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My 2023 Emotional Wellness Goal? Walk 3,000,0000 steps



(Let me start off by saying that I'm not a therapist. I'm a writer and a coach. I love setting and achieving goals because I've found them to be adventures. This is not mental health advice so much as it's merely an experiment.)


Last week, I shared some of my 2023 goals, (er, results) and I mentioned that one of my emotional wellness goals was walking 3,000,000 steps.


But wait, isn't that a physical goal?


Yes and no.


If #75Hard taught me anything, it's that if you can train your mind properly, the body will follow.


The mind comes first.


Give it a set routine (and stick to it), and the physical will take the cue from the mental. (In our diet-obsessed culture, we often get this backwards which is why, I think, so many people fail on their exercise-related resolutions).


What's interesting, then, is the physical activity will then create the sensations of feeling good. Because endorphins are nature's feel-good chemicals, I want to get as much of them as possible. So, my logic is if I want to feel happier in 2023, that happiness is not the goal per se, but the indirect byproduct of walking 3,000,000 steps by year's end.


Why walking?


I feel happier when I walk. I get ideas when I walk. I love exploring new places. I consume podcasts and audiobooks with reckless abandon


I'm not a runner per se, but I feel amazing when I'm out there moving around. Racking up daily steps during the pandemic GREATLY helped me navigate that craziness. Plus, there are a lot of trails in and around Austin that I'd like to check out.


Why 3,000,000?


Well, the most I've walked recently was in 2020 with 2,807,326 steps.


I've dropped off since then (and have felt the consequences with a generally lower mood), and I'd like to get back into the habit.


Although I have an app on my phone that tracks my steps, I feel better when the tracking is automatic. I had a pedometer during the pandemic, but I've since misplaced it; I don't want to be tied to my phone for every moment of the day, so I need to get a new one stat.



Spreadsheet of Crazy


I actually log my numbers in a Google Sheet, comparing, say, January 1's number of steps in 2023 with the steps taken on January 1 in 2022 to see the difference.


Yes, it's totally nuts, but I like to show up and log numbers on the sheet daily and see how I am year over year. It keeps me consistent, and I find it oddly calming. I like seeing how seasons ebb and flow and, above all, it keeps me focused on my progress (and no one else's).


But, admittedly, I totally slacked the last few months of 2022 (I had other things on my mind), and I completely forgave myself for that. Now's the time to recommit.


How's it been going so far?


The New Year started out auspiciously enough - I outwalked myself during the first week.


Then, a hip injury (from poor sleeping habits) that occurred in December flared up again, and it's been a bit difficult to walk without, as my chiropractor put it, some "awareness." Thankfully, my hips feel better now than they did in December; if I need to adjust my goal this year, I will.


Since I'm aiming for increased happiness through endorphins, I'm not going to kill myself to get there. (Kinda would defeat the point, no?)

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