A couple of months ago, the HR department at the company I work for launched a walking program to motivate and inspire people to become more active. The program came chockfull of incentives for those who were interested in participating. You could accumulate additional vacation time, win individual and departmental awards, discount on your insurance premium and more. They promised that they would make it interesting and challenging by offering “big” incentives for people who walked a certain number of steps every month including up to nine chances to win a free vacation.
To be honest, I didn’t plan on participating. At the time of the announcement, my wife and I had just had our third child and with two other kids (age 3 and 2), I didn’t need one more thing to add to my plate. I was out. I had made my decision.
One week later, I was sitting in a meeting with our executive team. We were discussing a number of issues and then someone said, “You’re participating in the walking program, right?” Before I could utter a response, I began to feel something I haven’t felt since high school: intense peer pressure. Would I reveal that I wasn’t planning on participating or should I act as if I had all along?
“Of course I’m participating!” Days later I received my “tracker,” and I was off. However, I quickly ran into a problem.
If you wanted to be eligible for any of the incentives, you had to walk 195,000 steps a month, 4-5 miles/6500 steps a day, for tier one participation and 240,000 steps, 5-6 miles/8000 steps a day, to get a raffle ticket for the free vacation. I was only walking 2000-3000 steps a day. So rather than stepping up my game, I complained.
I sent an email to HR and asked them to reconsider the number of steps needed to hit the goal. I told them that I thought it was unrealistic for a large majority of participants. They politely replied that I was the only one complaining. Ouch.
I had a decision to make. Step it up, or shut up.
I had plenty of reasons to participate. In fact, I’ve been wanting to shed about 20lbs for…I don’t know…about five years. So what was my real excuse?
Let’s be honest. When it comes to advancing, and I don’t mean progress, I mean making remarkable advancements at work, career, future, financial, weight loss, etc, we are prone to focus on why we can’t do the work…and we’ll use just about every excuse we can.
I still had a decision.
Today, I’ve walked 603,516 steps (approximately 429 miles) since March 10, 2011. I’ve hit tier one for two months and tier two (free vacation) once and am on pace for both this month. The best part, I’ve lost over 14lbs.
Yesterday, I ran into the HR ladies while leaving work. They asked me how my steps were coming. I enthusiastically gave them a report and they snickered at me while repeating the contents of my email: “But I can’t do it.” Ouch, but in a good way…they were right to make fun.
So, back to the subject at hand: “Three reasons to never actually do anything.” Here they are:
- I’ll do it later - Actually, you won’t. Do something today. One thing. Then you can say you started.
- I don’t have time – Are you sure? You make time for what you value.
- I just don’t want to – This is likely true.
My good friend, Rob Sperti, once said, “Until your values change, you won’t change.”
What are you waiting to change about your life?