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!

Robert

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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