One Million Steps in Two Months
One Step At a Time
Recently, I set a goal of taking one million steps in two months. So I did it. Why one million steps? Two reasons, 1) one million is a big number and I’m a numbers guy, and 2) it’s a unique goal. I don’t know of anyone who knows for certain that they’ve taken one million steps in two months. Sure, there are plenty of people who likely have, such as people training for marathons. But do they know for certain that they’ve taken a million steps? Have they tracked and recorded their steps? I haven’t heard of anyone who has. But I did.
Over the two months of June and July, I ended with 1,123,057 steps and a distance of 582 miles. That’s a daily average of 18,411 steps and a distance of 9.55 miles. Oh and I’m 19 pounds lighter.
During a work training, I was asked by the facilitator to share something unique about myself and I mentioned this goal. The instructor then explained that my goal was a good example of a SMART goal:
- Specific — One million steps in two calendar months (June and July)
- Measurable — I tracked the number of steps with my Apple watch
- Attainable — Although it pushed me, the goal was within reach
- Relevant — I wanted to be more physically active
- Timely — 2 months
I can do hard things
It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I pushed through it and stayed motivated and active. Prior to setting this goal, I wasn’t much of a walker. In fact, I thought walking was a waste of time. I’ve learned that during walks I do a great deal of thinking and that my best ideas come to me while I’m walking.
Adversity proves our determination
A month into this goal I was playing soccer barefoot on the lawn. The ball was kicked my direction near a rock wall and I misjudged the distance between me and the wall. Rather than making contact with the soccer ball I kicked the rock wall. I immediately felt significant pain in my right foot. As I was trying to manage the pain I looked down and saw a lot more blood than expected. Luckily, my sister, who is a nurse, was there to take care of me. This happened near the end of the day when I already had 38,000 steps but had set a goal of reaching 40,000 for that day. Although I was in pain and pretty concerned about my toe I hobbled around to get the 2,000 extra steps I needed. The next day I was determined to not let my banged up toe slow me down. After attending church with my family in the morning I decided to walk from the church building to my parents’ cabin. 2.25 miles later I had done it. Later I went on a 10-mile hike to the top of the mountains. I ended that day with more than 40,000 steps on a bad toe. In spite of the potential setback, I was able to take more than 80,000 steps in two consecutive days.
Number of steps isn’t the best analytic
Although I’m glad I accomplished this goal, the number of steps taken isn’t the best analytic to track my progress towards fulfilling my physical goals. While my activity increased there were several days when doing a step-less exercise, such as biking or swimming, would have been more beneficial than running or walking. There were many days when my legs were sore and deserved a break but I was determined to reach my goal. Near the end of the two months, I started doing other exercises to mix it up. For example, I went on a 20-mile bike ride and I burned a lot of calories. While this is good it didn’t require a single step and didn’t help me progress towards my millionth step. After further evaluation, I believe that the best analytic for me to track will be the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned. My physical object is to be healthy and happy so I can focus on other aspects of my life with increased motivation and attention.
Being more active means I can help more
As I’ve been more active the past couple of months I have spent a considerable more amount of time being outside. This has put me in the position to help and serve other people. On one occasion I was running up a hill and a lady stopped me as I ran by to ask for help. She couldn’t get her van started. Fortunately, I was able to pause my run, address the car problem, and help her get on her way. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I bet the lady was pretty anxious. It was a hot July afternoon and her children and dog were in a hot van and she couldn’t get it to start. I’m happy that being more active allowed me to serve someone in need.
Author’s note: I took all of the photos shown above during the two month’s stretch on my cell phone.