Every January, I try to be realistic about the kind of goals I can set for the year. I work in consulting, where we’re encouraged to set goals which are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. That means that I know when I’m setting up a soft-ball goal (i.e. my two mile swim in June – which is the first four, but wusses out on the timing); and I know that planning to do a bike race in May is neither attainable or realistic given how much I fear riding in the London rain and traffic.
But encouraged by the Mac Daddy of routine-generating challenges which is based on the best science, behaviour modification, and coaching that money can buy – Coach Jenny Hadfield and John “The Penguin” Bingham’s 100 Days Challenge – I also know that I have a terrible secret about sticking with one thing, anything really, for 100 days: I absolutely suck at it.
Each year I decide that I’m going to start that challenge. And then something happens and I never do start. Now, Jenny and John could care less when you start, and when you stop, which is why we are all going to sign up. But I also know that doing anything EVERY day for me is, well, unlikely. It’s not realistic – for me.
I need something with a shorter time-frame, and a more specific goal – set within the larger context of a long-term goal. Otherwise, that 100 days feels really hard. Really overwhelming. And though I know, in my heart, that 30 minutes of walking for 100 days is NOT hard, and NOT overwhelming, I still need some interim motivation.
So I’m signing up for the 100 days challenge. And for the next six weeks, I’m going to play a little mind game with myself. I’m going to tackle those (roughly) 45 days by walking/running from the amazing city of Florence, Italy, to the incredible crazy town of Pisa.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering if this awesome job I have is plunking me down in Italy for 6 weeks. Which I’d love to say is the case, but let’s be realz, people. Instead, I’m going to commit to doing 54 miles (the distance between these two towns) and I’m going to learn all about Pisa and Florence along the way. Over six weeks, those 54 miles break down to about 9 miles a week, or what will be roughly 3 one hour walks (at the long end).
And I’d like your help.
Because this is my goal – but it would be much, much more fun if I had a little company.
So if you’re interested in joining me for the journey, I’d encourage you to first, sign up for the 100 days challenge – there’s a boatload of encouragement and support available on the Facebook community that will help keep you moving.
Then if you need something extra, or if, like me, you need a shorter-term goal, wander on out to Nikeplus.com – and find me, plusrunner – to join the group “Walking From Florence to Pisa” and post your miles. As an incentive, the first person to reach 54 miles gets the PRIZE of picking our next destination to explore. Will we go from Athens to Santorini? From Cape Town to Victoria Falls? Let’s use this as a way to while away the miles and explore the world without every leaving our own back yards.
I would love some company on the journey – so please think about joining up, posting your miles (the Nike+ app is free to download or you can post your miles manually).
And to sweeten the deal, each week I’ll post the links to at least four, free podcasts you can download relevant to our destination – feel free to add your recommendations in the Comments section, or on Facebook. Do you have an Italian opera you think we should listen to? Post it! Got an Italian language practice session we should hear? Post it! Let’s make it fun to do this while we’re out sticking to our New Year’s Ambitions.
I, for one, look forward to learning a bit more about the world while getting in my miles. I hope you do, too.
Week 1 Recommended Podcasts (Florence to Pisa)
Michaelangelo in Florence (19 minutes)
The Uffizi Gallery (Rick Steves) (49 minutes)
Italians In America (Camden College) (59 minutes)