Walking is great and there are many posts in this hop on the benefits and joys of walking with your dog--that's what inspired this #DogWalkingWeek celebration, after all.
But walking isn't always easy or fun. Recently, a co-worker said, "I'm not going to walk the dogs today because I'm having company and need to clean" (the company was arriving 6+ hours after we finished our work day). The next week it was "I'm not going to walk the dogs today because there's too much construction and I can't get out of my neighborhood to go to the park." Then it was "I'm not going to walk the dogs today because it's supposed to rain." The point is that it's easy to find reasons not to walk. I've come up with plenty of them myself--it's too hot, it's too cold, I'm too tired, I have too many papers to grade. Coming up with an excuse not to walk doesn't take much effort.
|Barley thinks it's nice to snuggle up in some fleece, too.|
One thing that's been helpful for me has been setting goals. I have always liked having goals to work towards. I often tell my students to set goals and use rewards if they're struggling with procrastination: write a page, reward yourself with a snack/a tv show/15 minutes of Facebook. For me, I don't need physical rewards--for me, avoiding failure is a big enough reward. I blame my mom for this--until I hit Trigonometry, any time I brought home a grade that was less than a 95, it was "Uh oh, what happened?"
Last year for my New Year's Resolution, I set a goal of walking more miles each month than I had walked the month before. By the end of the year, I was challenging myself to walk every single day in order to meet the marks I needed to meet.
This year, I decided to shoot for an even 1000 miles by the end of the year. Most of my FitDog Friday posts have been about how close we are to achieving that goal. Even on days when it was really stinkin' cold, I knew I had to get outside for a walk because we couldn't meet our goals if we just skipped walking during the first three months of the year. It didn't matter if we only got out for .5 miles at a time because it was too cold to be out for more than 10 minutes at a time--every little bit we walked brought us closer to our goal.
When it got warmer and the weather was perfect, having a set number of miles we needed to meet each day gave me motivation to get out and take longer walks even if I might have wanted to go home and binge on tv shows on Netflix instead.
I bought a Garmin GPS watch during last year's goal to keep track of our mileage. Every time I plug in my watch to upload our walks, I get a visual representation of how close we're getting to our goal, which motivates me to keep going. We haven't walked every single day this year--but we've walked the majority of them and haven't missed a day since August 26. I can analyze our results and see our average mileage per day, our total mileage in a week, the number of calories I'm burning, and a variety of other information that I have no idea what to do with. There are also plenty of free walking apps for phones that can track this progress. I love the Wooftrax Walk for a Dog app that donates money to the shelter of your choice for each mile you walk.
|After yesterday's first walk, we were at 83% of our goal.|
So, instead of looking for reasons not to walk, try to find reasons to get out and spend time bonding with your dog and improving your health together.
A big thank you to My GBGV Life and Cascadian Nomads for organizing #DogWalkingWeek so that we can all motivate each other and share our tips for getting the most out of our walks with our dogs!