Friday, November 12, 2010

Guiltless Goals

No Guilt Allowed!

I don't set artificial or overblown goals to achieve certain things I want to do or accomplish in my life.  (Been there, done that). I find that in the long run, they are contrived, short term in effect and generate needless stress. 

The things I value and want to accomplish aren't so much arbitrary and artificial benchmarks. For me I find no need to self-prove my self worth day-after-day and keep an ongoing tally of needless results. Rather, I find that my self-efficacy and fulfillment comes from me simply extending and adding to the positive things I am already doing each and every day.

Take exercise and walking for example. I recently completed one full year of doing a purposeful walk, everyday, for 365 consecutive days. It's not a heroic feat by any means, but it contributed greatly to the quality of my life. I didn't start out by setting some huge goal that would consume my thoughts and create guilt every time I looked out the window at crappy weather and think to myself, "I still HAVE to walk today, and the weather stinks and [enter more excuses here]." Goal Guilt! That would be a horrible way of motivating me to do something I enjoy so much.

My approach was much more organic. On Day One of my little journey, I simply did what I had been doing most everyday for a good portion of my life. The next day, the same. And then the day after, and so on, and so on, until on one particular day while Gene and I were hiking in the desert, I said to him, "today is my 27th day in a row walking or hiking." He congratulated me and thought to pull out a new little Flip video camera he had bought a few days before. He had me walk up the top part of a hill we were on and past the camera and shout "Day 27, woo hoo!" We laughed over it because I hate being in front of a video camera, but it was short and actually kind of a fun way to remember that day. Other than that, it was no big deal.

The next day, I walked like usual and then the next day, and so on, and so on. Sometimes by myself, with Gene, my walking buddies Connie Jo, Romy or Donna. Sometimes for work like in the Andean Mountains and Amazon Rainforest in Peru or along the beach in Baja California Sur or Central Park in New York City. Sometimes around the block of my neighborhood and sometimes on miles long treks through the desert by my house or along the rim of the North Rim at Grand Canyon. Each day, a new adventure, a new piece of my life unfolding and another step building toward my ultimate goal - enjoying my life as it comes to me, without driving myself crazy with "Goal Guilt."

So as Day 365 got closer, through the magic of Facebook, and Gene with that pesky Flip video camera, I decided to share a part of this journey with my friends and invite them (you) to join in on a celebration of this day with a "Just Walk For You" event where you only had to spend a minimum of walking for 10 minutes where ever you live, work or play, anywhere in the world.  I was overwhelmed as well as inspired by all of those of you who chose to participate. Nearly every corner of the world was represented. People of all types, shapes, colors, ages, abilities with interests that range from simple neighborhood strolls to adventuresome mountaineering joined in and then posted some amazing comments on the Walking Connection Facebook page. All starting from a simple goal of enjoying one of the purest things life has to offer, a walk…a Walk Just For You …a walk with no guilt!

So as I continue to pursue my goal, and I am up to day 376, know that I will continue to share my journey with you. And I hope you will join my blog, and share yours with me and other friends. And know that should life throw me one of those curve balls and knock me off my consecutive streak, I will simply get up, dust myself off, and just as happily proclaim once again, Day One -- Woo Hoo!


  1. Awesome! Great advice. "Guiltless goals" is a fantastic concept. "Do what you say, instead of saying what you'll do." I especially think the timing is perfect. The upcoming holiday is full of "gilty pleasures." A time when over indulgence, especially in food consumption is at a high for the year and thoughts turn to starting an exercise plan and diet on New Year's. "Keep on walking sister!"

  2. Walking purposefully every day for 365 days in a row is impressive to me because I know how easy it is to skip a day here and there, even for an avid walker.

    I missed your videos but I will look for them on your website and/or fb because I'm sure they're fascinating. I like to walk a lot as well. I have a blog site where I share my walks with others ( and I have a Flip video camera--but haven't found the nerve to use it yet.

    ~Connie DeLaVergne