Trick Yourself into Walking

Each day, I look back and figure out what life lesson I learned that day. Then I share it with the world to feel like I did something that day. Here is today’s lesson…


Most days, I know the lesson I am going to share either as it happens or at least by the end of the day. Some days, however, I agonize over each moment of the previous few days to figure out what I learned. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know some days are a stretch but it is still a great exercise. Now, I see lessons everywhere, all the time, as if I have built up my “life lesson detection” muscles.

Except when I don’t. Sometimes I just sit at my laptop for a unnervingly long time, staring into space, not really seeing what is in front of me but rather looking at the day before. This means I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk, doing essentially nothing.

So, I came up with a plan to encourage my life-lesson-detection muscles when they are feeling reluctant, as well as encourage my actual physical muscles. If I do not know what the day’s lesson is, I go for a walk until I figure it out. Since I am lazy, I tend to find the lesson quickly but sometimes the walk can seem endless.

I like this plan because it is a win-win. If I figure out the lesson quickly, fine. That means I spent less time sitting in front of a screen, day-dreaming, which means more time for physical movement elsewhere. If it takes a while to figure out the day’s lesson, fine. That means I spent less time sitting in front of a screen, and I had more physical movement while being creative.

I like being productive, exploring, and thinking, but I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. Any way I can combine the two seems to work for me. For example, you will never see me at the gym mindlessly picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down so I can pick it up again. Hardly a weekend passes, though, when I am not on a paddle board, or bicycling, or walking, or exploring some new part of downtown or trekking some nature trail.

If you are like me, think about some ways you can trick yourself into exercise by combining ideas and setting up mini-games (like, you have to walk until you come up with a blog post idea).

Good luck. Have fun.





There Is No Goal

Today’s Lesson: You will never reach your health goals, but keep trying.


I have been enjoying my Garmin Vivosmart fitness tracker. Well, mostly enjoying. Okay, maybe “enjoying” is too strong. “Hating”, I think, is the right word. I hate it. It is like having JK Simmons from Whiplash as a fitness coach.

Every time I meet a goal, it sets it higher. There is no end. I walk SO much, now. I walk to the fridge, to my desk, to my car, to the bathroom, to the fridge… sometimes I will just walk randomly, like around the block, without any expectation of food at the end of the walk! I know. Crazy, right? That’s what the stupid Vivosmart does to you. It lets you know you can never walk enough.

I am beginning to get the point, though. Even if I set a weight goal and reached it (which I have not done), I would not be satisfied. I will always want to maintain or walk off that nagging last inch of waistband, or… lift some weights or some other insanity.

I am doomed to walk for the rest of my life.

We all are, because health, unfortunately, does not stop at the fridge. Health is an ongoing cycle, a motor that requires regular maintenance (walking and eating well) to keep running (figuratively and literally). Health is a never-ending quest for self-improvement and self-care. It is clearly one of the primary goals of living well and feeling good.

Stupid health.

I’m going for a walk.


Flee Market

Today’s Lesson: One man’s trash is another man’s… trash. Junk is junk.


We visited the Oldsmar Flea Market… 20 acres of arts, crafts, antiques, guns, books, pet supplies, plants, toys, and much, much, much more. 20 acres of mostly used, dirty cups, clothes, broken action figures, useless video tapes (Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason in the 80’s comedy, “Nothing In Common”, on VHS–what a find! Or what a find?), rusty car parts, and cameras you will never find film for.

Some people love flea markets… the joy of finding the diamond in the rough or the sentimental value of childhood toys. I get it. I guess I am just not one of those people. I was happy to get my 10,000 steps goal walking up and down the aisles of garbage even Walmart won’t sell, but I guess flea markets are not for me.

Also, they did not have a single flea for sale.

The place was packed, though, and there were many happy faces lost in their hunt for hidden treasures. For me, the treasure was not hidden in the endless aisles of junk. It was in the nice walk with interesting things to look at.


Today’s Lesson: A Long Walk

As the weather winds down for winter in Michigan, there are fewer days to enjoy a nice, warm walk on a sunny day. But what is a walk all about?


Personally, I do not like exercise for the sake of exercising, so it is very unlikely you will ever catch me in a gym, but walking is an easy way to fool myself into a healthy habit.

Today, I realized how much I enjoy a long walk. I mean really long, like I will walk until I am not sure if I will have enough energy to make it back to the car. I like to explore and walking helps me slow down enough to view the world in slow motion (compared to all the driving, flying, and even bicycling I do).

I paused for a few minutes under a big oak tree by the Grand River. I sat down on the stone steps by the water and closed my eyes for a minute. I could smell the autumn leaves, earthy and sweet, covering the sidewalk and rocks that dipped into the river. The tree was letting leaves go, too, and it seemed like a slow motion rainfall of yellow, red, and brown sails lazily making their way to the water, to sail off.

When you walk, don’t forget to pay attention to the world. Listen to as many sounds as you can process. Try to hear everything at once, and then try to focus on as many individual sounds as you can. Look under railings or up into trees and see what life is flourishing there that you would normally have just passed in your rush to work or your next social engagement. Inhale and try to identify each scent of the flora and fauna around you. Just take a minute now and then to get out of your head and be as much a part of the world as the tree you are walking by or the wind whispering to you through it.

Today’s lesson: walking is good for the body, calms the mind, and enriches the spirit when you do it consciously. Enjoy your day.




Today’s Lesson: Veganomics [140923]

I looked at the scale and could barely believe my eyes. I lost 53 lbs the year I made the switch from vegetarian to vegan. At first, I thought it was great but then I started to worry. I didn’t know if, or when, the weight loss would stop and, frankly, it was getting expensive to keep buying new clothes.


The weight loss did stop, though, after about a year. I think it was only because it took me that long to find vegan junk food. There are a lot of myths around veganism and probably as many reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle (meaning you do not consume or wear anything that is, or comes from, another animal) but weight loss was never part of my reason for “embracing the ‘V”.


Over dinner, I explained to a friend that many people choose to go vegan for better health but are surprised to find we vegans can be just as fat on a vegan diet as meat and dairy centric people can be on their diet. The vegan diet is still healthier in many ways but if you are looking to lose weight, forget all the diet advice and media hype out there.


There is only one sure way I know of to drop pounds and it is virtually foolproof. Here it is: eat less, move more.


The more you move, the more fuel you burn. To become lean, you simply must burn more fuel than you take in.


Being vegan is great and I have enjoyed many benefits like needing less sleep, having greater concentration and more energy, almost never being sick, and generally feeling about 10 years younger than my age. Those are all fine reasons to choose veganism, too, but if you are doing it in the hopes of becoming thinner, I would just advise you to go for a walk instead!


Great food, though. So much great vegan food. Just thinking about it makes me think I need to go for a walk, too…




Today’s Lesson: Shake It Up [140812]

Sometimes you have to shake things up.

I had one of those rare days when I could meet Nicole for lunch. We had about 15 minutes left before she had to head back to work, so we decided to go for a walk around the apartment building. It was a simple, silly thing to do, but we got to check out the other apartment exteriors and find out where the sidewalk ended.

Before we headed our separate ways, I couldn’t help but smile and say, “That was fun.”

She smiled, too. “Yes, it was!”

It was a welcome break in the middle of the day, something simple but out-of-the-norm and made us both happy. We could have just sat at the table or napped instead. I’m glad we didn’t.


What is an almost stupidly simple thing you can do to shake up your routine tomorrow?