Awe, wonder, free gifts and something I  learned this Christmas

Anyone who knows me knows I love to walk. But even so, on a good week I barely get out more than two or three times.  So as a Christmas treat to myself, and inspired by my friend Jane Hafren and her 40×40 walking challenge, I set myself the challenge to walk every day of the Christmas holidays. What an amazing treat this has been!

Firstly, having walked for a few days, I was confident I could keep it up and declared my intention to my family.  What that did was set an expectation, so that when I said that I was going out they knew that I meant it. Whist there was the occasional debate as to where to walk when others wanted to come too, the whole process of getting out the door has largely gone pretty smoothly.

Now, having read about and practised happiness skills for some time, I am still staggered by what this activity has given me over the last two weeks. I have walked in all weathers; I have experienced rain, wind and glorious sunshine, copious amounts of mud, rainbows and glorious views. Beautiful streams, bird song, stormy sea and biting hail. The grey sky has come down and hugged me in a supportive loving way and the sunshine has lifted me.  When the rain whipped round my ill-covered legs it was exhilarating. On many occasions I have gone out simply because I had set myself the challenge, just doing it because I said I would. And every single time I have experienced amazing gifts; from an unexpected stream in full spate, breath-taking light on stunning clouds, to orange and pink skies after the rain has subsided.  I have walked with my husband, my children with friends and alone, every walk has been awe-inspiring in some way.  I have been given riches beyond anything I have ever received in wrapping paper and it has all been for free.

So now I feel like I don’t want to give up.  I have now walked every day for 16 days and having gained so much I feel like I don’t want to let it go.  I intend to use a bit of advice I gained from Shaun Anchor’s book “The Happiness Advantage”.  He has reinforced two key ideas for me.  The first is what he calls the “Zorro Circle”; the idea being that you get really good at something really small to begin with and that builds confidence.  When you become expert at just one thing, you are then able to spread your influence a little further.  When you know you can achieve something in one area, your confidence to do the same in others is much more robust.

The second key is to just make a simple rule that you don’t question, you just do.  By giving yourself a rule, you no longer have to rely on willpower…”I really should do this or shouldn’t do that”. So my confidence is growing because I have committed to something that I made happen and my new rule is “I go for a walk every day”.  So if you can’t get hold of me for some reason, I am probably out.  My recommendation would be to get out to; there are so many wonders waiting for you – expect to be astonished!

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