Update: Outside Walks (Almost Every Day)

Yesterday marked the 170th day of 2022. And, on 168 of those, I have walked at least 1 km outside.

People could do it, conceivably for years, without any concentrated effort: think farmers or dog owners. So while I don’t consider my “streak” any grand achievement, it has been a subtle constant in my life since January 1st, with net positive impacts on my physical and mental wellbeing.

This daily outside walk wasn’t on my list of goals for 2022. I started on a whim January 1st and decided to see where the road took me. And I’m still walking!

You may notice the math doesn’t align: two days I “failed” to complete a walk outside, corresponding to our travel days to/from the US. The day we arrived I could have left the comfort of my sister’s house to do a late-evening walk. But that’s exactly the rigid structure I’m trying to get away from. Releasing myself from the pressure of closing Apple rings has been disproportionately liberating. So I chatted with my family and ate pizza and decided the 1 km+ sprint through the airport (which I recorded as a workout) would more than suffice.

For our return trip I could have gotten up at 4:30 am and walked circles in the driveway. But I didn’t because, well, I like to sleep. After that point I literally wasn’t outside again until the following day as we spent almost 24 hours in an airport or on planes. But I didn’t sweat it. I recorded a few kilometers of walking in the airport. And the next day, when we were home, I walked 1 km outside.

Your turn. Is anyone else working on a loosely-held streak for a particular activity or habit?

27 thoughts on “Update: Outside Walks (Almost Every Day)”

  1. That’s great, Elisabeth! I also walk daily, no matter the weather, because I think it’s so important to be outside in the fresh air! For the first 504 days of the pandemic, I kept up a step streak. I broke the streak when I had accidentally given myself iron poisoning (long silly story) and had a day of pretty bad, um, intestinal upset. Then I broke the next streak when I had Covid! So other than that, walking daily. I like seeing how my neighbourhood changes with the seasons, and occasionally I’ll get in the car and drive to a different walking path or go hiking in the mountains. Now that it’s summer and my schedule is freed up I’ll be doing that a lot more.

    1. 504 days! What a streak. I think that iron poisoning (which sounds horrible) and COVID are logical pausing points on a streak.
      I really enjoyed all the different weather, too – even the ice and sleet. Walks on those days felt especially rewarding!

  2. I just now understood that the things was “outside” not the 1 km. What a great loosely goal. I may have decided yesterday that I will try to swim daily. Now living by the water and figuring out where to get in there really is no excuse except I am not a particular good swimmer. So I could work on this and then also start during the warm summer months and see how long I keep
    It up. Other than that I am not much for consistent exercise – unfortunately

    1. Swimming daily sounds wonderful! It is hard to keep up with something every day, that’s why I’m holding it very “loosely”…but it has been a really great habit for this year and I don’t have any plans to stop.

  3. Nice streak! And I’m glad you made an exception for those travel days. Otherwise you would have been like me, when I did a yoga class after Thanksgiving dinner because I “had” to keep my November yoga streak alive. I’m not quite sure what the point of that was, other than I can say that I did it (but who really cares, anyway?) Streaks are great though- it probably got you out walking on a few days where you otherwise wouldn’t have done it. And if I lived where you live I would consider an outdoor streak too- your photos are always beautiful!

    1. Ugh! Working out after Thanksgiving Dinner. That is some real dedication.
      Last summer I completely burned out physically and I think a lot of it had to do with my various “streaks” and closing Apple rings. I just knew I had to distance myself from that rigid structure (at least for now) and while it did feel disappointing to not do the walk outside, I tried to remember I’m aiming to do this for my mental AND physical wellbeing and that a equidistant walk in a airport was in the same spirit as an outdoor walk.
      But you’re 100% right – having this “pseudo streak” has DEFINITELY gotten me outside. While I normally walked 4-5 days a week, I was a bit a wuss with certain weather conditions and I’ve loved the excuse/motivation to just get outside already. And 1 km also feels so, so doable.

      And yes – Nova Scotia is absolutely beautiful.

