For a while, I’ve been thinking that I need an “accountabilibuddy” – someone to answer to, someone to keep me motivated, and someone to keep me honest. That’s a big part of why I started participating in a health coaching program.
But then something sort of unexpected happened.
A friend of mine at work IM’d me one day and said that “Alex” in her department got a Fitbit for Christmas and was looking for people to compete against in weekly step challenges. My friend asked me if I’d be willing to be Fitbit buddies with Alex and compete against him. I walk a lot and I’m active, so I said OK.
Here’s the thing about Alex – he’s one of those who works out in the morning, works out at lunch and is pretty much a blur of movement and activity. So while I average somewhere between 8,000 – 11,000 steps a day without too much effort, he was racking up 14,000 or more. Easy.
The first week, I lost by about 20,000 steps. (And let’s be honest – there are a lot of people who don’t get that many steps in a week, period. Quite a blow to my ego, though.)
Well, by Tuesday of that first week, I knew I was a lost cause. My only goal was to not lose by more than 20,000 steps. But then the next week, I sent another work week challenge request. Alex IM’d me and asked if I’m just a glutton for punishment. Truth was, I was motivated to not suck.
I held my own for the first few days, but then I had a rough day and I fell behind. Then on Friday, during some IM banter and shit-talking, Alex made the mistake of saying, “I’m not worried.”
Oh, I’ll give you something to worry about!
That day, I racked up 25,000+ steps, beating him by 3,000 steps.
It took a lot. I had spent all of Friday evening running around my house, playing with my nieces – my butt barely grazed a chair. And Friday evenings are big social nights. We have company over, we cook, we hang out. But this time, I was running around in circles, having a burpee competition with my 8-year-old niece, playing tag – anything I could do to win this silly step challenge.
That was a couple weeks ago. Ultimately, though, since I started this friendly competition with Alex (who hates losing), I’ve been averaging about 13,000-17,000 steps a day. That adds up to somewhere between 5,000-25,000 more steps each week. That’s huge.
While not everyone responds to competition, it works amazingly well for me. And it’s just for this one, focused thing. It’s not calories, it’s not the number of minutes to complete an activity, it’s not change in weight. Simple and stress-free (mostly!).