Walking for Exercise: Making Strides with Passion Planner and How I Walked 10,000 Steps a Day for a Year
I’m proud to say I was able to walk 10,000 steps every single day for an entire year. I’m not an athletic person by any stretch and I love air-conditioning. But I do know the benefits of walking everyday and how important it is. I did this while working a sedentary full-time job and the majority of it was done with just simple walks outside. I was pretty skeptical I could ever achieve a consistent goal like this, but with my trusty Passion Planner by my side and a little determination, I was able to do just that.
Starting Out - Going For a Walk
My story starts September 2019, when my work was getting involved in a fundraiser challenge called Steptember. This event raises money for cerebral palsy, and the gist is to walk at least 10,000 steps every day to raise awareness. While other physical activities count as “steps'' in their system, I was determined to get steps the old fashioned way – by getting to 10,000 on my Fitbit. In the beginning, I thought 10,000 steps was doable, but when I made the commitment to do it every single day, I realized how difficult it really was. Several nights I would wrap up the night thinking I walked a ton, only to look at my watch, and realize I was only at 8,000-something steps. I sighed heavily, reluctantly put my shoes back on, and walked a couple more times around the block until my watch buzzed at 10,000. This happened more nights than I would like to admit.
The most challenging day came for me in the middle of September. I received some really awful news, and I wanted to sit and sulk, so I passed on all my walk breaks that day. The end of my work day approached, and while I normally had several thousand steps, I looked down and only had a measly 1,000 steps. I knew if I wanted to get to 10,000, it would mean a lot of extra walking. I really didn’t want to do it that day. But, I wanted to stay committed, if only for the month. So, out I went, and I managed to get my 10,000 steps that day, even though it was really tough.
Walking for Exercise - Making it a Habit
The end of September came and I celebrated walking 10,000 steps every day for the entire month. I was feeling proud, and decided to continue it into October, but realized I needed a better system if I wanted to truly build a healthy habit. I figured out the trick to 10,000 steps was to break it up over the day. I was already using my Passion Planner for everyday planning. I came to the realization that with my Passion Planner, if I scheduled these walking breaks and better managed my time around it, I could get to 10,000 steps a lot easier. Sure, taking an hour walk was great if I had the time, but sometimes the best I could do was 15 minutes after a meeting.
To plan out my week in my Passion Planner, I started by putting in my meetings and appointments, including any work meetings. Then, I looked in my day for where I could add walking breaks, and I scheduled those in. For instance, I had a frequent meeting from 8:30-9am most days. I planned a 15 minute walk right after that 9am meeting. I would also schedule a 30 minute walk at lunch (giving me 30 minutes more to actually eat), and then another 15 minute walk somewhere in the afternoon. Usually, this was enough to get me to 10,000 steps by the time I got home. This picture shows an example of how I fit walking (purple) into my work meetings (green) and miscellaneous appointments (blue and grey). If I had an important call to make or someone I wanted to catch up with, I usually scheduled it so I’d be walking while doing it, essentially getting two tasks done at once.
I also made sure to note my steps each week. There was something satisfying about seeing the string of 10,000+ steps each day, and the Space of Infinite Possibility was a great spot for it. You can use the Today’s Focus spot to record your steps if you prefer. You also have the option to practice scheduling your layouts with the free download printables first, before you actually commit to writing it in your planner.
How Many Steps Should I Take a Day
My 10,000/day streak continued throughout the months. Some days were harder than others, especially when quarantine hit. And while I never set out to make it the whole year, I found that by taking it one month a time, I was able to do so. It also helped that I chose a realistic and measurable goal. It was rewarding to constantly write in my Monthly Reflection that another month I walked 10,000 steps a day when it asked “What did you accomplish this past month?”
The beauty of 10,000 steps was that it was just challenging enough that it got me moving more than I normally would, but it wasn’t so unobtainable that I felt like giving up.
Does walking count as exercise? It most certainly does, especially if you are sedentary now, and for some it might be easier to stick to than something more high-impact, like running. Figuring out a good step goal to shoot for each day is the key. Remember that this number may be lower or higher than 10,000, depending on your activity level. The first place to start is to look at what you’re currently doing. I made a reflection video of the first six months of my journey (including the month prior) and I saw that before I started in September I was getting 10,000 steps some days, but mostly averaged between 6-8,000 steps a day. With this data I knew 10,000 steps was doable for me, but had I made it 15,000 or even 20,000, I probably would have failed.
If you have a walking tracker like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, you can start with that data, otherwise you can check the pedometer on your phone. Write down what you walked each day in the past month and see where you can make an improvement. For instance, maybe you walked 4,000 steps most days, so you want to bump it up to 6,000 for 5 days a week. You don’t have to walk a certain amount of steps every single day like I did. The goal is just to move more than you normally would. By making it an everyday thing, I didn’t have any room to negotiate. If you feel that is too much, choose something that you know YOU will be able to accomplish. There are so many benefits to walking everyday, and it doesn’t have to be attached to a step number. Even setting aside thirty minutes a day to walk can be beneficial.
The trick is to find what motivates you so you can keep up with it consistently. Don’t forget to make a plan in your Passion Planner by scheduling when you will actually make the time to accomplish this. Then, each week, note your progress along the way, and celebrate your accomplishments in your monthly reflection.
How many steps do you want to walk daily? Let me know in the comments!