10,000 Steps – Why steps are important

Oh, the places you’ll go! But you have to take the steps to get there.

I’ve always been an active person. I played outside as much as I could when I was a kid and honestly as much as I can as an adult. I like to be “on the go”. Since beginning my coaching and consulting from home, I have noticed I sit on my rear end a lot more in front of my computer. Of course, I still get out and get exercise and I am still active, but I became aware I was being more sedentary. So I am taking measures to make sure I am moving.

My FitBit Charge

In an effort to be more intentional to get up and move and see just how many steps I was taking I got a Fitbit. My new little companion worn on my wrist challenges me (I set my daily goal at 10,000 steps), keeps me aware of my activity, and has made me very aware of where my steps are taking me.

Excuse the crane, they were doing a lot of work in the centrum.

One day I went to the nearby city centrum of Ghent. A medieval city in Belgium, Ghent boasts of cobblestone streets, old buildings and churches built in the eleventh century, and a huge belfry. I’m talking the tallest in Belgium at 91 meters! Construction began in 1313 on this massive structure and was completed in 1380; it has been restored several times to keep it sound in structure. Used first for religious purposes, then as a way to announce important visitors, send out warnings and as a watchtower, today it draws visitors with its rich history and a view around the city like none other. I “had to” climb those steps! 366 of them!

The top of the Belfry tower

Thankfully, there are 5 different levels you can stop and catch your gasping breath and see the history and workings of the tower. There is also a lift, which makes it nice for those who have difficulty climbing or have bad knees. I confess I used the lift to go back and forth between the levels when it felt like my knees and lungs were older than I am. But in order to see the view of the city, you have to climb the last steps allowed and walk out on that area just beneath the clock in the photo. The steps are narrow and winding; the energy used leaves you gasping for air, but the view leaves you breathless! The climb is well worth it!

It really got me thinking about the steps I take every day. Each day I am given the opportunity to sit on my backside or step into life and find the adventure in my day. Here’s why I think (notice this is just my humble opinion) being aware of our steps is so important.

Steps are very important for growth. Those first steps a baby takes in learning to walk are difficult. They are wobbly and fall down a lot, but with taking those steps over and over, getting back up after a fall and taking them again, they become “walkers” and a whole new world is opened up to them! For adults, there are many articles written on the steps to ….. (fill in the blank with whatever you are wanting to learn), 12 step programs to help people overcome difficult things in their lives, and steps we can take to improve all areas of our lives. Don’t be afraid to wobble and fall down, keep taking steps into your potential!

Steps take us closer to things and people we want to see. Like the belfry, sometimes you have to take quite a few steps to see something wonderful; a park, a mountain, a peaceful lake, etc. But we also have to take steps to make relationships strong. Walk over to the neighbor’s house and visit, drive to family far away to spend time, stroll through the grocery store and talk to people you meet. Take steps to enrich relationships.

Steps take us closer to our goals. One of your goals may seem far-fetched; some smaller goals on the way to the bigger goal can be stepping stones to success. As the quote says, “The best way to get something done is to begin.” It begins one step at a time and all those steps add up to accomplishment!

There are things to do, places to go, people to see! What are you doing with your steps? And if you ever find yourself in Ghent, climb the steps or ride the lift in the tower, you will not regret it!

Choosing Joy in a Messy Life

What does unpredictable weather and life have in common? They are both messy!

I’ve been in Fredericksburg, TX for the weekend and the weather has been unpredictable and moody the entire time. I left Lake Jackson with rain and a very muddy yard, thinking I would go to central Texas where it’s drier and let the cool mornings and warm days brighten my spirit. Well, my spirit is brighter but it has nothing to do with the weather!

It misted rain on my entire 4-hour drive from the coast on Thursday. I never took my jacket off on Friday as the temps stayed cool and it rained off and on. Saturday began much the same way, rain and cool, but as the day wore on, the sun began peeking out from behind the clouds and gave me what I love to see in central and west Texas, an incredible sunset!

On the 10 o’clock news, the weatherman even said he thought the rain was over for a few days, so I planned to wake up Sunday morning and enjoy some sunshine. That did not happen.

When I threw open the curtains, it was grey outside once again. I heard a noise outside as I was getting ready and looked out the window again, hail! Not ideal for outdoorsy activities. Fortunately, it was over as quickly as it started.

But as I sat there and pondered the bipolar weather, it occurred to me…we don’t plan the weather, it just happens, and it’s often quite messy. Sometimes meteorologists can do a pretty good job predicting the weather, but they don’t plan the weather, they just live and report through what happens.

I have talked with many people over the years and they have mentioned how messy life has happened to them. Life happened, they lived through it (although, some would question the quality of that living).

Do you know life doesn’t have to be that way? Do you know you can decide how your day is going to turn out? No, not the weather, but your attitude about the weather…..and those around you….and things that happen.

Yes, things will happen in the day you didn’t quite plan, life can be unpredictable and messy.  But are you letting those things dictate how you respond, your attitude, how you live?

Remember I said my spirit was brighter? It’s choices I make. I refuse to choose sadness, anger and unforgiveness for the things that go wrong, I mean, come on…I would be a total wreck! Instead, I CHOOSE joy, forgiveness and positivity! Like you, I’ve had some awful things happen in the past year; but I refuse to let those things dictate the rest of my life. That pic is me choosing to enjoy the misting rain with a bunch of new friends at the #rvesummit! Thank you @joehendricks for the fun pic!

In the coming weeks, we will talk about some of those messy things and how I was able to choose joy in the face of grief, disaster and uncertainty.

Life is an adventure!