After breakfast on the weekends and after the school bus leaves on weekday mornings, I take my dog, Elvie, for a walk around the block. I fell in love with Elvie on the internet four years ago when a friend shared photos of him at a local animal shelter on Facebook. I know we were meant to be together because he loves to cuddle and eat kale and many other vegetables! Watch him eat a kale stem here!
He also loves to wear sweaters and once he wore glasses, for two seconds.
Anyway, Elvie’s morning walk is about 3/4 of a mile, which takes us about 15 minutes, including plenty of sniffing and potty time.
My veggie dog, Elvie. -->
I enjoy this morning ritual because it forces me to get outside and get some fresh air and allows me time to think about my goals and priorities for the day. Sometimes I wave or say hello to a few neighbors along the way.
In the winter, or on rainy days, it's often the only real time I spend outside, but no matter the weather, it's a great time to observe the state of the natural world around me. I see the footprints left by rabbits and birds in the winter snow and get excited when I see those first few bulbs begin to sprout in early spring.
Anyway, I think a lot of people who are looking to add more activity to their life might think, hmm, a slow walk that's only 3/4 of a mile, that's not going to make a difference. I need to do a few miles at least, or it's not worth it.
But I completely disagree!
Walking ¾ of a mile a day when you’d normally be sitting does, in fact, make a difference.
It adds 5.25 miles of steps to your week.
And over the course of a year these short walks add up to 273.75 miles!
Now, who's getting move activity into their life? The person who walks an extra 273.75 miles a year, or the person who doesn't?
The answer is obvious.
When a walk around the block becomes a part of your routine, it becomes much more than a walk around the block.
A walk around the block. = 273.75 more miles
Throughout your dog's entire life, this adds thousands of miles of steps to your life, -- which is one reason having a dog is good for your health.
Let’s look at a couple other scenarios where a small change can have a big result.
Let’s say you never seem to find the time to read much. You currently complete about four books a year, which is the most common answer in the US to the question, “How many books do you read in a year?”
So to read more, you decide to commit to reading 15 minutes a day (about 17 pages).
Doesn’t seem like much, does it?
But based on an average length book of 240 pages, this small daily step means you will finish reading a book every two weeks.
Which means that in a year you'll read twenty-six books.
The result? At the end of the year you'll have read more than 6 TIMES the number of books you read the previous year -- a significant increase made by a seemingly small, even insignificant, repeated action.
Reading for 15 minutes = 26 books a year
Now let’s say you want to lose weight, so you decide to cut out one tablespoon of oil from your daily diet (the equivalent of one teaspoon per meal). Any time you sauté something you use water instead of oil and you reduce the oil or leave it out elsewhere whenever you can.
This reduces your daily intake by 120 calories. Doesn’t seem like much, but over a week it adds up to 840 calories taken out of your diet.
Do this for a year and you'll cut 43,680 calories out of your diet. Based on 3,500 calories per pound, this is the equivalent of 12½ pounds!
All from one simple change.
One less TB of oil = a reduction of 12.5 pounds of calories
Our health is largely determined by what we do most of the time, the habits and practices we follow daily, or at least very, very often. No one ever said, I haven’t been working out, so I’m going to climb Mount Everest to get in shape. (At least I hope not!) Because if you’re out of shape and try to climb Mount Everest… umm, it's not going to go well.
I hear people apply this kind of logic all the time though, especially when it comes to not taking (a small) action. They overcommit to a big action and fail to maintain it because they don’t think small actions matter. When, in fact, repeated small actions matter more than anything else!
There is no elevator to success,
only staircases made up of steps
to be taken one after the other.
I think deep inside most of us know this, but perhaps avoid the staircase for fear we can’t make it all the way to the top. In next week’s blog post I’ll discuss how a small change actually changes you into someone who can do something you feel you can't right now. And you don't even have to believe you can become that person!
In the meantime, what is one small change you’d like to make to get some big results? I’d love to know. (And writing down goals is scientifically proven to increase your chances of following through!) So share below…