Life Lessons: Perfectionism

January 9, 2009

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Pedometers make winter time walking that much more enjoyable

About a week ago I finally got around to getting a pedometer, after months/years of pining for one. On Sunday I gleefully measured my strides and inputted the results into my new little gadget, and it was strapped on by Monday. The goal was that I’d walk at least 10,000 steps each day (as is recommended).

Monday was a pretty cold day around here, so I caught a ride to work. I probably should have just walked around normally to get a good idea of how many steps I walk on these cold days, but I was too aware of the pedometer at my hip and was determined to get in a decent amount of walking. So I paced. I marched. Back and forth and all around. Marched on the spot while washing dishes and doing laundry (it’s tougher than you might think). Swung my arms energetically as I marched in spot while reading your blogs (if I left any comments with lots misspelled words on one of your posts recently, its because moving around while trying to type is tricky).*

In short, I have been having a ton of fun with my pedometer. I’m exceeding that 10,000 steps mark and loving this little device. It’s easy enough to get in extra steps if you’re willing to make life just a bit less convenient for yourself!

My results so far:

Monday 10,185 steps

Tuesday 15,007 steps

Wednesday 23,127 steps

Thursday 14,022 steps

Think I’ll be wearing this little guy every day to measure my progress!

This whole situation has reminded me of how I am with food journaling. In the beginning, I find it to be enjoyable and try to eat very well so that I can be proud of what I write down. However, as time goes on, I begin to get incredibly obsessive over it all.

I’ll never know how I *actually* eat. And I don’t expect I’ll ever know how many steps I *really* get in. Once I start logging it, I put in extra effort to be as good as I can at it. It’s frustrating because I can’t prevent myself from not eating super healthy if I journal, just like I can’t stop myself from not trying to add in extra steps throughout the day. Because I know that I’m tracking it, and I want to be the best I can be at it.

Any other perfectionists out there who have this problem? Anyone share my pedometer love?

*To keep warm throughout the day and to get in a little bit extra exercise, I like to do jumping jacks. However the pedometer counts each jumping jack as about 3 or 4 steps, so I have been taking it off whenever I do jumping jacks. What do you think? Is one jumping jack really the equivalent of 3 or 4 steps? I’m skeptical.

PS I’m now on Twitter! Come find me *gesturing wildly towards my sidebar again*. I want to know if you’re on Twitter too. Then on slow days at work I can write you messages to keep myself busy (please boss disregard that last sentence). Won’t that be fun? 🙂


  1. Sagan, The pedometer and food journal seem to be great motivators in your life! I’m going to put mine on and see how many steps I can log today! Thanks for the idea. BTW–thanks for the spot on your blogroll!

    Have a good day!

  2. Hi Sagan,

    I’m following you on twitter now. About perfetionism I think it’s a trait of ours isn’t it, to try to be perfect at something and do it to death before we get bored and need to find another project. I certainly find myself getting bored of an activity, my enthusiasm wanes, then I lapse in my pursuit of perfection in it, feel rubish about it.. and round and round and round!

    CP x

  3. Hi Sagan,

    You’re getting a way lot of steps in!! (he says, thinking he must be some sort of real slacker…)

    Very cool!! The pedometer is doing it’s intended purpose. (and jumping jacks – I think they are definitely worth more than one step each)

  4. I’ve thought about getting a pedometer before, I think it was someone elses blog that mentioned it too(Kelly maybe?). Because of the nature of my work I’m constantly walking or jogging, no really I am. Over the christmas period I remember one three occasions that the only time I stopped during my 9-6 was for 5 minutes to eat a sandwich they brought me then I was back rolling out washing machines and ovens on my satbarrel.

    Good thing is though I noticed alot more improvement in getting rid of those last pockets of fat on my body. Did mean I was just too tired to do any other form of exercise when I got back though.

  5. Not a perfectionist, but I do get competitive with myself. I like it. It keeps things interesting. 🙂

    Haven’t gotten to Twitter yet, but it’s on the list.