  4. I have done at least one Spanish lesson on Duolingo for more than 800 days. When I break this streak, I will be very sad. One lesson generally takes 4-6 minutes and it would be a very rare day indeed when I didn’t have time for that. It makes me happy that I’m gradually starting to understand more and more Spanish when I’m out and about in the world.

    1. I can’t even imagine. This is an incredible streak and how wonderful you’ve gained so much practical (and fun) knowledge about another language. I love this!!
      I did Duolingo (French) for about a month and then abandoned it. I’ve thought so many times of trying again, but I don’t feel like I’m ready to commit to doing it regularly and I know that’s what I need to do to see any real progress. But your 800-day streak is very motivating!!

  5. I love to walk outside (although I admit to being a heavily fair weather walker) but my darn foot really puts a damper on my inclination to get out there. So awesome that you are walking (mostly) every day and I love your relaxed attitude about continuing.

    1. Injuries are the worst and, often, rest is the best way to heal and that can be so, so frustrating. Or, we try to power through injuries and make them worth. Hoping things improve soon. Nothing wrong with being a fair-weather walker. It is decidely more pleasant. I think the 1 km distance made it all feel more managable. On really terrible days (only a handful where I slogged through deep snow or had to be very careful due to ice), I would just stick to a short loop in my neighbourhood so I walked EXACTLY 1 km.

  6. Does my streak of not cursing out (out loud, anyway)certain people in a certain building count? Because, if so, I think I’m on a 21 year streak. 😉

    Well done, you! Not only for keeping the streak alive but realizing that life does get in the way sometimes and that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

  7. This is AWESOME! I’m so proud of you!

    I have been terrible at really implementing any “streaks” lately. I have many, many things that I track/ try to do frequently (ideally, daily…), but besides I guess flossing my teeth, I can’t say I have hit the mark even close to 100% on any of them. Some things I always say I want to do daily include: reading for at least 15 minutes, walking outside every day, exercising in some form, drinking 4 bottles of water. I would love to do ALL of these things, every single day, but it never seems to work out. I get some combination of them, usually, but not all. I suppose if I just focused more on one thing, as you are, that would probably be smarter and easier to actually achieve. Ha. I just listened to one of LVK’s Before Breakfast episodes the other day where she talked about scaling things way back to make accomplishing goals easier. So for example, I wonder if instead of saying I want to drink 4 bottles of water a day (my “ideal” goal), I should just make a goal to drink, say, at least 1 everyday. Or 2. Maybe that is better than drinking 4 some days, and 0 on others!!! (I drink a lot of tea, but not so great about plain water.)

    I have been very consistent with my daily gratitude practice though for years now, so I guess that’s kind of a streak! I also VERY rarely miss a night of my skincare regimen and have been consistent for the last couple years on that. (Not sure my face shows any difference though….UGH. haha….) Also, the flossing, and I rarely miss updating my daily habit tracker/ little journal page. So I guess I do have some things I’m being a bit “streaky” on. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kae!
      A daily gratitude practice sounds like one of the best daily habits one could aim for. Good job on the skincare; I only use water/microfibre cloth + coconut oil and I’d say I do a decent job…75% of the time?
      I’ve had to take a step back from tracking lately; it just felt like too much pressure (because if I set something as a daily to-do it can just morph into this “beast”)…but I do love tracking things, and know this can (and should) ebb and flow.
      A daily walk has just felt so manageable and I’ve loved the process. I won’t lie – the thought of doing it 365 days is appealing, but I’m trying to hold on to any of those aspirations very loosely!

  8. Way to go! I imagine you walked in some pretty unpleasant conditions so this is quite the accomplishment. The only thing I know I’ve done every day for a very long day – probably 5+ years – is read. I don’t track it because it would be like tracking that I breathed today. That’s how essential the habit is. I have also been reading The Count of Monte Cristo through a daily reading ap but am coming to the end of it which I will be happy about!

    I just started using Duo Lingo because I would like to be able to converse a bit with the kids’ teachers at school. Some speak English, but Will’s teachers don’t, or they speak very little. Phil speaks Spanish so it’s not a big deal, and if they uses very basic Spanish, I can get the gist of what they are saying. But I would like to understand more, even though our kids won’t continue onto spanish immersion schools.

