I’ve decided to take part in a couple of challenges being run by some of my favourite magazines. In this article I’ll tell you which challenges they are, why I’m doing it and how I’m keeping track of my progress. I’ll even give you the option of downloading the spreadsheet I’m using so that you can use it too if you want. Here’s something refreshing you don’t see when offered a download, I won’t even ask for your details! If you want to subscribe to my blog, you can using the email form at the bottom, but that’s entirely up to you.
Anyway, on with the blog!
What’s the Challenge?
The challenges I’m taking part in are #Walk1000Miles and #EverestAnywhere. They’re both challenges designed to encourage the participants to get outside more and enjoy walking. From what I’ve seen online so far, there seems to be a great community surrounding these challenges with a lot of positivity and encouragement.
Both challenges have their own web pages with the option to download wall charts where you can track your progress.
This challenge is run by Country Walking Magazine. The aim is fairly self explanatory. Walk 1000 miles! Here’s the catch – the target is to complete it by the end of the year. That may seem easy to some, but to others, it really is a challenge and I applaud anyone who looks to take part in anything for the benefit of their health.
Country Walking Magazine also run a challenge alongside this one. #500MileSummer. I don’t think you need me to explain what that one’s about.
This challenge is organised by Trail Magazine and challenges you to not only walk, but to climb. The difficulty of the climb is up to you, of course but the end goal is to climb the height of Everest (8848 metres) by the end of the year.
A second hashtag used in this challenge is #WheresYourEverest, which hopefully makes the title of this blog post clearer.
Why Do It?
The many benefits to walking are well documented so I’m not going to bore with a long list. All I will say is, for me, this challenge is about happiness. One of the pages on the Country Walking Magazine challenge site has a great video of people taking part in this challenge for the same reason. If you’ve read my article about mental health awareness week, you’ll know I’ve struggled with anxiety.
As with anything involves running (or walking) towards a goal, tracking your progress is important. It keeps you focussed, on track and motivated to achieve what you set out to do. So how do I do it in this challenge?
Truth be told, I’m a bit of a geek! You’ll know from my post about my morning routine that I love to use apps in my daily life, and not just the ones that give me easy access to social media. I’m particularly keen on anything that allows me to put life on autopilot so I can spend more time on things like photography and time with friends & family.
My Fitbit tracks my mileage and elevation, along with many other things. Every day, it creates a daily summary which I can add to a spreadsheet. But there’s one problem with that, manual data entry sucks! Enter IFTTT…
IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That’. Simply put, it’s a free service that triggers an action based on a condition you specify by communicating with other apps and services you connect to it. For example, I’ve connected my Fitbit and my Google account to IFTTT. I set a rule (known in IFTTT as applets) so that every time Fitbit generates my daily activity summary, it automatically adds this information as a new row in a Google spreadsheet. Pretty cool, right!
Here’s a screenshot of what my spreadsheet looks like without having to touch my keyboard:
The data used above is great for telling me how I’m doing on a daily basis. But it doesn’t show me an accumulative value for how I’m working towards my goal. To do this I set up some extra sheets inside of the same spreadsheet and added formula to the cells to calculate accumulative and total values. I even added a couple of fancy little charts to give me a visual reference for where I am in relation to my target.
I haven’t included a screenshot of the totals as it’s just a single line. Nothing to show really. It’s worth noting at this point that I didn’t start this challenge until 3rd May, which is why the blue line starts flat. I’ve adopted this spreadsheet so it can be started at the beginning of the year and removed my entries so it’s ready for you to use. If you’d like to use it, download it using the button below. As promised at the start of this blog, I’m not asking for your name, email address or blood type. This is a genuine, free download.
Please let me know what you think of this post in the comments below and let me know of any tricks you use for monitoring your progress. If you’re also taking part in these challenges, I’d love to hear from you.