Monday Walking Tip

Day 265

I lived in New York City HOW many years and didn’t  know this helpful tip from MyBigWalker Robin?

Follow San Remo Apartment Towers to GO WEST

Helpful secret I learned on a walking tour of Central Park: there are numbers embossed on the lampposts that indicate the nearest cross-streets–the first couple of digits tell you what the cross streets would be if they extended thru the park, and some are even marked with E or W.

I checked out a walking tour site, Forgotten NY / Street Scenes, and found this:

There’s really no excuse for getting lost in Central Park, if you know where to look.

Cast iron lampposts designed by architect Henry Bacon (who also designed the Lincoln Memorial) in 1907 are standard issue throughout Central Park, as well as in parks citywide. They occasionally even make appearances on side streets for atmosphere. For thicker, expanded versions of the Henry Bacon theme, check out the new lampposts along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway, which used the Bacon posts as a template during the Parkway’s renovation in the 1990s. The distinctive new luminaires were designed by Kent Bloomer and Associates of New Haven, Connecticut.

For some years now, the city has marked most of Central Park’s lampposts with embossed numbered metal plaques. The first two or three digits correspond to the cross street you would be on if that street extended through the park. So, the post above is located where 61st Street would be.

The park’s 1960s-style octagonal poles
and Deskeys have been given the same treatment, as well as a green coat of paint (unique in the city). In addition to the cross street, some of them also bear a W, C, or E, corresponding, respectively, to the western, central or eastern part of the park.

Who knew?!


Day 232

The Wall Street Journal reports “Phone Calls, Even Voice Recordings, Can Get People to Go to the Gym”


Based on a Stanford University study, even the simplest motivator/reminder helps people fulfill their personal workout commitments. Are you using MyBigWalk to get yourself motivated? Even more to the point, would you like a MyBigWalking Buddy? If you do, I can make it happen! Let me know by posting a reply.  And THIS IS YOUR GENTLE NUDGE, folks! Happy Monday.

Day 169

Ok I admit it I did not walk today. It’s raining and it was gorgeous over the weekend and I walked a lot on Saturday and Sunday. Not only didn’t I walk today, but I didn’t feel much like posting a motivating message, either. THERE – I’ve said it. I can’t tell you guys how often I feel like saying I DON”T WANT TO WALK!  but then I log into my homepage, see everybody’s great encouraging comments, and before you know it I’m feeling almost guilty about feeling cranky in the first place.

Which is EXACTLY how I’m feeling right now. Cranky, guilty, and already sort of uplifted just writing to you while the rain is pounding on my dark skylight.

So – since I didn’t post a Monday Morning Motivator, here’s something for the rest of the week. It’s from a Yahoo Shine blogsite, and it’s not half bad!

6 ways to stay motivated so you can achieve your goals

The bad news is that motivation doesn’t grow on trees. The good news, though, is that it is a renewable resource. There’s no limit to the motivation we can access, we just have to learn the ways to dig through exhaustion and boredom to get to it. Here are six simple ways to keep yourself motivated so you can achieve your goals:

  • Be specific.

    Pull out a piece of paper and write your goal at the very top in big, glittery letters. Instead of writing “Exercise more” as your goal, be specific as possible. Do you want to make it to the gym four times a week? Run a 10k come summer? Make your goal as quantifiable as possible so that you’ll know as soon as you’ve achieved it.

    Remember why you’re doing this in the first place.
    When the going gets tough, the tough remember why they wanted to achieve something in the first place. Underneath the goal you’ve written on that piece of paper, list all the reasons you want to accomplish this goal. List everything: you want to look good in skinny jeans, you want your BMI to reside in the healthy range, you want to decrease your chances of cancer, you want to be in a better mood more often. The idea is to make your list as encompassing as possible, so on the days when you don’t feel like making it to the gym, for example, one of these reasons will kick-start you to get there.

    Assemble a personal cheer squad.
    As kids, we were always looking up to somebody. There was a sports star who was untouchable, an older sibling who was impossibly cool, or a writer we someday wanted to grow up to be. For some reason, as we grow up we stop envisioning these people to look up to. But why? We grown-ups need someone to aspire to just as much — if not more — as those whippersnappers. Assemble a team of role models for yourself. These can be real people who inspire you, famous people at the top of their game, deceased artists, or even fictional characters (personally, I like to sometimes imagine what Anne of Green Gables would do). When you’re running low on motivation, picture your supporters gathered around you, cheering you on, and pushing you to greater heights than you could achieve on your own. 

    Make it fun.
    Another thing we adults have a tendency to leave by the wayside is fun. If accomplishing your goal is going to be yet another chore or obligation in an already stressful, responsibility-packed grown-up life, there’s not going to be much incentive to keep going. How can you make your goal more fun? In the example of exercising 4 times a week, maybe you need to think beyond the gym (those treadmills can get stale pretty fast). Can you join a soccer league, attend a step aerobics class, or hook up with a running group? Whatever your goals, it’s important to make it fun for yourself to keep motivation running high.

    Create smaller goals.
    If you’re training for that 10k, you’ll need a plan to get there a little more specific than “run more.” Whether your goal is writing a novel or keeping the house clean, small actionable items along the way help you grab the brass ring in the end. Break down your big goal into smaller goals. What’s something you can do every day or several times a week? Make these small and doable so that you’ll have a sense of accomplishment when you check them off.

