More step, less stop – how to keep up the momentum
We’ve all felt like world-beaters at the beginning of a challenge. But along the way you’re bound to experience a few ups and downs. Here we’ve listed the most common reasons people stop stepping – and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Missing your target
Missing your step target once in a while hopefully isn’t enough to put you off your stride. But if it’s happening often you might be tempted to throw in the towel. Not so fast! You’ve probably set yourself a target that’s a bit too high, so don’t be afraid to take it down a notch. Step Up is supposed to be challenging but not impossible! You can focus on achieving those big targets once you get a bit further down the line.
If you’re only just falling short each day, don’t despair. Whatever your reason for being off the pace, there’s always time to catch up. Try planning a big weekend walk to make up any ground you’ve lost during the week.
2. Losing motivation
We all tell ourselves at the start of a new challenge or exercise routine “I’m going to stick with this”. But however dedicated you set out, after a few weeks it’s easy to lose interest. But there’s a simple solution – keep it varied. Taking all your steps in one long session? Then take a few shorter walks every now and again. Bored of the same route every day? Then it’s time for a change of scenery. If you’re doing something new all the time you’ll never be able to think “not this again”.
When you’re feeling demotivated, it’s all too easy to convince yourself to skip a long walk. But it’s harder to talk yourself out of a short walk to the end of the street. You’ve heard the old adage “the longest journey begins with a single step”? Well, once you start walking, however short the distance, you’ll get the endorphins flowing and want to keep going. And if not, you’ve probably still put a few thousand extra steps towards your total. Win-win!
And if you’re still having too many of those “I just can’t be bothered” days, then convince a friend to join your challenge, to drag you through those lazy moments. And you’ll be there to pay back them back the favour!
3. Aches and pains
If your shoes are giving you blisters, that’s really going to kill your enjoyment of any challenge. When it comes to walking, comfort is key – you don’t need brand new trainers featuring cutting-edge technology, just pair of shoes your feet are familiar with!
If you’re not used to all this walking, don’t hit the road too hard. It’s better to build and improve slowly, rather than go too hard and strain yourself. If you’ve suffered a setback, there’s no shame in easing off – sometimes taking a step back gives you the space to move forward.
4. Not enough time
If you lead a busy life it can seem hard to find the time to walk. There’s always more important stuff to do. The trick is… to trick yourself into walking! Meeting at work? Try it standing up. Escalator? Walk up it! Driving to the supermarket? Park in the furthest away spot. We promise you can squeeze in steps everywhere if you put your mind to it.
Perhaps you’re spending too much time preparing to walk, and not enough time walking? In that case, try getting your shoes, water bottle (whatever you need to step) ready the night before.
If you’re still not getting the time, then it’s time for the nuclear option – getting up half an hour earlier in the morning. We know, we know – your mornings are precious! But squeezing an extra 30 minutes of walking into your day (by literally finding 30 extra minutes) will give you the time to take a massive chunk out of your step target. Plus, being active in the morning has been proven to energise you for the rest of the day.
5. The weather’s not great
We’ve saved the worst ‘til last. The sinking feeling as you head out, only for the heavens to open and the only walking you’re doing is back home. There’s not much you can do about bad weather, apart from a sun dance, perhaps – although we can’t vouch for its effectiveness! But bad weather passes, and unless you’re in monsoon season you’ll soon have nicer days on the horizon.
While you’re waiting for a break in the clouds, remember, any type of step is still a step! You could go for quick jog on a treadmill at the gym, dance around your living room, do some star jumps, shadow box, skip – the choice is yours!
Hopefully that’s given you a few ideas to keep up your stepping momentum. And don’t forget, the thing that’s really going to keep you on track is the knowledge that you’re funding life-saving blood cancer research. So keep sharing your fundraising page, keep clocking up your sponsorship, and keep stepping!