31 day challenge: 10k steps

On 31st January, I took up a challenge with my colleagues. Keeping in trend with fake commutes, the focus on health and spirit of teamwork, we took up a challenge to ‘walk 10,000 steps every single day in February’. Thankfully, February also happens to be the shortest month of the year, hence pushing up our chances of success by .xx%. Needless to say, much like every other 31 day challenge, I lost the moment the second week dawned in. I blame the weather! It poured endlessly, was cold, and on the two occasions I did try to step up to the challenge, I came back with my nose frozen.

However, the reason this post makes it on the blog under this particular heading is because this month, I am taking up the exact same challenge all over again. Spring is coming! It’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer and flowers are beginning to make themselves more visible. Before you roll your eyes at me, let me tell you exactly how taking up the challenge opened my eyes despite me failing at it.

What I learnt about walks

The last week of January was immensely stressful. So much so that I did what I always do–avoid work altogether. I am sure it happens to you too – you get overwhelmed, don’t know where to start and decide the best way out is to drop it all. Over a coffee chat with a colleague, he spotted me digging a hole, and uttered words that changed my life–‘Shut your laptop, get out for a walk and then come back, get to work.’ I took the advice, and it made all the difference. I figured out what I needed to do, in which order, returned super excited and killed the day. This revelation is the sole reason I took up the challenge in February and then again in March.

The walk helped me:

  1. Sort my priorities and clear my head
  2. Discover the wonderful world of podcasts (shout out to HR Famous) and give me the time to listen to them
  3. Feel less guilty about zero exercise
  4. Stay balanced irrespective of the mess the rest of my life was sinking into

What I learnt about challenges

I found myself checking my phone for regular updates on how others on the team were getting along. We pushed each other to hit the 10k steps, sent videos of us trying and failing, acknowledged that weather is a perfectly valid excuse and then when someone went on a walk at 11pm to hit their step count, decided that no excuses were really valid.

I am competitive by nature and having a team around me that pulled each other up went a long way in ensuring I clocked more steps that I have in the last many months. It also helped me connect, especially given that everyone I work with are people I have never met in person.

Taking on a team challenge:

  1. Helped us bond closer as a group by giving us a shared mission
  2. Kept us motivated to try irrespective of how many times we failed
  3. Gave us a fair few laughs

The little sceptic in you may very well still be alive after reading through this, but I urge you to give it a try. Pull together a bunch of friends, colleagues or relatives and join me in the challenge. And if 31 days later you aren’t a believer, we’ll let matters lie.

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