We did it! We walked around the world in 80 days.

For those who may not have read my earlier columns on the subject, a group of women who exercise at the Chanhassen Curves were on a quest to take enough steps, collectively, to literally walk around the world during the 80 days of this summer promotion. A map on the wall charted our progress, and each day or week the members taking part would report the numbers recorded on their Fitbits, pedometers, or whatever method they were using to track the number of steps they were taking every day.

Our goal was a total of 49,720,000 steps. Our actual number on September 1, the last of our 80 days, was 52,414,517.

“Walking around the world” seems like such an impossible goal. And even thought we didn’t literally put on our hiking boots – or flippers for crossing the oceans – the number of steps necessary to complete the journey was a realistic and accurately-calculated number. Since there were approximately 100 women taking part in the program, our average was just over 6,550 steps a day. This caught me by surprise, and opened my eyes to some interesting observations.

It’s often recommended that 10,000 steps a day is a good number to shoot for for optimum health – although many people fall far short of that in our sedentary society. But the point is that those involved in the program didn’t have to become super-athletes or long-distance runners. In most cases, they just had to push themselves to do a little more, to keep at it all summer, and to keep track of their numbers.

This is a good way to improve in any area of our lives. When we push ourselves just a bit beyond our current limits, those limits expand. When we keep at it, the consistency helps us to establish good habits and routines that will keep us moving toward our goal. And when we keep track of our numbers, when we measure our progress, we are able to see that progress and can celebrate our milestones along the way. This also helps us stay motivated to complete the task. Many people who set out after a noble or ambitious goal get discouraged and abandon their quest when they don’t see results quickly enough. But it’s the smaller increments that add up to the big picture, so it’s important to keep track of them as we go.

We had one more thing going for us on our walk around the world, and that was the camaraderie and support we shared as we walked our way across the globe. It was fun to cheer each other on whenever someone added their daily or weekly steps to the group total, and to see the line on the map grow longer and longer, especially as we approached home from the other direction.

I’m reminded of the saying that goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So does a trip around the world. And it’s even better when we do it together.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on September 8, 2016.
©Betty Liedtke, 2016

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