  6. I’m 100% a perfectionist. It’s good and bad 😉

  7. im not at all a perfectionist and while this may initially seem a good thing—–in many arenas it is NOT (and I shall end there for fear of hijacking yer comments :)).
    Ive never owned a pedometer and since Im skipping the gym a lot lately (by choice. to active PLAY with the toddler) reading this makes me think it might be a fun idea for me and for her!

  8. I have a pedometer, although it was part of a company wellness thing BK’s job did, so it’s not the best (every other step i take gets counted twice most of the time, but every 100 steps, the every other step thing will temporarily stop).

    I also started walking around when people call me.

  9. I may be closer to “if it doesn’t kill me it makes me stronger!” Or perhaps it keeps me the same 🙂

    I have a pedometer..in the desk drawer.

    I weight myself every few months, if I’m in the mood.

    I keep it pretty simple. What I do..is work out daily and eat clean….

  10. Rupal- have fun with it!

    CP- that’s it exactly; throwing ourselves full tilt into something until after a while it becomes boring. Move along to the next little project full of enthusiasm. Hehe.

    Lance- doing jumping jacks makes me feel better about not enjoying running:)

    Jack- that kind of job is the best. There’s no real need for any added exercise if you’ve got a job in which you’re constantly moving!

    Cammy- a little inner competition is useful. Makes things more fun for sure.

    VeggieGirl- I hear you!

    MizFit- can I come join you and the toddler in the play? 🙂

    Tricia- that was why it took me so long to get a pedometer in the first place- I was sure that it would just go screwy.

    Dr. J- I am so very fond of that phrase! And simplicity is usually the best way to go.

  11. I’m inspired to use my pedometer again! Oh, how the little things make the biggest difference, when done consistently. Thanks for the reminder!

  12. Wow, that’s a lot of steps. Where’d you walk Wenesday, to the moon and back? 🙂

    Sounds like a great way to stay motivated. Although I have a friend who got addicted to her pedometer and would get up in the middle of the night and walk around the house if she hadn’t hit her target because it bothered her too much to sleep. So be careful!

  13. I think this is why I don’t track things … I know I would become obsessed!

  14. Wow! Your activity level is amazing!

    I have a pedometer but haven’t used it in a few years. I remember it being in the low 700’s on the days i didn’t exercise and over 15,000 on the days i did. I tried to shoot for a daily minimum of 10,000. It made me so much more aware of my activity level.

  15. 23,127 is amazing!! What on earth were you doing that day? I’m the same as you, I have a tendency to get obsessed with these things. I used to have a pedometer years ago but I got rid of it because it sent me nuts. Incidentally, I’m fairly sure a jumping jack is probably the same calorie burn as at least 4 steps….

    TA x

  16. Jolene- yep, the little things add up!

    Crabby- well considering I wake up several times throughout the night anyways… hehe. Kidding.

    HangryPants- it’s a fine line.

    Fitness Surfer- that’s pretty much my ultimate goal in life, to be just more aware of everything in general. Oh pedometer, you’re so symbolic!

    TA- Just walked to work and back and to school and back… plus some pacing around:) (I have LOTS of energy right now from being cooped up for the past couple months).

  17. Sagan, you are so lucky to have an understanding boss who actually encourages you to study, write, blog and even “twitter” during your slow work hours (but doesn’t the bathroom floor need cleaning?)…now if I can only figure out what “twitter” is, how it works, and how I can continue to monitor your “work” 😉

  18. OoO I want one. I used to have one at some point a few years ago but it wasn’t very accurate and I’m sure it’s thrown out by now. I’d be really curious to see how many steps I take when I walk for an hour.

  19. Glad you are loving your pedometer. I love tracking my steps and find having it on really does help motivate me.

  20. Yes the Pedometer is a fantastic tool! I also like the HR monitor. I am updating my blogroll and would like to include you if you don’t mind? Have a nice weekend!

  21. i love your new header 🙂

    i am like that w/ my HR monitor… if i’m close to an even number, like today i was at 365 and stayed on the treadmill to make it 400 lol…

  22. You sound just like me! That’s why I don’t food journal. Or where a pedometer. Or even a heart-rate monitor these days! All the numbers really do influence how I live rather than helping me learn to cue in to my body and listen. I’m glad your are liking your pedometer though! It sounds like you know when you get crazy about the numbers though so I have no worries about you!

