How to Keep Life from Getting in the Way of Your Walk

Medically reviewed in January 2022

Problem? What problem? Here's what to do to get back in the groove when you're up against any situation.

What to Do: When You're About to Break Your Commitment
The first thing you should do when you open your eyes in the morning is ask yourself, "When will I walk today?" At first, try walking for 15 minutes. Couldn't be simpler. I know you can do it. More important, you know you can do it. I don't care if you turn on your favorite TV show and walk circles in front of it, or if you take a trip around the block. It all works! Start off slowly for the first few minutes to let your muscles warm up. Increase your pace a bit during the middle of the walk. Then slow down for the last minute or two to cool off. Pow. Just like that, you've improved your health and your life.

Even better: Every night, write down what time you'll walk the next day. This moves your intentions out of la-la land and into the real world. Personally, I like to sit down on Sunday night and plan my walks for the entire week. That way, I already have the time blocked out in case unexpected meetings and invitations come up.

What to Do: When You Miss a Walk
One of the most important parts of your walking program happens when you miss a walk. Don't promise yourself it won't happen. Eventually, a day will come when suddenly it's 10 p.m. and you haven't walked! When that happens, I want you to get out your time machine, teleport yourself back to the beginning of the day, and walk.

What? You don't have a time machine? Then don't worry about missing one walk. Move on. Don't stress over things in the past, and don't try to double your walks tomorrow. Just get back on track and keep going.

What to Do: When You Didn't Do What You Thought You Would
Try forgiving yourself. We all hold an inner list of grudges against ourselves for things we wish we hadn't done—or things we have done. Holding this regret inside builds tension and unhappiness and doesn't change a single thing in the past. Try letting it all go, truly giving yourself a clean slate to start the rest of your life, and feel the peace that starts to grow inside you at that very moment. It will change your future behavior much more effectively than any amount of self-recrimination will.

What to Do: If You Have Too Much Housework
Lower your standards! Never let housework be your reason for not walking. If it is, your priorities are backward. I have walked past more dirty socks, sinks of dishes, and dusty cupboards than I can count. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be here today. I'd still be at home scrubbing.

What to Do: When Your Family Life Gets Crazy
Don't be one of those people who says, 'I've got no time to exercise' and then spends 5 hours a week sitting in the bleachers watching the kids/grandkids play soccer. That's 5 potential hours of walking. Save your aching buns from bleacher-burn, and spend that time walking up and down the sidelines, following the action (just don't yell at the ref!).

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