I wrote this article back in the late fall when I was struggling with weight loss motivation. Since January I have embarked on a serious weight loss journey and I have lost 37 1/2 pounds. "Walking with a purpose" was the first step in making exercise a regular routine in my life.
Let me start off by telling you: my purpose was walking for weight loss. For all of you goal oriented people out there, you might be thinking, "Ok, she has a goal, what's the problem...just do it! I enjoy walking very much but I do have to admit that sometimes "life" gets in the way and I don't "just do it". I manage to come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I can't fit a walk into my schedule on any given day. I must admit I don't like this trait but I wasn't able to find a way to break the cycle, even though I knew that walking for weight loss was the key.
I thought that maybe if I didn't concentrate so hard on losing weight but instead focused on the other benefits of walking I might be encouraged to take my walks on a more regular basis, thus increasing my weight loss motivation. On a long walk one day I started to think of my walks, my weight, and what the benefits of exercise are. I decided I would establish a purpose for walking other than losing weight. I decided there were probably thousands of reasons why a person could walk to include: physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, educational, philanthropic, and economic. (Just to name a few!) I started to focus on this concept and it has really worked for me.
We are all different so my purposes might be very different than what would work for you. But once you understand the concept of doing something for a purpose I am hoping it will help to motivate you too.
This is how it works:
Each time you want to take a walk, think about the purpose. The purpose can be extremely simple or complex; it can focus on only you or it can involve others. The important thing is that it encourages you to continue. Sometimes my purpose is downright silly but it motivates me; and deep inside I know if I keep walking, I will ultimately achieve my original goal.
*Collect trash...make your community a nicer place to live.
*Collect cans to recycle...do something good for the environment and put money in your pocket too!
*Listen to music from when you were in college...focus on memories
*Watch and admire nature...how much wildlife can you see in a given time?
*Connect with people...say hello to at least 10 people on your walk...more is even better!
*Think...pick a subject and focus on it for the entire walk.
*Walk to places you might usually drive to...saves gas money!
*Admire the yards in the neighborhood...make a mental note of things you want to remember to do in your own yard.
*Look at holiday displays
*Collect objects from nature to use in arrangements/decorations for your home (one of my favorite purposes for walking)
*Participate in a walking event...earn money for charity
*Devise a "mental game plan"....for the day, week, or upcoming month.
*Take the dog with you...he needs exercise
*Take the kids or spouse with you....yup, they need exercise too but more importantly...it is a wonderful way to spend time with your family.
*Discover a new walking trail or path...adventure!
*Listen to a self-help tape...learn something new about yourself.
*Walk at a faster pace...complete the "old boring walk" in record time.
*Take scenic pictures...be artistic
*Walk in the snow...look at the beauty around you.
*Walk in the rain...feel like a kid again by splashing in a few puddles.
*Go to the store...buy what you need and carry it home.
I think you get the idea. Walking with a purpose is highly motivating because it really makes you think and come up with creative ideas prior to hitting the trail. When I walk with a purpose it seems to take the stress off of me when I start to think I can't possibly ever reach my weight loss goal. "Walking with a purpose" encourages me to walk more often and I will let you know when I do reach my goal!
If you too are having a hard time losing weight and staying motivated, give "walking with a purpose" a try! Your weight loss motivation will skyrocket!