Walking every day for one year

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This post fits pretty well the QS format: “what I did, how I did it, and what I learned”

I Kept a Walking Streak for a Full Year — and Discovered 7 Surprising Benefits Along the Way

Summary and some quotes:

What I did

  • 3-mile run or a 30-minute walk every day
  • maintain this habit for 365 days
  • in other words, develop a year-long streak.

How I did it

[E]mploying the 3 Rs are helpful in meeting streak goals:

  • Record: All too often, we don’t take the time to realize how hard we’ve worked until we step back and take a moment to reflect and record that success. Putting your successes to paper shows you how you are progressing and allows you to see the progress you’ve made.
  • Reward: Dopamine can do wonders and act as a springboard to keep going. Reward yourself in a manner that is favorable to you and that will incentivize you to keep going.
  • Redirect: The hard truth about habits is that you will fall, stumble, and miss. Everyone is human, which means we aren’t perfect. Give yourself grace when you get off track and then use the first two Rs to get back in the right direction.

What I learned

On days I didn’t feel like walking or running outside, my streak motivated me to do so.

I’d wake up tired and would often outline several reasons why I “didn’t have time” to squeeze in a walk or run. But the moment I thought about putting a large, bold X on my calendar, I realized it would break my streak. That single thought motivated me to keep it going.

Keeping my walking and running habit every day helped me avoid procrastination.

Because I knew I had to get in my outdoor time every single day, it became easier to meet this goal when I decided to make it a priority first thing in the morning. I began placing my running clothes near my bedroom door each night, which served as a good reminder to tackle my exercise before I started work or household chores, or mindlessly scrolled on my phone. Realizing I couldn’t wait until late in the day allowed me to make my streak habit a priority.

My streak allowed me to organize my day more efficiently.

Knowing I had to keep my streak alive meant I couldn’t dawdle during the day with work commitments, errands, and other household duties. I’d organize my to-do list around my exercise.

Meeting my streak goal every day taught me how to be confident in consistency.

In March of 2020, I looked through my tracker and counted 60 days of completing my goal of walking and running outside every day. This acknowledgement created a glimmer of quiet confidence — that I could keep a good habit, prioritize it, and complete several consecutive days in a row. Something about this fact helped me turn the lens toward other goals I didn’t think I could meet. Before my streak experience, I’d have dismissed trying to become consistent at a certain goal. But now, my perspective has changed. It is possible to make a habit stick. I certainly surprised myself.