    1. That’s incredible you’ve read every day for over 5 years. As much as I love reading, I definitely don’t do it every single day. Also I love that you say tracking this would be like tracking your breath. <3 A true reader!
      All the Duo Lingo users are inspiring. I don't think it will be enough for me to incorporate something else into my regular routine at this point, but it does make me want to think about making space for this in the future.

  9. I’ve been trying to do the 1000 hours outside challenge. The goal is to spend at 1000 outside in one year, which breaks down into 2.75 hours a day. I’ve made myself a little grid and I colour in a square for every hour. I guess it’s not specifically a streak, but I do try to go outside every day so I can colour in those squares. I got horribly off track during a busy work week or two where I did go outside, but forgot to log it so I’m about three months behind (I started in late September). I’ll be interested to see if I can make up the time with it being summer and all since we have a couple camping trips planned. I guess at this point, though, I’m more interested in seeing *when* I read 1000 rather than pushing to have it done by September. I think something nice about having a streak/habit/routine/etc. is that it is an easy decision of whether or not you will do something that day…

    1. Wow! I’ve never heard of this challenge?! 2.75 hours a day is a lot; I never really think about how many hours I spend outside. I would suspect in the grand scheme of a year I likely do average this amount (with the majority coming from April to October).
      Love the square grid. Lately I’ve really stepped back on tracking things officially, but in the past have done lots of habit recording and found colouring in squares tremendously motivating.
      Couldn’t agree more that having a habit (but especially a streak, specifically) makes it so easy to decide to do something in a day. So much of the challenge with most things we want to turn into a regular habit (say regular exercise) is the mental energy it takes to decide if/when we’re going to do something. I really appreciate Laura Vanderkams suggestion that 3x/week makes something a habit BUT I find that then I have to think about when those three times are going to be. Doing something every day can be easier than doing it 5 days a week…(Or, say, I run three times a week, but ALWAYS on Mondays, Wednesday’s and Fridays.

  10. I love this, Elisabeth. The best streaks are streaks that have become habits and we don’t even think about them anymore. You know already that I’ve been on a Peloton streak for 1,5 years now… which just means that I do at least one Peloton class every day (or more)… and it can be as simple as 10 minute standing yoga or meditation. I am trying not to obsess about not breaking the streak, but I do have to say that keeping the streak going keeps me motivated.

    I think anything that becomes habit and brings us joy is a wonderful addition to our day!

    1. 1.5 years is incredible and it sounds like it doesn’t feel at all like a burden – just a positive encouragement to incorporate a great habit into daily life. Go San!!

  11. Your goal of walking 1 km outside every day is so inspiring – that’s why I made the goal to do 30 minutes of activity every day. I’m not always successful (in fact, I’m probably not successful more than I am…) but it’s a good goal for me to strive for. It’s just so inspiring to see you get this goal done, even during the doldrums of winter when it was so cold and you had to wear lots of layers. Nice job!

    1. I’ve really enjoyed the experience; a few days it felt like an unpleasant nuisance to fit in a walk, but mostly it has been easy and fun to walk in different locations/weather circumstances.

  12. Oh, I love this! Having a habit but NOT putting pressure on yourself to track it, and recognizing that sometimes, life gets in the way (see: travel in 2022…). I have a similar “streak” of literally *just getting outside* every day. Some days? This looks like going out of the apartment entrance at the end of the hall, walking around 3/4 of the building, and entering at the other end. Other days? It’s more like a couple-hour hike (or was, pre-arm-issues). I started this in… shocker, late March 2020, and have continued to this day. I haven’t kept track but there have been no days in which I stayed in the whole day (even the first day post-op, I went outside for a few minutes, just to feel the sun on my face…).

    I like your 1 km minimum – and also appreciate the fact that you’re FLEXIBLE with it! Indoors, outdoors, you’re moving your feet and (presumably) walking forward. What a wonderful attitude to take towards movement, and really, life in general. <3

    1. Wow! Somehow I missed this comment. Love the getting outside streak.
      I might do that in 2023, because I definitely don’t want to do a measured 1 km walk forever. Getting outside (maybe for at least 5 minutes) sounds like a great happy medium!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *