On January 1, my wife Kris and I decided to take simple steps (literally) each day towards a wellness goal we share. That is, we’re walking a minimum of one mile every day for this entire year.
365 miles minimum. One year.
That’s just about the distance between Boston and Baltimore for you US east coasters, or from San Francisco to Los Angeles in California (if you stay inland and walk down Interstate 5 – which is DEFINITELY not advised!).
Now, if you were to tell me to start walking in Boston and not stop until I hit the suburbs of Baltimore, I’d probably tell you to ‘go take a hike!’
But instead, if you asked me to walk just one mile each day – which takes me just under 20 minutes – for one year to accomplish the same extraordinary goal, well them I’m all in.
In fact, many days Kris and I find time to walk quite a bit more once we get started. And we’re tracking our results. Being the two CPA nerds that we are, we built a basic Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to track our progress. Today is Memorial Day in the US – May 26 this year. That’s day 146 according to my spreadsheet. And so far we’ve walked 158 miles (including today’s two miles right after breakfast). So I guess I’m almost halfway to Baltimore or LA. And I know that as the summer weather gets even better, our numbers will improve as well.
Of course walking to get your heart rate up a little bit is good for you. But I’ve found another benefit that I really didn’t see coming.
That’s just the nature of being self-employed and pursuing work that I love. I also travel a lot for both business and personal reasons. As a result I’ve found that time to exercise is often difficult to carve into an already packed day. And taking a few minutes each day to clear my mind and let creativity take over almost never seems to occur as I’m constantly staring at the next deadline.
Well, I’ve found that literally walking away from my desk for 20 minutes solves both problems. Result: a little exercise and a major clearing of the mind clutter that occurs without conscious effort as the rhythm of each step takes place. Every time, I come back to my work or my next appointment refreshed, more alert, and more open to the possibilities that were there in front of me all the time.
To keep up with this goal, I’ve walked through snowstorms, down long hotel hallways, around the internal decks of a cruise ship, in shopping malls, across hotel parking lots, and far too often in crowded airport terminals. (The United terminal at Dulles in Washington DC is just about a mile from end to end – good planning on the architect’s part!). If you’re lucky, all you’ll have to do is walk around your neighborhood or office building.
Now, as with any new physical undertaking – even the modest one mile daily walk – make double sure that your body is ready. If you’ve been away from physical activity of any kind, if you have a history of health challenges, even if you just live at high altitude like I do, make sure your doctor agrees that you are ready for this change in your daily routine. And for those who simply can’t walk a mile each day, think about something you can do in its place. Something extra you’re not already doing that can provide the same benefits of Better! physical and mental health in even the tiniest of ways.
Then wipe away the easy excuses, push away from your desk or TV, and find a place to stroll for 20 minutes.
To me, our mutual goal in business and life is Better! Better tomorrow than today; better next week than this week; better next year than this year.
Simply – Better! Every day.
Let’s take a few Simple Steps towards Better! health together. I’ll even join you each day. Let’s keep track together.
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John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.
Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”