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What I've learned from a 100 day habit

What I've learned from a 100 day habit

I don't mind telling you that it's my BIG five-oh this year - scary! As I approached my 49th birthday last year, I was contemplating what I could do to mark my half century that would create a new healthy habit to help me to reach my next half century.

Inspired by Alison Jones who runs every day, I decided that I would create a new walking challenge for the whole of my 50th year (running is not an option post knee op...oh, and I hate it!) I planned to keep myself accountable by posting on Facebook every day for my friends and family to see..that way I couldn't back out!

Here I am on my birthday on Mablethorpe beach with my dog Martha and my family.  I clocked up 45 minutes of exercise that day and 8,000 steps.  To be perfectly honest, I had no idea about the concept of steps - how far is 8,000 steps?  So I decided that I could definitely carve out at least half an hour of my day consistently to achieve my goal.  So half an hour of exercise and roughly 8,000 steps on average per day was what I set out to achieve.

This challenge has taught me such a lot.  It has reminded me just how supportive my lovely hubby is - he bought me a Fitbit for my birthday and he comes out with me for an evening walk most days.  Previously we might have done a really quick walk with our dog, we now spend quality time doing a much longer walk and it has become our time to chat and catch up.  If we had been in the house, one of us would be watching TV or on our laptop or phone, so we would have missed that time to truly connect and catch up about the day, life, the universe and everything.

My friends and family have been great too - they constantly like or comment with encouraging messages on my posts - that really helps to keep me going.  I particularly love it when someone comments that I am motivating them to get out and walk or exercise too - to inspire is one of my highest values, so that's a real bonus!

I have also met up with friends to walk with them.  If you know me well, you'll know that I love a chat!  So going out with friends and turning the exercise into a social activity is perfect for me.  I did one of my longest walks with my lovely friend Zelda who was part-way through chemo treatment.  Walking really helps her to feel better, so I loved spending half a day with her, walking and talking and catching up.  We clocked up 18,369 that day!

It has inspired my parents to buy each other Fitbits for Christmas and they now regularly clock up more steps than me - they are retired and very fit!

#fitby50 DAY 100!!!

I wanted to do something special to mark 100 days of commitment, so I asked friends to join me. At 8am Angela Armstrong joined me to do 8,000 steps and 6k twice round Warwick Racecourse. I then headed over to Lesley Russon’s and we did another 4,000 steps and put the world to rights with Sarah Horne over coffee! I then did some work for a few hours and dragged poor Martha out for another walk as I wanted to make 20k steps the day. Here are the photos to prove it! 

Another friend, Anette Gann asked whether I had thought about doing the Moonwalk - one car journey back from London later and we had both signed up, created a team  'the walkie-talkies' - (what else could it be?!) and had signed up other friends to join us too.  So that is the next big challenge - walking through London at midnight in our bras on 11th May - all in the name of raising funds for the fight against breast cancer. I think that will definitely give me my step goal for the whole week, if not two!  If you feel like donating to the cause, you can do so here.

Creating Habits

  1. Decide on your new habit
  2. Create a goal - one that will stretch you, but an achievable one all the same
  3. Create accountability - whether that be publicly like mine, or privately by messaging a friend.  I'm on the receiving end of a number of messages from friends who are trying to keep their habits positive! I also have a number of coaching clients where this accountability is built in too.
  4. Take the first step - however small
  5. Find a way to keep yourself motivated - whether that be inviting friends to join you, joining a club or simply scheduling it in your diary
  6. Keep going
  7. Celebrate successes - I'm building that in every 100 days and for major achievements such as the Moonwalk
  8. Ignore any negative vibes from those who wish they could have your level of commitment and just moan about it instead! Rise above it!

Beat Blue Monday

Apparently the third Monday in January in the UK is termed 'Blue Monday'.  It's the day when everyone realises what a long month January is, debts may have built up with a week until pay-day, the glow of Christmas has worn off and Spring is not yet in sight.  My antidote to Blue Monday, of course is to get out walking wearing my bright hats and scarves!  Not only is it great exercise, it's also proven to lift your mood.  If I'm on my own, I use it as time to listen to something motivating or educational on a podcast, to have some good quality thinking time, to listen to music or to be mindful and observe nature around me.  Whatever I choose, it always lifts my mood.

Lasting Benefits

At the start of the challenge I had to really drag myself out, now by day 114 I positively can't wait! I certainly feel like the habit and consistency of taking action every day is now firmly embedded and I look forward to the next 251 days! With a small action each day I've clocked up 919,124 steps over 639km - that's half the distance from Land's End to john O'Groats. The Fitbit has really helped me - if I get home from work and find that I haven't done many steps, we then go out and do a really long walk in the evening.  Without monitoring it, I would be non-the-wiser and would probably not bother going out.  By tracking progress it makes me want to do more and smash my goals!

What will you commit to? Do you need help? If so, get in touch to arrange a walking meeting and we'll see what we can come up with!