate motivation. So win to play or play to win: do it to your fullest, enjoy it with gusto, and make sure you have some loved ones on the way.
To me, that’s a win.