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Virgin Pulse Challenges – Getting Started

Initially getting 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day was challenging. It rarely ever happened. Little did I know how the Virgin Pulse Challenges would keep me motivated. As I had mentioned in the Day One post when I was getting started things really began to ramp up when I hiked the historic railroad trail near Hoover Dam over consecutive days.

Hiking for that trail round trip was about 18,000 steps. The best part about of it was that I didn’t have to think about it . I just walked the trail, checked out the Hoover Dam and then hiked back another hour, 2 hours round trip plus another 30 minutes walking around the dam

Labor day weekend, I hiked that trail 3 days in a row since we had Monday off as a vacation day. That Monday night I viewed the the challenges section on the Virgin Pulse app. The only challenge that I was a part of was the Past 7 Day Total Steps with Friends. I was in second place, and first place was ahead by 18,000 steps.

When I looked at the rankings a few things came to mind:

  • I had walked 20,000 steps 3 days in a row
  • I was in 2nd place which was pretty cool
  • It reminded me that I’ve never been 1st place in my life!
  • I couldn’t believe 20,000 steps 3 days in a row didn’t put me in 1st place
  • My friend in 1st place was very active runner and hiker
  • There was a sense of shock that I was even close to such a strong athlete
  • How could I get to 1st place, it was still only 9:30 pm and I had till 12 am to win
  • Being new, I wasn’t sure if there were points for being in 1st place?
  • If I were behind 18,000 steps, that’s equal to 2 hours hiking the Hoover Dam trail
  • Obviously the trail wasn’t an option, next option was going to the gym.

All of those thoughts above happened within a few seconds while I was just getting ready to sit down and watch TV.

Instantly, I jumped up and drove to the gym. I was determined to get to 1st place!

I went to the gym and walked the track, and spent time on the treadmill determined to get 1st in the challenge. Looking back I walked the track until I felt like switching things up, then jumped on the treadmill. Once that got boring, I went back to the track. This continued until I was up to my goal of 18,000 steps. I’m sure it was a little over just to make sure I had enough to pass up the number one spot.

Once I made it back home and synced my steps, I realize that #1 also synced there steps and they had advanced further ahead!

The 18,000 plus steps I had added still fell short of 1st place.

It was decision time.

I could quit or figure out a way to add more steps before midnight. Currently it was 11:15 pm. The problem was my phone was almost dead so I needed to charge it. This eliminated my 1st option of going back to the gym. I was totally committed to doing that, however my fear was I wouldn’t be able to sync my steps if my phone was dead.

I had to thing fast and jumped to plan B. I quickly plugged in my phone, set the alarm 5 minutes before midnight to remind me to sync my steps. Next I moved some furniture around my house to clear a walking path and began walking like a complete lunatic around my house!

While I was walking I kept thinking, what if 1st place has more steps to sync?, what if he’s watching me and going to go for a run to add more steps before midnight!

I became obsessed. I don’t recall how many steps I added walking around my house, however I synced my steps and sure enough it put me in 1st place. I did the math of what it would take to get to 1st place and added more steps just to be safe and it worked. Had I did just enough I would have fell short!

The funny thing that happened next was that once midnight hit all the rankings updated to the new rolling 7 Day Total! I was still in first place, however the massive 7 day total of steps I had accumulated went down.


Lesson:     Once you get clearly focused on your goal and commit to it no matter what, the actions you need to take become very clear. Your mind will find solutions to get you to your goal. It then comes down to a decision, you either do it or you don’t.

Wish you the best!



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Virgin Pulse Steps – Day One

Before I jump into day one of how I became addicted to Virgin Pulse Steps and my initial days of getting started, first I think I need to put everything into context.

In January and February of 2016, I was glued to my TV watching every episode of Dexter! I had put it off for the longest time, however had recently become un-engaged (as in not getting married) so I had a lot of time on my hands to watch an insane amount of Netflix. Everyday and every weekend I watched episode after episode of Dexter, from episode one to the end. If you haven’t you definitely must watch it, well worth it. But make sure you watch every episode of Breaking Bad too! I actually watched Breaking Bad in it’s entirety twice a couple years back.

After I burned up countless hours on the couch watching Dexter, I had to get out of the house. It had been about 2 years since I hiked the historic rail road tunnels near Hoover Dam. If you live in Las Vegas or plan on visiting and can break away from The Strip, you’ve got to check out this trail. The views are pretty awesome! You’ll have a great view of Lake Mead and some incredible mountain views on your way to Hoover Dam. The trail is 3.7 miles from the trail head to Hoover Dam. The trail ends at top of the Hoover Dam parking garage.

Day One.

Since I hadn’t been on that trail for so long, I began going every weekend. Labor Day weekend actually went out there 3 consecutive days! Now that reason that is kinda of a big deal is because I live 45 minutes away. Every time I went out there it was a 1.5 hour round trip driving, then 1 hour each way hiking and a 20-30 minute break walking around the Hoover Dam and visiting the Hoover Dam Cafe. Each visit was 4 hours out of my day. After getting home and eating I was exhausted. Going from couch potato to hiking lunatic was a stretch from one extreme to the other.

Now I really didn’t define Day 1. Day 1 just happened. I never had any intention to “Start Today” a journey of hiking 20,000 steps a day. I started to hike the trail every weekend and then realized looking back that I had completed several hikes without even thinking about it. I had created a new habit of hiking 2 times on every weekend and 3 times whenever there was a 3 day weekend. On those 3 day weekends, it was difficult not to go everyday. I would think, how many opportunities will I have to go 3 days straight? This pushed me to go no matter what.

If you can start a streak with something, not smoking, going to the gym, not drinking, not drinking Red Bull, whatever it is, you can you that to your advantage. It’s different that starting off with a have to. I have to hike 20,000 steps per day starting today. That’s tough. You miss one day and you are mentally done. On the other hand, the pressure if off if you catch yourself on a streak of doing something positive. Then, you can leverage that you already have a head start on a new goal. It’s like having success in advance. It’s like waking up and you are already making progress to something you’ve wanted to achieve.

This experience of noticing I’d created a new habit and continuing with it reminded me of not drinking Red Bull for almost 3 years. It was a busy holiday season at work and I realized I hadn’t had a Red Bull in 3 days. Not wanting to break my streak I continued not to drink  Red Bull for just under 3 years.

When you create a streak of a new habit, each new day you add to your streak has a compound effect. It should be much more difficult to quit after 100 days of a new habit vs. 3 days. The stakes are higher. If you quit at day 100, now you have to start all over to even get back to where you once were.

Lesson:     Once you catch yourself with a few consecutive days of a new habit, think about keeping it going. Also think about if you quit, you’ll lose the progress you’ve already made to reinforce the pain of regret and starting all over again.

Have an awesome day!


PS. Reflecting on this post, I’m realizing I do stuff to the extreme and then my wheels fall off. Watching Dexter day after day. Hiking that trail consecutive weekends for several months, not drinking Red Bull for almost 3 years etc.

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Welcome to VPGoals!

After logging into VirginPulse.com earlier this year, I realized I had earned $110 from 2015. I had set up the app, connected it to my Fitbit, however had forgotten all about it. Seeing that there was $110 in my account and the potential to earn another $300 in 2016 I became obsessed!

I went from struggling to hit 10,000 steps per day to consistently hitting over 20,000 steps per day. Here at VPgoals.com I’ll share my journey and how I was able to maintain over 100,000 steps over the past 7 days as well as lessons that you can apply to achieve success in other areas of your life.

Start Here – Day One

Wish you the best!


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