I panicked the first time it happened. I was shoveling snow in our driveway. It’s a pretty good workout and takes about 45 minutes to clear two inches of snow. I also knew I was racking up the steps on my new Fitbit Zip.
That little Fitbit was changing my life. I loved seeing how many steps I could get each day and kept pushing myself to keep getting more. Lots of steps were happening with that shovel in my hands. After about 30 minutes I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to see my total.
The Zip was one of the early Fitbits. It was a small rounded device about the size of a quarter. You could place it in your pocket or purse. It also came with a little rubber sleeve that had a clip so I could also attach it onto my belt loop or the top of my pocket. And, that’s where it was as I was shoveling snow.
I took my glove off and lifted the edge of my winter coat so I could flick the Zip to life and see my step total. Except…
…it wasn’t there. My Fitbit was gone!
Panic set in as I realized somewhere along my driveway my little Zip had come loose and landed in the snow. But, it was black so it shouldn’t be too hard to spot against a white back drop. I walked up and down the driveway, but didn’t see it. So I walked the length of the driveway again only slower. Still didn’t see it. Walked again. Even slower. No Zip. Again. Slower. Nope.
It was gone. Every snow shoveling step was gone too. It was that moment I realized I was addicted. I’m a Fitbit addict.
But, this is an addiction I’m OK with. Every day I have a step goal. For a long time that goal was 15,000. Early on with my Fitbit, I tried a one month goal of 25,000 steps every day. Tried, but failed because I missed it one day. A couple years later I aimed even higher…1,000,000 steps in a month. I picked July because it had 31 days and my daily goal was 34,000. I reached the million steps a couple days early.
Currently, my step goal is 20,000 every day for a year with no breaks. I’m calling it my 20k One Year Step Challenge. I started on September 1, 2018.
These step goals are changing my life. Here are 9 ways that’s happening.
- Health Freedom – Obviously, moving this much as a huge impact on my fitness and overall health. I feel better than ever. I know that sounds like a cliche, but I’ve had three physicals in the past 18 months and they’ve all come back amazing. I’m 58 and I am currently taking no medication. I have the health freedom to do pretty much whatever I want.
- Improved Marriage – My wife, Ava, and I walk together a lot. She has a Fitbit so she’s got her own goals and we typically walk together several times a week. The conversations are better when we are walking because neither of us is distracted. Ava is also battling breast cancer right now and this time together is helping us talk through the journey ahead. It’s been a very sweet season for us.
- Better Mental Clarity – I don’t know if it’s always been this way, but I think better when I’m walking. It’s become a pretty regular thing for me to get up and move if I have a problem to solve. In fact, even as I’m writing this blog post I’m getting up and walking around the room when I hit a mental block regarding what I want to say.
- Improved Creativity – Along with better thinking, I’m also re-discovering the joy of creativity. Part of my 20k One Year Step Challenge is finding something every day that I’m grateful for. As I’m walking I’m enjoying the challenge of working through how to creatively present that so it’s a little different each day.
- Emotional Stability – Ava’s breast cancer diagnosis is a scary thing. In those first few weeks there were a lot of unknowns. Thankfully, it was caught early, but there are still unknowns moving forward. I have felt the tension of this. Some days are worse than others. Long walks have provided me with a sense of emotional stability. Moving is very calming for me.
- I’m Learning Stuff – I have discovered the joy of podcasts. When I’m not walking with Ava, I usually am listening to a podcast. I have about a dozen that I am actively listening to. And, what is especially great is this journey of learning keeps growing. It seems that each podcast expands my knowledge and also expands my questions which compels me to find even more podcasts.
- I’m More Confident – Every day I reach my step-goal is another notch of success. And, each notch comes with a little boost of self-confidence. Now, when I wake up I no longer question whether I can reach my goal. Instead, I approach each day confident that I will. I may not know the exact path I’ll take to get there, but I know I’ll do what it takes to make it happen.
- Stronger Faith – One of the things I do while I’m walking is pray. This is something that has never been easy for me. My mind wanders. I’ll start praying for someone and within moments my brain is headed in a totally different direction. Minutes later I realize what’s happened. It’s so frustrating. But, while I’m moving it happens far less often.
- I’m Rarely Bored – I don’t have time to get bored. It’s not easy getting 20,000 steps every day. If I start getting bored all the time it’s a sign my goal is too low.
I finished shoveling the snow that night and went back in the house feeling like a part of my daily purpose was lost. The next morning I stopped at the store on the way home from work and bought a new Fitbit. It was pink. I wanted to easily see it should I ever drop it again.
I’m a better person when I’m moving more and sitting less. Having a daily step goal is the thing that makes that happen. It’s not an exaggeration to say these goals are changing my life. I believe the same thing can happen to you. But, what should your step goal be? That’s a topic for next week.
One more thing.
Months after that snowy night, as I was returning from an early spring walk I noticed something on the edge of the road several yards from the end of my driveway. It was slightly crushed, having been run over, but still recognizable. It was Zip.
Weird, but it felt like finding an old friend.
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