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On Being a Vinyl Playing on a Manual Turntable (or 3 Rules for a Successful 30 Day Challenge)

The second of my 30 day challenges comes to an end tonight as I revel in my meeting my goal: 10,000 steps a day. And when I say I met my goal, I mean that I reached it – at the end – with a current average of 10,276 steps a day for the month of September.

What I’ve learned from my past 2 30 day challenges (blogging every day and walking every day) is that I still suck at doing something every day. I didn’t walk 10k+ *every* day. By the second week I cleared 6k every day and I was stoked with my new low. By the third, I cleared 8k and by the last … well, I had used the last drop of consistency in my body. I was back down to my erratic 3k days and I knew I needed something big to keep this month from being a bust. So I sweet talked my girlfriend into a 9 mile hike in the Tillamook forest alongside mushroom hunters and adventure seekers riding off highway vehicles. Thankfully, I more than made up for my last week’s deficit and paid into the future, allowing me to sit here typing while not walking, guilt free.

When I’m not the first pony out of the gate, or playing pacer, I can finish my race. But I need breaks. I’m the sprinter running a marathon. I’m a manic depressive. I’m a vinyl playing on a manual turntable. Or am I the silence between the flips with the songs my break?

Either way, while setting a habit forming goal, I must be careful to:

  1. Give myself room to grow: set a daily low below my end average daily goal. I said my goal was 10k steps a day. I entered 6k and later 8k as my daily goal into my Fitbit’s tracker app. And because of that, I got to celebrate hitting a daily goal every day for 7 days for the first time since I started tracking (back in February). And that little win gave me the momentum to keep going when I wanted to take a break.
  2. Give myself room to take a break. When my records end, I need to flip ‘em! And sometimes I’m in the other room and it takes a while. What’s great is that taking a break from one challenge may mean feeding another. Taking a break from work feeds my family. Taking a break from art feeds my work. Taking a break from family means guilt around the holidays.
  3. Keep up with my own velocity and don’t go into debt. Easier done in conjunction with number 1 above, as it’s easier to keep up with a daily goal when that goal starts low. While I started skipping a day or two on the blogging challenge after a week – if I’d had done that out of the gate, I’d have only ever felt behind. Same for my steps.

Now to apply these to my next one and report back. Now to decide between reading and sleeping, I’m off to bed to see which one comes first.