Friday, April 1, 2016

90 Mile March Results: What to do when you don't meet a goal

How did your 90 Mile March go?

I started strong but the weather this month was something I hadn't taken into account. I had only logged 43 miles by the 20th when I should have reached the 60 mile mark. We had an entire week of rain complete with a leaky roof and flood warnings.

The other thing I didn't take into account is that as a gardener, Master Gardener intern, and beekeeper this is by far my busiest time of the year.

I only have so much physical energy. I have been using it to dig trenches and lay pavers. I've hauled brick and sand and gravel. I've shoveled mountains of mulch. I've hoisted brood boxes of bees that weighed 60 lbs. I've made endless laps around the yard and garden trying to get things cleaned up for spring. I don't know how to measure that kind of activity. It's more physical than walking at the park. And it's super productive!

But I didn't hit my 90 mile goal for March. Like by a lot. I ended up logging only about 57 miles.

I hope you met your goal! But here's what to do if you didn't:

Don't beat yourself up. If you got in any miles during the month you are that many miles ahead of everyone who sat on the couch. Go YOU!

Embrace your new habit. So what if we didn't hit our goal! We started forming a new habit of walking daily if the weather is nice. Systems of behavior and not goals are what stick with us over the long haul.

Adapt, improvise, and overcome. Instead of feeling like a failure or giving up because you didn't meet your goal, put your shoes on and keep going. Because I detest treadmills I could only walk on days that have suitable weather. So in the future my goal may be to walk 3 miles every day that the weather is nice enough for it to be enjoyable or to walk a certain number of miles a week. If my aim is to walk 12 miles a week for instance I have a better chance of scheduling those 12 miles. I'll be the first to say that 21 miles a week was ambitious and didn't leave us any slack in our time frame.

Revisit the purpose behind setting the goal. If you didn't achieve your goal ask yourself "Why did I want to do this in the first place?" More than likely it was because you felt the need for more physical activity or to get outside more. Or to create the new habit of walking daily. I'll bet you did all of those things even if you only got in 20 miles for the whole month.

Congratulate yourself on doing something. Many years ago when I was mostly sedentary my goal was just to put on my shoes every day. That was it. But once I had my shoes on I thought I might as well walk down the street. Then I figured if I was going to walk down the street I could walk around the corner....

You get the idea.

Tricks and tips for getting it done going forward:

Lay out your clothes and shoes the night before. On mornings when I thought I might just have one more cup of coffee instead of walking I would see my stack of walking gear. Something in my brain reacted to it and those were the easiest days to get going.

The buddy system. Enroll your spouse of a friend to walk with you. It's harder to stay on the sofa when someone says "Are you ready to walk?"

Think of your walk as a treat. Why do we think all the ways to reward ourselves involve sugary foods? Tell yourself that you deserve your walk! You deserve some quiet time and fresh air. Spring is the easiest time of year to convince yourself of this. Neighborhoods and parks are full of eye candy when everything is in bloom.

Think of your walk as being part of your community.  Studies show that just observing people in community increases your feeling of connection. If you walk at the same time everyday you'll start to recognize the other people out there with you.

Keep going! So now that we've started creating a new habit let's keep going! Keep working on your walking and come up with a system and schedule that works for you.



  1. Bill & I failed miserably on our 90 mile goal! Between the rain and being out of town for Spring Break, it was somewhat of a pipe dream. BUT! We had so much fun. It was a great opportunity for Bill & I to talk and unwind after work. I'm not sure that walking every single day will happen, but it will definitely be a regular occurrence!

    1. Well if you got out and spent time together and got some walking in you didn't fail at all! You want to think of it as something special you do for you and not a chore or obligation because who the heck needs any more of those? Hope you are having a great spring!

  2. Bees are heavy! And you still averaged about two miles a day on top of all that heavy lifting, so it sounds pretty impressive to me.

    1. That's right, Emily! I'm all about progress and not perfection. My motto is "something is better than nothing." :)


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