  23. Anony-mum- oh yes, the boss is quite excellent (I’m not above brown-nosing).

    Maggie- technology is so good for satisfying our curiosities.

    Big Girl- it’s super motivating!

    Mark- that would be super! I’d be really interested in getting a HRM… there was one pedometer that had that feature too, but it was really big so I decided against it.

    Lindsay- good for you for pushing yourself:)

    Charlotte- I’ve gotten crazy enough times that I can see the warning signs from a mile away, lol.

  24. I’ve got my pedometer on as I type. It is motivational – especially in winter – and makes me want to move more. Sometimes I need that kick in the pants to keep me going.

  25. I love pedometers but I’m embarrassed to wear it on the outside of my clothes. Where do you keep yours?

  26. PS. Just wanted to clarify — I wasn’t saying you should be embarrassed. I’m just shy about having a gadget showing at work. 🙂

  27. Half tempted to mount one with a plaque, and give it to you for your birthday.

    Not as funny as the orange sports bra my friends mounted for their teacher who ran marathons. (I guess during her Boston qualifying run, her one motivation was to catch up to “orange sports bra girl”. What ever motivates or inspires you =)

  28. That is great with the logging of steps! I had a built in pedometer on my cellphone, but my cellphone broke and is in for repair. I liked that feature though!

  29. I got a pedometer for Christmas, Sagan, and it’s become my new obsession. It’s just too much fun to keep track and try to beat yesterday’s total.

    At least it’s a semi-healthy obsession, right?

  30. Hey, I’m so glad you found my blog, because it enabled me to find yours!

  31. Cathy- same here:D

    Juliet- that’s what long shirts and sweaters are for! Yeah, I feel a little silly sometimes when it shows, but I’ve done far more embarrassing and silly things, so it doesn’t bother me so much.

    Fitness Surfer- ahaha that is too funny! I heart you.

    Sharon- WOW you have a fancy cell phone! Jeez, mine doesn’t even have a camera… that must be lots of fun!

    Dara- as long as our obsessions are healthy ones and don’t get out of hand we might as well take advantage of them!

    Chocolatecoverdvegan- thank goodness for MizFit’s guest posts:) I’ve been taking a look around your site and you have some really interesting recipes and such.

  32. it’s about time i wandered over here …

    the only time i got obsessed about numbers was when i was on the bodybugg. then it got BAD and i was pretty much off the deep end as well as depressed.

    also, i read on ta’s blog that you’re trying curling … i am SO JEALOUS. i picked up a book in vancouver on it (… i think “open ice” … something about canada and their curling culture) and have wanted to try it ever since.

  33. I updated my blogroll with your new address – love the pedometer numbers!

  34. I would love a pedometer! I’m a perfectionist all the way. Sometimes it’s good, other times it’s not so good. Have a wonderful Saturday!

  35. Holy steps on Wednesday!

    Kelly Turner

  36. Must find my pedometer! Used to wear one when I worked as a cook, but discovered that when we were really busy, I only moved a couple of steps one way or the other….. now that I’m strictly ranching, I think I walk more. Should strap mine on and find out!

  37. T- hope you wander over again! 🙂 The curling didn’t work out, unfortunately. However I shall be skating on the river this afternoon and am so looking forward to it.

    Biz319- thanks! I appreciate it.

    Strongandhealthy- spreading the pedometer love.

    Kelly- walkwalkwalk and it feels so good!

    Bag Lady- bet you get in loads of steps with your ranching. I’m jealous of the amount of activity that’s an integral part of the ranching business. But not too much at this time of year;)

  38. Love the cauliflower comment on Tom’s post on white foods to avoid 🙂

    I’ve been eating cauliflower all week, cooked, cold, etc. I hated it as a kid, now I like it. Should I worry about that?

    I figure, as long as I still hate Brussel Sprouts I haven’t crossed the line 🙂

  39. That’s a hoot that you were exercising while reading blogs.

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