    Celebrate milestones along the way.

    Don’t just reward yourself when you achieve the big goal — celebrate all the small steps you achieve on the way there. Make the celebrations things that forward your efforts rather than setting you back. After you’ve had a successful week of hitting the gym, reward yourself with fancy moisture-wicking socks or a newexercise podcast to listen to rather than a meal out. Small rewards along the way will help keep you motivated to make it to the big goal at the end.

Day 156

Do we have any OHIO WALKERS out there in MyBigWalkLand?

As I recall, chili over spaghetti topped with onions and cheddar cheese is a favorite local cuisine in Cincinnati…but that’s no reason to question some of the really good things about the city, like the winding Ohio River, the new Great American Ballpark, and a funky little downtown art district.

If we’re eating Cincinatti-style chili, we really need to keep up our walking routines! That’s why this week’s Monday Morning Motivator comes from a recent article on  the Cincinnati Enquirer’s web page.

Choosing a walking or running route


Fitness can be incredibly simple. Sometimes, the most effective workouts don’t need celebrity spokespeople or a payment plan. Walking and running are excellent ways to stay in shape year-round. These basic workouts are convenient, feasible almost anywhere, and require only a good pair of shoes- all you need is a place to go!

Depending on the time of year, as well as your fitness goals, you can map out a route to suit your needs. Some things to consider include

The Scenic Route  *  Terrain Variety  *  Ground Surface  *  Water Stops & Resting Places  *  Safety

My favorite tip from Rebecca is about terrain variety:

Keep in mind that the most effective routes for walking/running are those with varied terrain: flat levels for a brisk but steady pace; gentle hills for a challenge; and steep slopes, which are more demanding on the way up and require better balance on the way down. Walking up a hill with 15 percent slope uses about a third more energy than walking on a flat surface, while walking downhill takes about the same energy as walking on level ground– unless the hill is very steep, in which case your muscles must work harder to keep your balance.

You can read the whole article here.

Day 148

I was a little weary of walking this month. When the snow was brilliant white and the skies were blue and sunny I had little trouble finding the energy and the impetus to get outside. But there were plenty of gray days when Sarah was looking at her leash while I snuck past her and did my big walk at the gym.

Thankfully, spring break arrived, and naturally I had to accompany mydaughter on her annual trip to Florida. Which meant sun, sand, surf and a VERY welcome change of scenery.

So unfair as it is for those who are stuck watching the snow accumulate, our Monday Morning Motivation is…a change of scenery. If you can’t get to the beach, you can get to a different park, forest reservation, or mall, can’t you?

Day 127

Instead of walking for an hour yesterday, I took part in a wonderful benefit for Haiti organized by Yogadesha, the yoga studio up the street from my house.

I absolutely love combining many aspects of my life and interests into a single hour of activity, and this pulled together yoga, exercise, friends, and compassion. Best of all, proceeds from the event are going to the group Partners in Health, which is affiliated with the Harvard Medical School and brings medical care to the poorest nations and people in crisis.

PIH is organizing their 10th annual Urban Walk for Haiti on March 27th in Boston. It’s a 3 hour walk and all proceeds will go directly to work on the ground in this small, beleaguered nation. If you live in the area, I hope you’ll consider walking for Haiti.

So what’s the Monday Morning Motivator?  Let your  heart & your conscience guide you. Don’t be afraid to break out of your conventional ideas about walking, giving, and living.  If today’s “walk” is a yoga class instead, do it. The sidewalk will be there tomorrow. And I’ll be on it.

Day 121

Nothing big was ever accomplished without taking that first step.   And nothing great was ever accomplished without days of toiling in the rain.

If you want to quote me, you can. I was under the impression that the above sentiments were words of wisdom from Thoreau, FDR, Winston Churchill, or my therapist, Jed. But a quick internet search says I am wrong (except maybe about Jed).**

So I’m marking MyBigWalk milestone achievement — one third of the year spent walking with friends new and old, in places near and far, warm and cold, American, French, and Canadian —  with a nod to the importance of commitment and the reassuring calm of habit.

Taking that first step and following it with many others  is more than just a metaphor, of course, in terms of MyBigWalk. But sometimes our lives (ok, my life) feels like a lot of walking, without ever arriving.

The economy is bad. The book market is shrinking, bank bonuses are inflated. People are out of work, underemployed, or worried about getting laid off. Which is why it seems like a good time to stop and acknowledge that greatness is often achieved in the midst of ordinary life, and fortitude and persistence are surely the hallmark of all personal success. Just ask my nephews, Bryce & Max, who built their castle one tiny piece at a time. It started out as 1000 pieces (or was it a million?), packed in dozens (or was it hundreds?) of tiny pastic bags.

It’s the rare person who becomes an overnight success.  A castle was never built in a day.  J.K. Rowling labored in obscurity for years, and endured a lot of rejection before achieving astronomical success for herself and Harry Potter.

So I’m reminding myself that putting one foot in front of the other is the only way to walk, whether you’re training for a marathon or just walking up to your desk, or out the front door for another day of MyBigWalk.

** The German idealist philosopher Hegel did say, “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” And Emerson apparently said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” But I think that sort of misses the point of taking many small steps in order to arrive at a wonderful destination. Which is why my favorite inspirational quote comes from Henry D. Thoreau:

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

And that’s our Monday Morning Motivation, friends.

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