So, I've made it past day 75 of my walking challenge and one could almost say the end is in sight. But I'm not sure that's the best way to look at it! The thing is, if you only ever do a challenge in order to complete it, then isn't that only half a job, especially when it comes to health.
Here's my point: unless it produces a change in habit or establishes a new habit, it's only achieved part of the bigger goal. Take yesterday for example. I didn't feel much like going for a walk after I'd finessed coaching in the morning. It started to rain and the only thing that got me out of the house was knowing that it would mean mission my target. So the 100-day challenge did it's job of motivating me to hit the footpaths and pavements. But once I've reached the 100th day, what happens after that? Will I still put on the trainers and waterproofs, gloves and base layers? The answer to that question lies in whether I've formed a new habit or not.
I remember reading somewhere that it takes something like 3 months to form a new habit, but my experience is that a new habit lasts only until you break it. It's at that point that you discover how committed you are to your newly broken habit. Do you get up the next day and start again, or do you give up?
Not all habits are the same of course. Bad habits seem far easier to maintain than good ones! Establishing a good habit takes self-discipline. It's about making disciplined choices, and when you miss a day or make a poor choice, it's about getting back into the routine and not beating yourself up over it.
Even now, 77 days into my 100-day challenge I still have to drag myself out of the house some days. Once I get going it's not too bad, but there are days when even as I stride my way around my chosen route for the day that each step is a drudge. Some days I look at my pedometer and think , "Wow, I've already done 5000 steps," other days I look and think, "What? I'm only half way there!"
So even though I'm into the last 25 days (23 actually) I know how hard it is to stay motivated and to see it through and to move beyond the challenge into a new settled habit of daily exercise. After all, that's what the walking is about.